Ever worked for a leader who was so inspirational and gifted,your memories of the way he or she took care of the team remain vivid to this day?
Chances are,the reason you still talk about this leader from years past is due to the way he or she made you feel.
Renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou famously quipped,”People will forget what you said,people will forget what you did,but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
3 Questions John Wurzburger Asks To Assess Leadership Abilities
Leadership is a matter of the mind and the heart–it is about relationships and results. Therefore,if you are in a leadership role now or aspiring to one,the journey toward leadership greatness never ends. But it does have a beginning point.
And sometimes the start of the journey requires some tough questions you will need to ask yourself to raise your own bar. Can you answer yes to any — and hopefullyall — of these?
1. Are you approachable?
Before you assume you are fit to lead,this is an important question to ask. Because if you are going to lead,you need to be approachable. If you are not,it could hurt your leadership in several ways:
- Your employees may be less inclined to share information for fear of disapproval;
- your staff members could be disconnected from you; and
- your staff members will dread taking ownership of the work,and will only look to you for answers.
To be approachable means promoting a culture where feelings of loyalty and a sense of purpose are felt among staff.
How to become more approachable:
- Keep an open-door policy;
- share information;
- spark upnon-work related discussions;
- be person and show your sense of humor;
- participate in volunteer or professional development activities with your workers;
- be an advocate for your employees when they face challenges–private or professional.
2. Can you nurture an environment where people are psychologically safe?
Research on liberty and mental security by Amy Edmondson of Harvard indicates that when encouraging leaders foster a culture of safety — meaning workers are free to speak up,experimentation,give opinions,and request help — it leads to better understanding and performance outcomes.
When emotional safety is absent,fear is present. And fear is detrimental to achieving a company’s full potential. We just can’t be engaged or innovative when we are afraid. Some subscribe to the notion that fear is a motivator,but what fear does is kill hope — the ultimate demotivator.
How to create more psychological safety:
- Create a bond with workers,and remind them of the value;
- praise them for their functionality with specific examples for positive reinforcement;
- keep your people in the loop regarding upcoming plans and projects,deadlines,and any changes taking place,bad or good;
- give your employees a sense of security by ensuring that their work and status as workers are on solid ground.
When tough problems arise,address the problem straight away by meeting with the staff in person (if physically possible),or send an email to set people’s expectations. Always pull on the side of hope,strength,perseverance,and compassion. Your job as a leader is to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of your people–showing that you value them not only as workers but also as human beings. Finally,do not leave anyone hanging by going radio silent.
3. Are you leading with integrity?
Allow me to give it to you straight: Your employees are watching your every move as a leader. If you are acting unprofessional or dishonest,they understand. And if they know,you’ve already lost the battle for respect.
Psychologist and best-selling writer Henry Cloud wrote the book on why integrity matters and sheds great light on the topic. In Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality,Cloud says,”Who a person is will ultimately determine if their brains,talents,competencies,energy,effort,deal-making skills,and opportunities will succeed.”
So,who are you,really? As you learn and adapt to all aspects of your integrity,you’ll eventually arrive at a point where it becomes easier to develop trust,repair a relationship following a conflict,listen with compassion,and give critical feedback to build up someone.
How to lead with more integrity:
- Lead by example,be reliable,be credible,speak with truth;
- raise the bar and hold yourself accountable to a higher standard — one in which your followers will want to emulate;
- follow through on your promises or commitments;
- do the perfect thing;
- be true to yourself rather than be someone you aren’t. By being who you are,you not only trust the decisions and decisions that you make,but others trust you too. They’ll respect you for standing by your values and beliefs.