"He isn't doing his part, and he can't keep up with my work speed."
I sat across from a member of my board while he expressed frustration around an employee on his team. This employee was doing quality work but wasn't the fastest or most efficient team member.
The words of the manager began to sink in, and I could sense his deep-seated need to be right and have his opinion validated.
Although he was correct about the employee's time management, that wasn't what was most important to me. What was most imperative was helping them build a healthy working relationship and work on efficiently completing their projects together.
It can be so tempting to believe you have all the answers and need to dish them out to people all day long. But that isn't necessarily getting you or your business to succeed.
As a leader, it isn't your job to be right; it's your job to do whatever you need to do in order to get the job done. At the end of the day, brushing aside the need to be right is possible. I was able to walk my board member through how to do this with three simple steps.
1. Show up with excitement instead of frustration.
I started the conversation with my board member by asking, "How is your frustration working out for you?" He sat back and after a few moments he laughed at himself. He knew it wasn't working for him and if anything, it was detracting from his energy and effort to what mattered more.
Show up with excitement instead of frustration. Follow up with someone on a task or project need from a place of enthusiasm. This shifts the energy of the conversation and motivates the receiving party to become inspired to execute and get involved. When you are excited about something, other will follow suit.
2. Speak the other person's language.
Most people are speaking their own language full of expressions and jargon expecting everyone else to understand them. True leadership is understanding what kind of language someone speaks and meeting them where they are. Show up with higher energy to inspire others to act and move in the direction you want.
Step into the other person's shoes to understand what motivates them and why they would be enticed to do what needs to be done. Once you have a grasp on this, you can then speak from their vantage point.
This also could mean shifting the vocabulary you use and the outcomes you speak to. Have you ever sat in a room where a highly technical expert gave a presentation so granular and detailed that the overall message was lost to those that didn't have the same background? Instead of bombarding a team member with metrics, try approaching it from the customer's emotional outcome or vice versa. Adjust how you speak to people in order to better grab their attention and their desire to get involved.
3. Put your ego aside.
At the end of the day, as a leader, you need to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Sometimes this requires you to allow someone else to be right, to step into roles that aren't typically yours, and let your ego down to get your hands dirty right alongside your team.
Simon Sinek wrote a book titled Leaders Eat Last, and that statement alone couldn't summarize the message better. A team expects the leader to mitigate threats, even at the expense of their personal well-being. The sooner you can understand this, the quicker you shift from being an authoritative boss to being a true leader.