Three simple questions . . .
- If you knew you could not fail and those around you would wholeheartedly support you, what would you do?
- Are you doing it?
- If not, then why?
Oh, and one final question . . .
If your reason for not doing something is that you’re afraid of failing or being judged . . . how much worse would that be than never having tried?
Think about it . . . and share your thoughts below . . . if you dare . . .
And remember this: it’s better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly.
(Thanks to Robert H. Schuller)
Do you stay out of your employees’ way and allow them to problem solve? If not, consider that you are likely the sort of boss who is a top-down, micromanager. The command-and-control model works well in the military but results in tremendous dysfunction for work teams. Hierarchical control often results in a vicious cycle in which the work team is rendered ineffective and unvalued.
If you are a leader, remember that you have nothing to prove. Let your team be the problem solvers, and show them that you have ideas and advice when needed. Stay out of the way.
The best leader is the one who listens more than talks. Watch your body language and maintain eye contact with the person speaking. Try to minimize distractions.
Welcome divergent viewpoints and disagreement. Problem-solve as a team, asking for input. Assure your team that all perspectives and solutions are valued, and be sure not to shoot down any thoughts that are shared. Remember that you are not the only one with the answers.
Successful leaders trust and rely on followers to maximize team effectiveness. Your behavior as the leader can either strengthen or destroy the work team. Engage and empower your team, and your organization will enjoy enhanced company performance while increasing team morale and commitment.
Followers look to their leaders for helpful feedback so they can move toward achieving their potential. And as people are closer to achieving their potential, their organization benefits in greater sales, higher profits and a host of other positive outcomes.
Take care to not give your followers an acid bath—that’s what Maurer (1994) calls harsh feedback. Consider that the word feedback takes its root in the word “feed.” Feeding allows us to grow, and if we enjoy healthy food, our bodies are nourished. Consider healthy feedback as a tool for positive change, increased self-awareness, and (when delivered appropriately) allows us to grow and be nourished.
Leaders are made in two ways: assigned and emergent. A job as a director, manager, CEO, or other administrator is what makes one an assigned leader. More significant, though, is the emergent leader—a person who acquires leadership because others support and accept the individual’s behavior (Northouse, 2007). The latter happens through positive communication. As a person who nourishes others through healthy feedback, you become an emergent leader.
Consider that you are a leader in any situation in which you have influence with others. Your efficacy as a leader will be reflective of how you exert your influence, whether through negative criticisms or healthy feedback.
Harvard Business School Press (2006). Giving feedback: Expert solutions to everyday challenges. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Maurer, R. (1994). Feedback toolkit: Sixteen tools for better communication in the workplace. Portland, OR: Productivity Press.
Northouse, P. (2007). Leadership theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.