What if I told you that everyone was just trying to do their best? All the time? How would that affect the way you lead?
When I was promoted to Director level in my last company, the global CEO came out from Australia to congratulate us, and share a few of his thoughts, anecdotes and pieces of advice for us as “new Leaders” of the company. One thing he said still resonates with me today – “Be generous”.
He said that every person at the company was there every day, doing their best. So be generous. If someone makes a mistake, it wasn’t on purpose, so step up and help them overcome whatever error was made, and help them make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Believe me when I say, (and I’m sure many of you can relate!) they are probably already beating themselves up inside for making the error, so grinding it in at this stage is just unhelpful, and may even result in additional anxiety and sleepless nights, long after you’ve forgotten about berating them. Their lesson has been well and truly learned!
There are so many ways a leader can be generous to those around them:
Be generous with your time – if someone asks for a one on one meeting with you, in particular if they are less senior than you, please try to find time for them, even if it’s a breakfast coffee, or 15 minutes between other meetings. It obviously means a lot to them, and may have taken them a lot of courage to ask. So even if its 4 weeks out and you need to reschedule twice, find the time to really listen to them. You may be surprised what you find out, and you may be surprised how much it means to them, too.
Be generous with your encouragement – I think we can all agree that positive reinforcement is generally well received! And we can also agree that generally we don’t hear it often enough. When people are genuinely doing their very best every day (which, you’ll remember, is our ongoing assumption!) they are truly giving everything the most attention and energy they can at that time. Yes, objectively, some days are “better” than others, but we all have more to give some days than others, right? External and internal stressors will almost always impact a person’s ability to perform at their ultimate best, whether they are conscious of this or not. So be loud, specific and genuine in your acknowledgement, so they understand that they will always have a hand on their back. Wouldn’t you want a leader like that, too?
Be generous with your inclusion – A leader understands that when they help to lift their team up, it makes everyone look (and feel!) good. I had someone give me “advice” once that I now consider to be the ultimate anti-advice! He said I should stop including my team in Board meetings or meetings with external clients, because I should be the one in the lime-light as that’s the only way to shine and get noticed. That’s a firm no from me, mate. I believe that as a leader it is your priority to motivate, encourage and lift up the people you manage – it is only then that you will also shine. A leader isn’t a leader if no one is with you!
So remember, we’re all doing the best we can, even if sometimes its harder to see that in others. We all have our own inner judges and expectations of others that can make it difficult to hold onto this idea. But what if you could? How would that affect the way you interact with your team? And with yourself?
Coaching is one powerful way to become more aware of your attitudes around yourself and others, and what may be holding you back from being the leader you always wished you had. Get in touch for a free 45 minute Moxie Discovery Call and we can get you on your way!