If you are going to lead – truly lead a team – there is one thing your people must believe and say about you; “my leader gets me”. This phrase is shorthand for:

    You know what motivates them to show up each day.

    You seek to understand and affirm their feelings and perspectives.

    You take their needs into account.

It sounds obvious. However, we don’t always heed this lesson. It gets overshadowed by our efforts to achieve results and convince others of the merits of our thinking. Too often we are either uninterested in what others think or distracted by our own priorities.

Once your employees believe that you “get” them, they become much more receptive to critical feedback. They shift from a place of defensiveness and fear to welcoming feedback as a sign of your investment in their growth and success.

Let’s be clear. I’m not talking about technique. People know when they are being “techniqued”. The leadership I’m writing about in this blog requires an authentic desire to get to know the people with whom you work. Here are some ways to do that:

    1. Avoid questions that are personally intrusive. Make sure your inquiries connect to the work of your team and organization.
    2. Utilize the art of story mining. When you can learn to evoke people’s stories you get to know who they truly are.
    3. Provide appreciative feedback by sharing others’ contributions and the positive impact they have on you and your organization’s mission.

    4. Ask for input with a sincere intention to utilize what you hear if it makes sense.
      Engage employees in conversations about their own learning and growth.

So… DO you really get them? Ask yourself, “What can I do today to more effectively hear, see, understand my people?” And, please share your thoughts on the subject in the comments below…

Image Credit: Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

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