Are you an unnatural leader?
In the previous blog we talked about recognizing the face of an unnatural leader. We may all have a certain vision of what they look like, but if you look in the mirror, you will see one there as well.
We ALL have the ability to become unnatural leaders. The key is tapping into that ability.
They are people who don’t consider themselves automatically ‘authorized’ to step up and take the role of leader when the need arises. However, more of your team can be leading more of the time.
So, how do you help people bring out more of their natural leadership abilities?
Here’s a popular quote in leadership that you might find familiar.
“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission”.
This basically means, if you want to get things done, it’s likely that you will make some mistakes along the way, and perhaps tread on the some toes in the process!
“It’s Business, Nothing Personal.”
We’ve all heard this phrase before, but unfortunately many employees DO take it personally, especially when their boss or manager chastises them for not completing a project in a timely manner, or if it’s done incorrectly.
“He’s so rude!”
“She didn’t have to talk to me like that!”
“How did he ever become a manager?”
Are they talking about you and you don’t even know it? Of course not. All your employees love you, but we all know someone who fits these descriptions.
In many cases, the manager wasn’t mad, they just wanted to get things done. Not only that, they are probably so busy and focused, they’ve moved on to the next task, totally oblivious to the feelings of the employee. Mind you, they have moved on, but the employee has not.
Natural leaders are very good at getting outcomes, but they don’t always remember to ask for forgiveness. Natural leaders have a job to do, and their #1 priority is to get it done. (There is a business to run, after all.)
As a result, natural leaders can have a tendency to suppress leadership potential within the organisation by accidentally passing opinions, insights and even feelings in the pursuit of a fast outcome, leaving ‘unnatural leaders’ feeling unappreciated.
Sure, we all need to make executive decisions from time to time, but we must still be conscious of the results of those decisions. Sure the job was completed, but at what cost? We don’t want to alienate our employees, or make them feel like they aren’t an important part of the company.
According to a recent study referenced Forbes magazine:
- 48% of employees worldwide don’t like their jobs
- 80% of U.S. workers feel stressed at the office, and
- only 30% feel engaged and inspired by their careers1
Becoming an Unnatural Leader
This is where being an unnatural leader comes into play. Many times, employees won’t tell their managers how they really feel-that is, until after they have submitted their resignation. By then it’s too late. That employee has probably been unhappy for quite some time and has decided to move on without looking back. The key to being an unnatural yet successful leader is to be observant, aware of how employees are feeling, and knowing how to diffuse situations before they reach the point of no return.
One way is to keep a clear line of open and honest communication:
According to Business News Daily, communication with employees also helps to alleviate many concerns they may have about their job since it helps workers feel happier and more secure at work. Communication either in person, in an email or with a handwritten note all help to make workers feel better at work.2
So, this step is all about following up afterward and explaining to people why you made the decisions that you did, sometimes at the expense of someone else’s ideas or hard work. This may seem like a waste of precious time and energy to some, but open and honest communication can go a long way to keeping the office running smoothly.
What’s the value of harnessing more of the potential of your unnatural leaders?
It also helps in keeping employees happy, and a happy employee is a productive employee:
- Companies with happy employees outperform the completion by 20%
- Happy employees are 12% more productive
- Happy salespeople produce 37% greater sales
- Employees who report being happy at work take 10% fewer sick days3
Action Step: Apologize to somebody about something today. Make a list to identify anyone that may not be entirely committed to a project or is unsure of what their role is. Then, start having conversations with them. Let them know they are needed and an integral part of the organization.
Employees can be fiercely loyal if they believe the company cares about them. Making an effort to connect with your employees is a simple gesture, but the benefits can be plentiful.
In part three of this series of articles related to “Untapped”, we will explore the second way to harness more of the leadership potential of your unnatural leaders. I’ll be introducing you to the concept of Weeding The Garden. Negativity in the office can grow like a weed in a garden if you’re not careful. It is your responsibility to “nip it in the bud” before it spreads.
Explore Additional Resources:
In this blog post we mentioned the following resources:
1. Special Report: Untapped by Glenn A. Williams
2. Article: 8 Common Causes of Workplace Demotivation courtesy of Forbes.com
3. Article: Keep Employees Happy courtesy of Business News Daily
4. Article: Employee Happiness courtesy of Snack Nation
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