Ever worked for a leader that was so inspirational and gifted,your memories of how he or she took care of the group stay vivid to this day?
Chances are,the reason you still talk about this leader from years past is because of how he or she made you feel.
Famous 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 head and the heart–it’s about results and relationships. Therefore,if you’re in a leadership role now or aspiring to one,the journey toward leadership greatness never ends. However, it does have a starting point.
And sometimes the beginning 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’re fit to direct,this is an important question to ask. Because if you’re going to lead,you want to be approachable. If you’re 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 possession of their work,and will just 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 be more approachable:
- Maintain an open-door policy;
- share information;
- spark non-work relevant discussions;
- be person and show your sense of humor;
- take part 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 freedom and psychological security by Amy Edmondson of Harvard indicates that when encouraging leaders foster a culture of safety — meaning workers are free to speak up,experiment,give opinions,and request help — it leads to better learning and performance results.
When psychological safety is absent,anxiety is present. And anxiety is detrimental to achieving a provider’s full potential. We just can’t be engaged or innovative when we are afraid. Some subscribe to the idea that fear is a motivator,but what fear does is kill hope — the supreme demotivator.
How to create more psychological safety:
- Create a bond with workers,and remind them of their worth;
- praise them for their performance with specific examples for positive reinforcement;
- keep your people in the loop regarding forthcoming plans and projects,deadlines,and any changes happening,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 issue 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 is required to fulfill the needs of your people–showing that you value them not just as workers but also as human beings. Finally,don’t leave anyone hanging by heading radio silent.
3. Are you leading with integrity?
|John Wurzburger Leadership|
Allow me to give it to you straight: Your employees are watching your every move as a leader. If you’re acting unprofessional or dishonest,they know. And if they know,you’ve already lost the battle for respect.
Psychologist and best-selling author Henry Cloud wrote the book on why ethics matters and sheds good 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,abilities,competencies,energy,effort,deal-making abilities,and opportunities will triumph.”
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 confidence,repair a relationship after a battle,listen with compassion,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 where 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 are not. By being who you reallyare,you do not just trust the judgments and decisions that you make,but others trust you as well. They will respect you for standing by your values and beliefs.