Leadership can be a tricky role sometimes. Many things get in the way and stop us from leading like we know we should.
We have all kinds of daily demands and responsibilities that outweigh our personal desires and needs to spend the extra time working with our teams. We continue to tell ourselves that when things slow down we will communicate better, assign work differently, give that much needed feedback to an employee or just recognize them for a job well done. The reality is if you’re waiting for a slowdown, that time is likely to never come. It requires effort and a desire to lead more authentically.
I firmly believe that everyone knows “how” to lead. And if that is true, then only you can determine what’s stopping you from being the leader that your organization needs…that your team needs. In one of my recent blogs, No Quick Fix Here: Leadership Authenticity, you will see my initial thoughts on why I was compelled to create a leadership development program – or as I like to call it, a cultural movement. The bottom-line was that for years I watched some of the best intentioned (potentially great) leader’s burn out because they couldn’t see beyond the daily demands and responsibilities. Their workload continued to get bigger. Their faith in their team continued to get smaller. The engagement of their employees slipped away until turnover was so costly that positions just stopped being back-filled. It was a vicious cycle. That’s just one example of what happens but there are so many reasons why leaders choose to not engage in an authentic and vulnerable way with their teams. I’m here to tell you there is a strong business case behind why and how you need to show up differently.
One key piece of leadership research is by Marcus Buckingham. He is famous for his work around playing to your strengths. As a leader, you have a responsibility to your company and your employees to do this for yourself, but also to spend time with your people understanding their strengths. You should be looking for opportunities to accelerate performance and increase satisfaction in your own job and your employee’s job. Research from Buckingham’s organization proved that teams who have a chance to play to their strengths every day are:
- 50% more likely lower employee turnover
- 38% more likely to be high-productivity teams
- 44% more likely to earn high customer satisfaction scores
What do you think an improvement like this can do to the bottom-line of profitability? Marcus has many books out there that share all of the research but you will find the magic behind these numbers in his book “First, Go Break All the Rules.” You can purchase it at the New Dimensions Book Store. It is important for organizations to begin investing in the development of their people leaders. It’s also important for people leaders to want to dig deep and grow.
Baby steps are the key right now to the plague of the Gallup data which shows that 70% of employees are disengaged at work. Leadership is cited as one of the key reasons why people leave an organization. We must begin to take a deep introspective look at ourselves as leaders to put just a dent in that number.
Here are a few steps you can begin working on today:
- Get Clear – know what you stand you for – your mission, vision and values and how does that align with your organization. Is your team aware of your vision and values? What are your strengths and how do you play to them? What is the strength of each individual on your team? How can you use that information to assign work?
- Let Go – let go of things that stop you from leading from your mission, vision and values. Sometimes letting go isn’t about leaving something behind as much as it is about changing your perception and actions. Start noticing your behavior– If you find yourself moving away from something happening in your day, ask yourself what you’re really doing. Are you in some form of risk….and going silent or violent? Take note of your feelings – Learn to accurately name the emotion behind your story. What emotions are encouraging you to act this way? Offer other options for your stories – Question your conclusions and look for other possible explanations behind your story. What story is creating these emotions?
Imagine how differently you will interact with people once you are conscious of your intent and can give yourself options for the intent of others. Knowing who you are and how you lead can bring you to a place of greater productivity…and well, fun! Do you remember what it was like to have fun at work?
If you’re interested in understanding your energy and how it impacts the way you lead your team…if you’re interested in having fun at work again, connect with me today!
My practice has so many wonderful development opportunities for you to grow as a leader and grow as a team!
Let’s build this cultural movement together!