The View From The Top Can Be Lonely!

The View From The Top
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    I used to think being a leader was about how high you were on the career ladder.  It is that title, your span of control, or how many teams you led. It looked and seems to be rather lonely at the top, but as my career progressed, I realized it did not have to be and let me tell you why.

    As progressed in my journey I realized there were two types of leaders: there are leaders who are leaders by of their titles,  and true leaders (titled or not) who are leaders of people because they are fully committed to the growth progression of their team, deeply care about their personal and career goals and have the vision to help them get there.

    KETCHUP DOES NOT BELONG ON A HOT DOG…

    The best leaders know the key to a team’s success, that secret sauce, is trust!  Like that perfect combination of toppings in a Chicago dog, leaders who are most successful have that combination of trust and commitment to the development of their teams.

    In a Training Industry Magazine article entitled What People Want in a Leader – How do you measure up?

    “…over 44% of our survey respondents indicated that there are additional aspects of interpersonal relationships that enable leaders to build rapport and create emotional connections with others.”

    So, what does that have to do with you? Being able to build an emotional connection is key to building trust within your team.  Here is a quick test to know if you have a trust issue. Is your team or a person on your team:

    1. Lacking psychological safety to share their ideas with you or others freely?

    2. Not interested in brainstorming ideas with you?

    3. Consistently argumentative?

    4. Non-verbal when discussing career goals?

    I believe there are eight practices you can put into play as a leader that will be the key to building and keeping the trust of your team (and driving productivity):

    1. Be interested, not just interesting. Focus on your team members when you meet.  Virtual meetings right now can be engaging if you have eye contact and do not give in to distractions (i.e. email, texts, etc.)

    2. Look for the intention behind the behavior or words. Listen carefully to understand verbal and nonverbal language.  Understand what makes them tick and how they seem themselves.

    3. Have a plan for the individual.  Where do you see that person in the organization, what are they doing and does it align to their personal and professional aspirations? 

    4. Tell A Story. Share your vision with your team members.  Tell them how they are successful and why they would be great doing X.

    5. Weave a tapestry. Create a development plan for your team that has that vision in mind. Engaging in a long term goal will help both of you feel more connected to reaching those goals. Include stretch assignments to enable them to safely learn new skills and take on broader or larger projects.

    6. Let your brand be that you create great talent. Encourage them to move across and/or out of the organization. 

    7. Be generous. Introduce them to others who can help them think differently.  Networks are essential these days. Connecting with people who have similar interests and goals will help your team members be energized and innovative.

    8. Be human. This one is self-explanatory. 

    It is a well-known fact that people leave bad managers. You selected your team for a reason, invest in their development and everyone succeeds.

    What are some of your strategies for building trust? We would love to hear from you. As we say around here, together we learn. 

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