A record thirty-eight million Americans resigned in 2021. The BEST BOSS EVER Newsletter exposes ideas, mindsets, and behaviors extraordinary leaders use to win hearts and minds. Lead yourself, others, and teams more effectively.
Last month’s three key points:
1. Today, more than ever, people want to be understood for who they are. They have unique physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. One senior leader told me he doesn’t trust his boss and as we talked about it, he said ‘he knows I have a family, but he has never once asked about them.’ Great leaders demonstrate they care about the whole person and what matters most to them, including their struggles, milestones, joys & disappointments. As well as their struggles and anxieties. ‘Demonstrated empathy’ is letting people know that you care about their life, their loved ones, and their struggles.
2. Managing conflict is often the least enjoyable part of the leadership job! Most teams are not good at productively resolving conflict, yet all teams will experience conflict. How a leader engages with conflict is important. Some leaders tell people what to do. Other leaders teach, support & encourage people to manage the conflict themselves. It’s a long hard road to teach, encourage and role-model how to productively resolve conflicts but there are major benefits.
3. Your team members want to be developed and they want feedback, not just positive feedback but meaningful feedback that they can use to be better. Extraordinary leaders create cultures where feedback is readily shared amongst team members. Feedback rich cultures with people effectively developing themselves have high employee retention rates.
The best leaders have the best cultures. Some of the best cultures happen when leaders walk their talk and hold others accountable to do the same. We can’t say “feedback is important” in a team building session and then do nothing about it after the session. Great leaders fully participate, role model and hold teams accountable to walk the talk and provide consistent, meaningful feedback.
Point # 1
Hope is not a strategy. How true! However, the world desperately needs more hope. You may know people who lost hope during the pandemic and a few who have not found it yet. The opposite of hope is hopelessness. Once we have lost hope, we live in a world of anxiety and depression. Extraordinary leaders create hope in the workplace.
Hope is a belief that there will be a better tomorrow – that you organization will grow, and opportunities will be available. Employees hope they will be treated with respect & fairness, and they will be given meaningful work. Today, employees strongly hope they will be able to integrate their personal life with their work life without repercussions.
How well do you create hope? The challenge is talking about these things. I imaging you don’t want to ‘overpromise and underdeliver’ so you might not want to talk about these things. We have to learn to talk about what’s uncomfortable without overpromising.
Asking your team what they are hopeful for is a good start. Don’t worry about if you can deliver on what they want. Just understanding their hopes is a wonderful way to make an emotional connection – which is the goal. Hope in the future is such a powerful motivator. And if you wan to help your employees experience hopefulness by being willing to find reasons to have hope.
Point # 2
One of the most important leadership competencies (as researched by Zenger Folkman) is “Inspires and Motivates Others to High Performance.” One of the best ways to develop that competency is to make stronger emotional connections. Are you aware of your natural tendency to make an emotional connection? If your social style is more ‘analytical’ or ‘driver,’ you may struggle with making emotional connections, yet you know they are important. Some introverted leaders tell me they struggle connecting with others.
What’s a leader to do? First, determine your social style and the associated strengths & limitations naturally associated with it. Second, identify how to authentically make better connections with others. Next, experiment or “practice” doing it and learn from your practice.
The best connectors learn how to modify their style. Your comfort zone is not your friend – seek others who are great at connecting and ask them about how they connect with others (especially styles different than yours). Model yourself after others who do it well. Don’t let your negative self-talk prevent you from learning something so important. It’s a lie to say to yourself; “I’m introverted and can’t do that” or “That’s just the way I am.”
Who would you be willing to run through a wall for? My guess it’s the person you feel an emotional connection with.
Point # 3
Imposter syndrome is a big issue these days. I hear about it a lot. Do you ever doubt your ability to lead others at a high level? We all doubt ourselves. What happens to you after you miss a deadline, miss an important meeting, make a hiring mistake, fail to accomplish a goal, face major resistance to something you want to do, receive disagreement from your peers and negative feedback from your boss?
Work is hard – complexity in the workplace grows exponentially as you go up in the organization. Sometimes it may be about your capability but more often it’s not about you. You are going to have strike outs; some may be embarrassing. Your job is to lead yourself and your team and your organization to be the best they can be.
Extraordinary leaders take risks, fail, make mistakes, and have weaknesses. To lead yourself in an extraordinary way, you need to give yourself grace. Perfection is not the goal. Feeling ‘never good enough’ will not bring out the best in you or others.
Discover your purpose. Find a reason to have hope. Be grateful for what you have. Focus on your team and their growth. Determine what you can do versus what you cannot do. Be faith filled and create a growth mindset. In the end, it is your strengths not your weaknesses that define you. Know what they are and turn them into the biggest strengths they can become.
1. How can I talk to my team about what their hopes are for the future?
2. How can I practice connecting with people who have social styles different than mine?
3. Have I felt the imposter syndrome?
a. In what ways am I trying to be perfect and how can I let go of trying to fix my weaknesses?
b. What strengths can I utilize better or more of the time?