Do you want to become a better leader? Below are five steps to improve your leadership skills
1) Change your perspective and biases
I’m biased. I admit it. I don’t necessarily like it and I work on it daily. Being conscious of this helped me personally and professionally. Admitting this to myself was difficult because I, like you, tend to think that I’m not biased. From judging a person because of weight, education, the way they look or how they speak, internally I held many biases. I felt awful and needed to change
I’ve worked on self-discovery. I looked inward. I made adjustments. I began to listen more, I learned more about those I worked with and I became a better version of me. I recognized, I reacted and my teams noticed. I’m grateful that I took the time. It was difficult. It was painful because I realized that I should be better earlier. It was totally worth it! Do you need to shed some bias? Are you willing to put in the work? It’s worth the time!
2) Listen like you’re getting a check for a million dollars
Today’s employees need you to listen to them. They expect you to listen and have a lot to say. Listen closely. This is a terrific way to develop and continue growing relationships, retain important staff and increase productivity. Plus, it lets the person you’re speaking with know that you actually give a crap! The focus is on them. That million-dollar check can change your life. Listening will do the same, because it forces you to focus on a conversation, ask better questions and lead with purpose and clarity.
3) Tell a story
As a professional speaker, my stories are well thought out, have a beginning, middle and an end plus are germane to the topic at hand. That’s my job. In corporate I worked in sales and management and I did something similar. I made myself relatable to clients and staff and often used a story to illustrate a point and drive it home. The better I knew my stories the more they landed.
Do you have good stories? Personal, professional, funny, self-deprecating, failure, success and other stories are all relatable. Plus, since mankind could communicate until today, stories were and are a most powerful form of leading and communicating. What are your “go to” stories? Do you need to refresh them?
Amy was an administrative assistant. She was good. She was cocky. She was sharp. She held her job at the large Berkshire Hathaway company I worked at for many years. We got to talking.
Turns out, she was tired of her job, needed a change and we were in jeopardy of losing important talent. What began as a casual conversation morphed into an idea. “There’s an opening in Chicago on my sales team. You should work in sales. You’re confident, a great talker and dedicated to whatever you do.”
I learned this because we had lunch and I listened. Amy didn’t think she was sales material. I thought she was and learned that she was intimidated and a bit frightened. I assured her that her fears were real and appropriate. I also assured her that she’d have my support.
Amy turned out to be a good sales person. Not the best, but skilled and focused, dedicated and tenacious and fun to work with. What more could I ask for!
I listened, took a chance on someone who was not considered to be a sales person, trained her and it thankfully worked. And, I told you a true story to illustrate my point! Bottom line-to lead well it’s important to look outside your regular purview and widen your scope.
5) Be Kind…Don’t be a jerk
No one likes an ass. We all desire to be treated with respect, honesty and as an adult; an equal.
I’ve/we’ve see leaders fail to get team and upper management respect which leads to less support. This can occur because they’re a jerk. Or, their attitude is less than sincere. Perhaps they don’t listen well to others. We know the type.
Who wants to work with/for that person? Who goes home feeling deflated? Who looks for work elsewhere? Me, you, all of us. We’ve been there and it hurts.
Kindness shows that you care. You treat staff with kindness. Do you need to consider changing to an upgrade version of a nicer you? Does your manager? There’s a lot at stake. Retention, workplace happiness, productivity and even the bottom line!
To learn more or to set up time to chat with Scott visit http://www.scottlesnick.com/