Ever worked for a leader that was so inspirational and gifted,your memories of how he or she took care of the team stay vivid to this day?
Chances are,the reason you still talk about this pioneer from years ago is because of how 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 Skills
Leadership is a matter of the mind and the heart–it’s about relationships and results. So,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 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 willing to share information for fear of disapproval;
- your staff members may be disconnected from you; and
- your staff members will fear taking ownership of their job,and will only look to you for answers.
To be approachable means promoting a culture where feelings of devotion and a sense of purpose are felt among staff.
How to become more approachable:
- Maintain an open-door coverage;
- share information;
- spark upnon-work related conversations;
- be human and show your sense of humor;
- participate in volunteer or professional development activities with your employees;
- be an advocate for your employees when they face challenges–personal or professional.
2. Do you foster an environment where individuals are emotionally secure?
Research on freedom and psychological safety by Amy Edmondson of Harvard suggests that when encouraging leaders foster a culture of safety — meaning employees are free to speak up,experimentation,give feedback,and request help — it leads to better understanding and performance outcomes.
When psychological safety is absent,fear is present. And fear is detrimental to achieving a provider’s full potential. We just can’t be engaged or innovative when we’re afraid. Some subscribe to the notion that fear is a motivator,but what fear does is kill trust — the supreme demotivator.
How to make more psychological safety:
- Create a bond with employees,and remind them of their value;
- praise them for their functionality with specific examples for positive reinforcement;
- keep your people in the loop regarding forthcoming plans and projects,deadlines,and any changes taking place,good or bad;
- give your employees a sense of security by ensuring that their work and status as employees are on solid ground.
When tough problems arise,address the problem right 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. Lastly,do not leave anybody hanging by heading radio silent.
3. Are you leading with integrity?
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Let me give it to you straight: Your employees are watching your every move as a leader. If you are acting unprofessional or unethical,they understand. And if they know,you have already lost the battle for respect.
Psychologist and best-selling writer Henry Cloud wrote the book on why ethics matters and sheds great light on the topic. In Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality,Cloud says,”Who a man is will ultimately determine if their brains,abilities,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 will eventually arrive at a point where it becomes easier to develop confidence,repair a connection following a conflict,listen with empathy,and give critical feedback to build someone up.
How to lead with more ethics:
- Lead by example,be reliable,be plausible,talk 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 right thing;
- be true to yourself rather than be someone you aren’t. By being who you reallyare,you not only trust the judgments and decisions that you make,but others trust you as well. They’ll respect you for standing by your values and beliefs.