Have you given any thought to whether your leadership will matter today? Saturday, I sat on the 50 yard line and watched my nephew play football for his college team.
In addition, to enjoying a good game and feeling very proud of my nephew, I found watching the coaching staff as interesting as the game. In sports, the coaches lead like it matters, because their leadership literally determines the outcome of the day – win or lose.
At work, I think we often forget to lead like it matters this particular day. We wander from event to event, person to person, appointment to appointment, meeting to meeting, with little focus on the importance of our job as the leader. Yet, just like the football coaching staff, we are supposed to help the team put their best game on the field this very day. Here are a few thoughts that came to mind on how we could lead like it matters this particular day:
- Check Your Attitude – Your team will notice your attitude the moment they see you. It determines the tone for the team. Are you serious and intense? Are you warm and approachable? Are you energized and enthusiastic? Decide what attitude is needed for the day ahead. Consciously set the right tone for your team today.
- Connect With People – Great leaders connect well with their people. They establish eye contact. They look and listen carefully for cues about the person. They speak warmly and genuinely to the person. This connection leads to an engaged exchange that can have materially impact on the outcomes, the ability to reach the goals. Take time to genuinely connect with your team today.
- Express Gratefulness – People are starved for simple words of appreciation. Leaders are too busy to simply say “thank you.” Without appreciation, people get discouraged and tired. They stop giving you their best. A leader who hopes to achieve great results values the contributions of the people. Take time to thank the people giving you their best today.
- Make Positive Deposits In The EmotiBnal Aank Account – One of my favorite concepts from Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is the emotional bank account. He says that relationships are like bank accounts. We make deposits to build the relationship. When we wrong the relationships, we reduce the bank account. A full emotional bank account is when we do our best work. Positive deposits include keeping our commitments, considering the person’s input, paying attention to their needs, and apologizing when we are wrong. Withdrawals include dismissing the person’s input, saying unkind or angry words, or not living up to our promises. Make positive deposits in your team’s emotional bank account today.
- Focus On The Long Term – At work, there are pressures to make swift, efficient, decisions, with the minimal attention to the people involved. As such, we have quick, to the point conversations. We conduct fast meetings. We rush coaching conversations. This urgency and efficiency is short-sighted when it comes to people. An hour spent coaching a person seems like a long time. But, consider the value it creates when done well. The person feels valued, they gain new skills, they grow in confidence, and they go back to the goals motivated to perform. Invest in your team today, in a way that make sure they are better people and performers tomorrow.
- Inspire People – As leaders, we are responsible for keeping team motivated. Yet, we too slump and fall into uninspired thinking. Today becomes just another futile day. If we do not remind people of the important purpose of the work, they will become trapped in the here and now, the mundane, the uninspired. We need them to be inspired – excited about the possibilities and the future. What can you do today to remind the people of the importance of the work and the goals? What can you do to help the people believe they can make a real difference? Inspire your team today.
Approach your leadership today like it really matters. To the people you lead, it really does.