This is a continuation from Part 1 of Leadership for the Rest of Us. These posts are meant to be helpful for those that are new to leadership or being put into a leadership role that you feel unprepared for.
Here are the next 2 on my list of 10:
5. Vulnerability leads to trust. I think I first heard about this thought from Patrick Lencioni, but I find it to be true on a regular basis. Trust is foundational in any relationship if it is to have a positive return. Building trust takes time – and losing trust can only take a second – so it is important that you are intentional about earning the trust of those who are following you. And the best way to do this, in my opinion, is to be vulnerable with your team.
Now when I say be vulnerable here, I am not talking about being sappy and crying together (although there may be times for that) or even sharing your deepest and darkest parts of your life with others. I simply mean that those you lead must know and understand that you are human. That you deal with human emotions and the ups and downs of life, just like them. Often as leaders we feel that we must look like we have it all together and that if we are vulnerable it will lead to others doubting our ability to lead. I have found the opposite to be true.
So, share some of your life with them. Invite them to your home for dinner. Tell them stories about growing up or what it was like when you first started doing the job you’re currently doing. But also tell them about a time you messed up or a time when you learned something new. Tell them about your family and your ups and downs of married life or raising kids. Once again, be strategic about what you share and who you share it with, but the point is to become human to them and show them that you are just like them.
Who are you being vulnerable with? What steps can you take in the next few days to be vulnerable with those you lead? I believe it will lead to a deeper level of trust! Give it a try!!
6. Own Communication. The communication or lack thereof squarely falls on the shoulders of the leader(s). It is up to you to communicate things to those that you lead and do it in a clear and timely manner. There is nothing that leads to a loss of excellence or a lack of motivation for a team than to feel as though they are out of the loop on things that directly impact them and their responsibilities. People naturally want to be on the inside of things – and it’s your job to make sure that they feel like they are. And this happens, mostly, through communication.
You see, when people do not feel like they are on the inside of things, they can begin fabricating things based on limited information – and this is most often a bad thing for you and the organization as a whole. There are times to keep things confidential and a time to keep things to yourself, of course. But, what I’m referring to here is much simpler than that. One question that should be asked in every conversation that deals with organizational policies/procedures or change or direction should be “How and who will we communicate this?”
We have no one to blame but ourselves when the people we lead say that they didn’t know something. So, make plans now to over-communicate. The complaints of over-communication are never as disastrous as not communicating or under-communicating. How can you make this a priority this week?