Ever worked for a leader who was so inspiring and gifted,your memories of the way he or she took care of the group stay vivid to this day?
Chances are,the reason you still talk about this pioneer from years past is due to the way 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 Abilities
Leadership is a matter of the mind and the heart–it’s about results and relationships. Therefore,if you are in a leadership role now or aspiring to one,the journey toward leadership greatness never ends. But it does have a beginning 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 some — and all — of them?
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 want to be approachable. If you are not,it could hurt your leadership in several ways:
- Your employees may be less inclined to share information for fear of disapproval;
- your team members could be disconnected from you; and
- your team members will fear taking ownership of the job,and will only look to you for answers.
To be approachable means promoting a culture where feelings of devotion and a sense of purpose are felt among staff.
How to become more approachable:
- Keep an open-door policy;
- share information;
- spark upnon-work related conversations;
- be human 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–personal or professional.
2. Do you foster an environment where individuals are emotionally secure?
Research on freedom and psychological safety by Amy Edmondson of Harvard indicates that when encouraging leaders foster a culture of safety — meaning workers are free to speak up,experimentation,give feedback,and ask for help — it leads to better learning and performance results.
When emotional safety is absent,fear is present. And fear is detrimental to achieving a provider’s full potential. We just can not be engaged or innovative when we’re afraid. Some subscribe to the notion that fear is a motivator,but what fear does is kill trust — the ultimate demotivator.
How to create more psychological safety:
- Create a bond with workers,and remind them of the value;
- praise them for their functionality with specific examples for positive reinforcement;
- keep your people in the loop regarding upcoming 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 problem straight away by meeting with the team 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 only as workers but also as human beings. Lastly,don’t leave anybody hanging by going radio silent.
3. Are you leading with integrity?
Let me give it to you straight: Your employees are watching your every move for a leader. If you are acting unprofessional or unethical,they understand. And if they know,you have 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 elements of your integrity,you’ll eventually arrive at a point where it becomes easier to develop trust,repair a relationship after a conflict,listen with compassion,and provide 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 aren’t. By being who you reallyare,you not only trust the judgments and decisions that you make,but others trust you as well. They’ll respect you for standing by your values and beliefs.