Use Leadership Language That Shows You Care
Valentine’s Day is just about a week away. While you may have chocolates, cards or flowers on your mind for those you love, this annual event can be a nice reminder for us leaders to think about how we demonstrate our appreciation for those at work. Like family members, the people in your work environment will thrive when they feel supported and motivated by you. And there are so many ways to do this that don’t take a lot of time, effort or energy. In adopting some simple habits around communication, including feedback and how you verbally inspire your people, you can send the message that you value them and their contributions to the team’s success. In spite of being busy leaders, these activities are ones we need to be doing regularly—or else they won’t feel genuine.
Here are five easy suggestions:
1. Give speedy performance feedback.
The faster you deliver feedback, the more impactful it will be in terms of inspiring the right actions and minimizing those activities or mindsets that undermine an employee’s productivity or performance. Real-time (or quick) feedback is also a powerful tool in that it shows you care enough about what’s happening with the person you’re coaching to deliver the information now. It sends the message that this individual’s professional wellbeing is a priority.
2. Speak only after you think.
If you’ve got something important to say to those on your team, prepare for such communications and conversations ahead of time. Plan and practice what you’re going to say so you don’t risk saying the wrong thing or hurting someone’s feelings. Don’t have time to prepare? At least take a few breaths to pause, giving yourself a moment to think before talking. Then follow the Golden Rule—always choose to speak in a tone and use words that help instead of hurt.
3. Catch someone doing something good.
If you notice someone doing something that supports your organization’s Vital goals, point it out personally. Depending on how that individual likes to be recognized, highlight their excellence through an email, in a team accountability meeting or by pulling them aside and commending them in private. Make sure to let them know what the activity was and, specifically, how it made a difference.
4. Ask people for their opinion.
Even if you think you know the best solution for a problem, go get the perspectives of others first. You may find they have better answers or ideas than whatever you’re considering. And if not, you’re not wasting your time in involving them in this way. You’re showing you value their expertise or unique contribution to problem solving. It’s an easy way to communicate that you care about what they bring to the table and their feeling like a valued team player.
5. Manage by walking around.
Show you care by finding out what’s really going on with your people. Get out of your office for a set amount of time each day or week. It could be five minutes daily or 20 minutes weekly, but stroll around the workplace, ask how people are doing relative to their goals, and find out what challenges they are having. Do more listening then talking. If they’re struggling, ask them to come up with some solutions and report back to you. Also, get their thoughts on why things (good or bad) are happening at work, plus any improvements they would suggest, plus how they would ensure the success of those corrective actions.
What’s been one simple, effective way you’ve shown you care about those you lead?