Jan 27, 2020
Can you think of one leader that has inspired your life that your memories of them remain vivid to this day? To paraphrase Maya Angelou, you may forget what a mentor has said but you will never forget how they made you feel.
Here are three questions you can use to assess the sharpness of your leadership skills.
This is a crucial first question. If you are going to be a truly transformational leader, your employees need to feel they can approach you in a safe, inclusive way. If your employees fear your judgment and disapproval, they may be less likely to approach you with safety concerns, for example. This disconnect between you and your team can lead to a lack of ownership amongst your workers, as they only look to you for the answers. Real leadership requires easy communication and a sincerely collaborative approach.
Make sure to promote the kind of culture you want by remaining approachable. Give your team a sense of purpose by sharing your vision and encouraging questions every step of the way to bring those goals to fruition and make the impossible possible. Establish an open-door communication policy and keep your sense of humor engaged. It's much easier to approach a fellow human being than an intimidating "boss".
What are you doing as a leader to foster a safety culture of inclusion? Are your employees encouraged to give feedback, even when it might be unpopular? Will employees be punished if they simply ask for help or clarification on a task? This is what is meant by true leadership in a culture of safety. It's not only about physical safety, but also takes the emotional well being of your staff into consideration. Psychological safety takes hold and fear abates. It then becomes much easier as a leader to create a bond with your team, and use positive reinforcement to praise them for their work.
Every move you make as a leader is closely observed by the workers on your team. You are leading by example whether you realize it or not. Truth has a way of finding its way to the surface. If you are attempting to hide unethical or unprofessionally behavior. Respect is earned by each step you take with integrity. So make sure you keep walking the walk.
Ever worked for a leader who was so inspiring and gifted, your memories of how he or she took care of the team remain vivid to this day?
Chances are, the reason you still talk about this leader from years past is because of how he or she made you feel.
Renowned poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, infamously quipped, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."