Everybody is valuable, no matter what role they play.
Everybody has a story. Everybody has their own personal context, hurts, frustrations, feelings, and expectations. It’s our job as leaders not to take on their burdens as our own, but the show that we care about their struggle. Even in the face of our own feelings and frustrations, it is important that they never feel like we don’t care about anything but our own well-being.
We are more than just managers over resources, directors over widgets and gadgets. This is not simple business, where if you don’t perform well, you’re fired. Relational leadership-true leadership- has got to be more than that. If the only interaction your team gets with you is an email and there is never face time, start with that as the culprit of many problems.
So then in an organization where we are always up to our necks in busywork, how do we as leaders let everyone know that they are valuable?
Here is the first step:
The simple touch can be the most profound. A brief interaction can speak more than the longest conversation.
Simply asking things like: how was their day? How they are feeling? How are their families doing? How is their job? And taking the time to listen to their answer. Really taking time to show genuine interest. Not checking your watch or fidgeting with your phone.
It’s not just that simple, however. The next step is often the most overlooked, yet most impactful.
This is not a simple “hi how are you, I’m good, thanks bye.” kind of interaction. You know the kind where you are really just saying “hi” but don’t really want to know how they’re doing?
This is letting someone know that they matter to you. Even if they share too much (which is often the case in my world. Haha). Hear them out. Make eye contact. And remember what they say. Find common ground where the two of you connect. It can be as simple as shared interests in TV shows, music, sports, etc. Don’t go into it expecting to know the deepest most vulnerable parts of their heart by the end of the interaction. Just begin by showing that regardless of how they perfoem, you care.
People, especially in a team environment, are not just resources to complete a task. The day that we stop looking at our people as widgets and gadgets and start seeing them as stories and feelings is the day that we start leading. The moment we see our people not as means to complete a task, rather people we are on a journey with– traveling to a common destination– is the moment we become leaders in the mold of Jesus.
If you missed the first entry, here it is.
Next time: Everyone has a sweet spot role in the team, and it may not be what they think it is. What do you do with that?