Leading others essentially requires attending to two questions:
What are each individual’s and your team’s relationship needs?
What are each individual’s and your team’s needs for direction?
To understand relationship needs you must find out what everyone needs
- to feel connected,
- to see themselves as a valued part of a greater whole,
- to feel seen, heard, and respected.
When people don´t feel that they and their work matter to their leader and peers, they disengage. Today, the majority of employees do only as instructed, and almost a fifth of the workforce have inwardly quit.
What a waste of potential and productivity.
All it takes to build trusted relationships is to ask sincerely: “How are you doing?” and to listen with curiosity. Perhaps you don´t have the relationships yet that would have your team members honestly answer you. In that case you need to build trust. As a starting point, share something you are grappling with. For instance, how you cope with the uncertain times we find ourselves in. By doing that you normalise that everyone struggles with something.
To provide direction you have to share a clear vision and goals and then align your team around it.
When people don´t know why they are asked to do what they are asked do, they disengage from the task and often become cynical. People need to know the bigger picture that is the context for the alignment you seek.
If you don´t have a clear vision, work on it. Get help if you need to.
As a leader it is your role to give direction.
But don´t forget: You can always engage your team in sharpening the vision. You can invite them to contribute what they regard as vital to achieving the broader vision.
Now that we have left the era of “Command and Control”, leaders no longer have to come up with all the answers on their own.
Your team wants to contribute.
All it takes to tap into their creativity is the courage to share a challenge your company is facing and to invite them to co-create a compelling path towards a purposeful thriving future with you.
Here´s the bottom line: Leaders create connection and direction.