No matter who you are, people can come at you daily with their egos blasting.
Some egos come from false pride—where they think more of themselves than they should and want more credit for things. Others come from self-doubt and fear—where they think less of themselves than they should and are protecting themselves.
How do you deal with these people?
Try to keep focused on leading with a servant’s heart. It can be part of your daily habits, such as how you enter your day by reminding yourself of the difference you can make in the world. It’s a matter of making a habit of practicing a helpful attitude when you are interacting with people.
The question you want to keep top of mind is, “How can I help?”
For instance, if someone comes to you and says, “I’m sick and tired that nobody seems to notice my contributions around here,” you could say to that person, “What I am hearing from you is that you don’t think your work is appreciated. I think you are doing a wonderful job on …” and then be very specific as to what that person is doing right. After that, ask, “What can I do to help you get over this feeling of not being important enough? How can I help you through this?”
Or, if someone says, “I can’t believe it, I just got another project dumped on me and I don’t have time in my day to work on it,” let that person know you understand by saying something such as, “Wow, I can hear that you’re really overwhelmed right now. Is there a way I can help you with this? Is there anyone I can talk to that might be able to partner with you?”
A phrase I like is lead with your ears.
Really listen to the person you are interacting with and see if you can respond in a caring and heartfelt way. When you ask the question “How can I help?” you’ll be amazed at how quickly it can diffuse the frustration another person is feeling. It can make an immediate difference to upset or fearful people just to know their concerns are being heard.
By leading with your servant’s heart, you will set an example others can use to get away from their egos, move forward, and make a positive difference in someone else’s day.
About today’s guest contributor: LeadBIG welcomes back Ken Blanchard! Ken, one of the most influential leadership experts in the world, is coauthor of the iconic best seller The New One Minute Manager® and more than sixty other books with combined sales of more than twenty-one million copies in forty-two languages. His newest book, Servant Leadership in Action, is collaborative piece with other leadership influencers and shares lessons to help achieve great relationships and results.
In November 1980 my wife, Margie, and I met Spencer Johnson at a cocktail party.
At that time, Spencer was a successful writer of children’s books while I was just starting out in the world of business. After meeting Spencer, Margie said to us, “You two should write a children’s book for managers. They won’t read anything else.”
With that, The One Minute Manager was born.(more…)
The BIG team is tickled and honored to have Ken Blanchard as our guest author today! Ken co-authored Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life andis cofounder and chief spiritual officer of the Ken Blanchard Companies. He is the author or coauthor of 50 books that have sold more than 20 million copies, including the iconic One Minute Manager®.
Today, I’m going to give a short, one-question quiz. Here’s the question: How do you rate as a leader?
I don’t ask this question flippantly. It is a question I’ve asked countless people at the leadership seminars we conduct.
As leaders, most people rank themselves as being very close to a minor deity or at least Mr. or Ms. Human Relations. Seldom do leaders give themselves low marks. Strangely enough, when the tables are turned and people are asked to rank their boss’s leadership style, we often find many supervisors graded as being adequate, merely OK, or at worst, office autocrats who depend heavily on the often-referenced “seagull management” technique as their sole line of attack — they leave their people alone until something goes wrong, and then they fly in, make a lot of noise, dump all over everyone, and fly out.
More often than not, we find that leaders lull themselves into thinking they are top-flight leaders because they think they use a supportive or coaching style, which someone told them are “good” leadership styles. Not too surprisingly, this isn’t the way they are seen by those in their department, office or store.
What Your Employees Have to Say
To get a true and accurate answer about the question above, it is necessary for you as a supervisor to honestly determine how your employees perceive your leadership style. These are the folks who know you best. They have first-hand experience with your leadership style and operate on their own perceptions about it. They are the best judges of your managerial effectiveness.
However, getting an employee or subordinate to give his or her honest feedback on your leadership style is difficult. People fear being the messenger who will get shot for bearing bad news. Hence, they are naturally reluctant to be totally candid.
Employees are sharp observers.
In the past, they may have gone to their leader and made an honest suggestion such as, “Ken, I think our Thursday afternoon meetings are a waste of time.” If the supervisor answers with an outburst by saying, “What do you mean a waste of time? Are you kidding? Those meetings are important,” it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that one thing the leader doesn’t want to hear is the truth.
It is important to remember that when people you supervise tell you what they honestly think about your style of leadership, they’re really giving you a gift. When someone gives you a gift, what is the first thing you should say? “Thank you,” of course! Then it’s a very good idea to follow up by saying, “Is there anything else you think I should know?”
When a person learns that you won’t become defensive or hostile when he or she gives you an honest evaluation about your style, you’ll find that you’ll be given many nuggets of truth which are extremely valuable.
My advice would be to encourage people to give (feedback) at the office, and to give often!
Just remember, what you think about your own leadership style really doesn’t matter. In addition, there is no one correct style, nor is there a “good” or a “bad” style. Rather, style is judged by those immediately influenced by it.
It’s your people’s response to your style that matters. If you are getting the right response consistently — high productivity and morale — then you’re doing just fine. If not, then perhaps it’s your style that needs changing, not your employees.