“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whether you know it or not, the people around you are waiting.
Waiting for you to say some things.
They may not actually know that they need something, they may not know how to ask for it, but most teams are hoping their leaders are going to say these things to them:
(…and if you aren’t formally leading a team, these same things apply to co-workers, bosses, spouses, partners, children, friends…)
How can I help you?
Teams want to know you care about them, and their success. Find out what will help them do their best through some simple open ended questions: What do you need from me? How can we work together most effectively? Asking these types of questions builds a relationship with staff individually and collectively, and strengthens your ability to work together well.
Taken from the improv world, this skill is a tool for finding alignment. We’re all been trained from a young age to look for what doesn’t work (“Yes, but…”). However, in the long run this has the effect of narrowing down our world to only our ideas and ways of doing things.
Teams need to know you value and respect their ideas. By you taking the time to acknowledge the value and richness of their contributions first, before adding in your own ideas, you can open up new possibilities, perspectives and creative solutions.
Yes, your grandma was right – it’s always a good idea to say thank you.
Teams need to know when their work has had a positive impact. Often leaders spend more time giving feedback on what didn’t work than what did. Focus your feedback on the specific things individuals or the team did well, and what the impact was. By telling them specifically what they did that worked, you’ll actually be giving them important information about the behaviors you want to see more of – and you’ll be more likely to get them.
Sometimes what a team needs to hear you say is: nothing. Instead of being first out of the gate with your own ideas, try listening first. Listening, along with curiosity, and using open ended questions, are critical tools for an effective team leader.
In the comments below, I want to hear from you! Tell me:
- Which one of the above does your team need to hear most from you this week, and why?
- What’s one thing you’ll try TODAY?
I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got to share!
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Photo credit: Pixabay