Ever worked for a leader who was so inspirational and gifted,your memories of how he or she took care of the team remain vivid to this day?
Chances are,the reason you still talk about this pioneer from years past is due to 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 is about relationships and results. Therefore,if you are in a leadership role now or aspiring to one,the journey toward leadership greatness never finishes. However, it does have a starting point.
And sometimes the beginning of the journey requires some challenging questions you need to ask yourself to raise your own bar. Can you answer yes to some — and all — of these?
1. Are you approachable?
Before you assume you are fit to direct,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 dread taking possession of their job,and will only 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 become more approachable:
- Keep an open-door policy;
- share information;
- spark non-work related discussions;
- 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–private or professional.
2. Can you nurture an environment where people are emotionally secure?
Research on liberty and psychological safety by Amy Edmondson of Harvard suggests that when encouraging leaders foster a culture of security — meaning employees are free to speak up,experimentation,give feedback,and request help — it leads to better learning and performance results.
When psychological security is absent,fear is present. And fear is detrimental to achieving a company’s full potential. We just can’t be engaged or innovative when we are afraid. Some subscribe to the notion that fear is a motivator,but what fear does is kill hope — the supreme demotivator.
How to create more psychological security:
- Create a bond with employees,and remind them of their value;
- praise them for their performance with specific examples for positive reinforcement;
- keep your people in the loop regarding upcoming plans and projects,deadlines,and any changes taking place,bad or good;
- 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 fulfill the needs of your people–demonstrating that you appreciate them not only as workers but also as human beings. Finally,do not leave anyone hanging by going radio silent.
3. Are you leading with integrity?
Allow me to give it to you straight: Your employees are watching your every move as a leader. If you are 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 this issue. In Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality,Cloud says,”Who a person is will ultimately determine if their brains,talents,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 will eventually arrive at a point where it becomes easier to develop trust,repair a connection following a battle,listen with empathy,and provide critical feedback to build someone up.
How to lead with more ethics:
- Lead by example,be reliable,be credible,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 aren’t. By being who you reallyare,you do not just trust the judgments and decisions that you make,but others trust you too. They’ll respect you for standing by your values and beliefs.