Mindtools.com says “Leadership can be hard to define and it means different things to different people. In the transformational leadership model, leaders set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward. To do this they create an inspiring vision, and then motivate and inspire others to reach that vision.”
How is that done?
You may have heard the quote, “no one cares about how much you know unless they know how much you care.” Can you be defined as a leader if you don’t ever get followers? It seems the best leaders show how much they care about their mission. Then the ones who show they care about their people get the most people on board.
Think of the best leaders in ancient wars. Those who you see in the movies that are charging ahead of their troops to fight a battle. The ones who get out in front. They are in the trenches with their people. When you see that in a movie, doesn’t it ignite your passion internally to want to see their side win?
Besides leading the way, how else do those leaders get people on board? We see characteristics as being comfortable in their own skin, confident in who they are, strong in their decision making, have integrity and base decisions on the betterment of all their people. They make their team feel valued that someone else is willing to fight on their behalf. It makes them all want to win together.
What kind of leader are you? How do you show you care about your people? When your people are trying to voice what they are experiencing in the trenches, do you shut them down? If so, instead:
- Work to listen and understand if it is a legitimate concern.
- Rephrase what you are hearing them feel.
- Ask what have you tried?
- What were the results?
- Ask what are your recommended options?
- Ask how do you want to be part of the solution?
- Do you know any others that are feeling the same way and would you want to help come up with ideas to fix it?
This approach will help your people feel heard and opinions valued. Also, it weeds out the negative thinkers. Those who want to complain but not help fix the problem.
When you make them feel heard rather than force top-down thinking and respond in ways where they feel they can’t trust being honest, you risk not getting valuable information for an effective strategy. Also if you don’t understand them and what they are going through, how are you going to provide the adequate tools for them to handle the battle. Shutting them down before understanding them says to them, “your opinions don’t matter”. “Your views are not valued enough.”
If you feel they don’t understand the big picture from their feedback, it also tells you they don’t understand the vision. In that case, you may need to clarify it and get them on board with why what you are asking is important.
Most people want to feel they are doing the right thing and will work more passionately for those who care for them. Care for your people by empathizing with them and coach them how to become their best and you will have an army helping you accomplish your vision.
Photo taken at Lake Tahoe