It's December. Do you have a sense of what you'd like to improve upon in your leadership role? Whatever you decide, it may take some humble pie because one true act of leadership involves accepting honest feedback. How are you in that department?
Leadership is an evolutionary journey pointing you toward your True North. When you think you've climbed to the top, look up. The next peak, and the one after that, is what keeps the best of leaders focused on the upward trek to unceasing learning and development.
5 Things You Will Most Likely Have to Fix
As you ascend up the crest on this final stretch of the year, thoughtfully consider that whatever it is you need to fix, the starting point may involve improving relationships with those that follow your leadership. I say this because leadership is about serving people, and you can't do that without knowing them well. Once your blind spots are uncovered and overcome through conscious and intentional practice of your new skills, the strength of your team should drastically improve moving ahead.
1. Fix how you view and manage feedback
People in management have egos. And they often spend time protecting their position, status, image or reputation. To them, feedback is deemed a threat to their power and self-worth, especially if it's negative. Great leaders, on the other hand, value truth and honesty and see feedback as a gift to improve upon their leadership so they can serve others and their mission better. Even when feedback is negative, it prompts an exercise in curious exploration to find out where things went wrong so that it doesn't happen again.
2. Fix the likelihood that you may be neglecting your team members
Finish off the year by planning ahead to making clearer goals and setting more consistent expectations for your team members through the lost art of one-on-one conversations. Leaders thrive when they strengthen relationships with their people by spending more one-on-one time with them to hear their suggestions, ideas, problems and issues as well as talking about performance issues and their work.
3. Fix your lack of praising team members.
The companies in Gallup's study with the highest engagement levels use recognition and praise as a powerful motivator to get their commitment. They found that employees who receive it on a regular basis increase their individual productivity, receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and are more likely to stay with their organization. How regular are we talking? Praise should be given once per week, according to Gallup.
4. Fix the lack of trust with words that build trust
Like anything else involving communicating with another human being, it's the words we choose, backed with intentional action, that will build bridges and increase trust. Once you reach a level of humility required in every leader, try this courageous admission: "That was my fault." Admitting to being human and making mistakes has been found to actually increase trust. Paul Zak, author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies, says, "People who are imperfect are more attractive to us. We like them more than people who seem too perfect."
5. Fix the source of your leadership as possibly being an integrity issue.
Employees are not stupid. They're watching the behaviors of their leaders and have a keen sense of their leaders' integrity, and whether they "walk the talk." If this strikes your curiosity, refer to this piece I wrote for five very important reasons why integrity is so vital for success. In the meantime, start tuning in to what your employees truly want to know:
- Can I trust my boss to do the right thing?
- Will my boss be straight with me and speak his or her truth?
- Does my boss own his mistakes?
- Does my boss give the team the credit where credit is due?
- Does my boss care about our team members as people as opposed to assets?