Leadership Style: Three Ways to Shake It Up
Do you ever get a feeling that you need to shake things up a bit in terms of your leadership style? I’m certainly not suggesting that you change course altogether and definitely not for the sake of change alone. But sometimes we as leaders pick up on the fact that doing something differently could be an easy way to help our people, the organization, the customers we serve, or even our own leadership impact and development. For example, you may make a minor tweak in your style and yet it can become one that has a big impact, one that’s capable of creating a better connection with your people. From that connection, you may then learn something new, opening the door for even more critical change. All this can then lead to greater goal achievement and results. But here’s the thing: If you want your leadership to look and feel different today, you’ve got to take the initiative. Embrace the mindset that different can sometimes be good and necessary. Ask what small activities you could do today to improve where you work and lead.
Here are a few suggestions:
Manage by walking around. The value of periodically getting out of your office for a few minutes to ask people how they’re doing relative to their goals, responsibilities, projects, etc., can have a number of benefits. You have to choose your own communication approach and how you will gain the insights you need. But as a general rule, prod a bit with questions like, “How’s it going working with that new hire?” or “Tell me how you’re doing with your monthly sales goal—any challenges?” Point is, simply asking, “How’s it going?” isn’t good enough. Dig deeper to create connection, nurture the relationship, and get the information you want to know.
Be genuine. Most employees respect that when they come to work, they need to focus on their job, not their personal life. That said, we’re all human and so for many of us, there’s a natural inclination to want to connect at times around something other than work. The key is to maintain appropriate behaviors around what’s discussed and when and how it’s done. Use common sense here and this can be a powerful way to build the trust and respect of your people.
Spot opportunities for “Thanks!” I’m willing to bet that if you spent a few minutes just noticing the workplace culture around you, you’d spot acts of kindness everywhere. It may be one of your team members covering for another while he/she is out on vacation. Or it could be someone bringing humor to the workplace, keeping people somewhat lighthearted and grounded when challenges surface. Perhaps it’s someone who has remained committed to your organization for an impressive number of years and in spite of not having perhaps the most glamorous of jobs. Simply taking a few moments to call attention to your gratitude for these activities—and not just around Thanksgiving time—can raise awareness around what’s good in the workplace. As this awareness grows and as you consistently model gratitude, this behavior will be catching. Over time, the expression of thanks can evolve into an unwritten rule. Eventually, it can become part of your culture.
What’s one small thing you’ve done differently in your leadership—and how has it made a difference?