Some of the Keys to Being a Good Leader
I get lots of newsletters in my email and I scan most of them then delete them. However, there is a company that I recently became aware of and I LOVE their great newsletters! Here’s my take on some of what I’ve recently received from Officevibe:
Trust Is the Key – Jacob of Officevibe says, “The difference between a high-performing team and an underperforming team is trust in one another. … Try to do whatever you can to build trust on your team. Open communication, brutal honesty, getting to know each other personally, and showing trust first are all ways to build trust.” My take: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is one of my favorite business books; a lot of L&D programs I’ve done have been based on this book. The first dysfunction that Pat Lencioni writes about is the Absence of Trust. Jacob is talking about trust in general; Pat is talking about vulnerability base trust. Either way, trust is key – I’ve been on teams with low trust and I’ve been on teams with high trust. I so prefer the latter!
So Is Respect and Empowerment – Jacob says, “That respect meant that we could trust each other with decisions. We didn’t have to have meetings about design where everyone pitched in and told the designer what to do, she did it herself and everyone trusted and respected what she did. … Most of the time, people have quasi-autonomy. They’re not able to see their project all the way through and on their own. My take: From my experience as a people manager and on teams, if the right people are in the right roles, it is easy to do trust, respect, and empower. If that isn’t the case this becomes much harder. So yes, I will admit I’ve been the micromanager and I’ve been the workhorse because I didn’t respect someone or couldn’t give them autonomy.
Feedback Is Another Key – According to Officevibe, “A survey conducted by Interact found that 69% of managers are often uncomfortable communicating with employees, and 37% said they’re uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employees’ performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback. ... Employees need feedback to get better at what they do. And the funny thing is employees crave feedback.” My take: I’ve admitted this before; I’ve been uncomfortable giving feedback. Why? Because I’ve gotten feedback that upset me, because I’ve had employees cry over feedback from me, and I’ve had employees get mad over feedback from me. But I know to be a good manager, a good colleague, a good friend, a good spouse, etc. I have to suck it up and do it! In “Trust Is the Key” Jacob’s quote uses the terms “brutal honesty”. You can have brutal honesty; you just can’t be brutally honest…there really is a difference! Feedback can be brutal honesty given as a gift…from the heart…to help someone see something they can’t see.
Empathy Is Yet Another Key – Jacob says, “I often mention how employee engagement and having happy, productive employees really comes down to treating people with respect. In order to be able to treat your employees with respect, you need to be able to understand them, what they’re going through, and what’s really on their minds.” My take: I may not have walked in someone’s shoes, but I can try to understanding and be sensitive to what is going on in their world. Yes, sometimes the limits are pushed (I had an employee that I had to enact the TMI (too much information) rule; I didn’t need the gory details to empathize), but you need personal rapport with people…and empathy is part of that.
Communicate – Jacob says, “Team communication is so important. … Communicating virtually is tough because there’s no tone or facial expressions to interpret the message. We all need to be mindful of this.” My take: Communication is so important and we are not always good at it! We need to share information; we need to be transparent. I like to talk, but sometimes I forget that people can’t read my mind so I have to remind myself to give people the information they need, to tell them the why behind things, etc. Jacob’s article also focused on communicating politely: be nice, be friendly, if a conversation needs to be in private have it somewhere private, try to talk in person or via webcam when possible, plus listen, read the whole email, etc.
We Versus Me – Jacob says, “Whenever we would talk about a task (completing it or the status of it), we would use the word “we” instead of “I”. … This made all of us feel like much more of a team. Everyone was working together towards a common purpose.” My take: Most of my L&D experience has been on teams so I try to say “we” as much as possible. Because in most cases, I didn’t do it all myself…I had help. And those who helped deserve credit!
People Really Do Leave Managers – According to Officevibe, “…research from Gallup, 50% of employees leave their companies because of their boss. … Gallup explains that when you have a bad boss, it creates this compounding effect that’s really damaging. Employees are miserable at work, that misery follows them home, making them even more stressed and spreading that negativity to their families.” My take: I have definitely left managers, not companies! And I’ve definitely brought things home, just ask my husband if you ever meet him. Quick feedback soapbox: I once got feedback from my boss via email. The email was sent to me and a colleague at 7 PM. I made the mistake of reading on my phone, which brought misery home to my hubby. (I didn’t leave this manager because of this.) The email started off with something to the effect of “I am very disappointed in both of you regarding what happened in the meeting with Mary (not her real name)”. It then went on to discuss a situation that Mary had told our boss about and how our boss didn’t like the way my colleague and I handled it. Feedback is a gift and should be given as a gift…this was so NOT a gift. Moral of my soapbox story…don’t do this…people really do leave managers!
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