💙 Develop Your Leadership

Life is hard for me at home right now.

It sucks for me to admit it, the truth is i’m having a really hard time performing with all my personal issues.

develop your leadership

During my journey of developing myself as a leader I have worked on many skills. In my opinion and experience, the two most important skills to master as a leader and in life are your listening and questioning skills.

Listening at a deeper level than the words that someone says is key to being an effective listener and key to overall performance. I’ve learned to listen for people’s goals, needs, desires, commitments, fears, hurts, and pains. From my listening I am then able to ask thought-provoking questions.

Leader vs. Psychologist:

I don’t want to deal with my peoples’ personal issues.

Leaders come to me with this complaint all the time. They’re tired of their people bringing their personal and at-home issues into the office and having it affect their performance. “I’m having marital issues,”; “I have troubled teenagers,”; “My aging parents are demanding.” It’s a fact of life; we all have something we are struggling with. The leaders I coach don’t want to deal with them, and maybe you feel the same way.

But here’s the million-dollar question: if dealing with personal issues will have you make the difference you want to make with your people AND get you the business results you want, wouldn’t you want to address them?

We live in a performance-driven world. It can be all about the numbers, the market share, the stock price, or the earnings per share. We become so “numbers-focused” that we forget about the people—and I believe it is a big mistake if we do. Why? Because leaders lead people, not numbers, not prices and not EPS, and let’s face it, people are…messy. Families argue, children have trouble at school, and divorces happen. That’s life, and sometimes the big stuff at home bleeds into the workplace. Good leaders recognize that sometimes you have to get personal—to listen deeply, to ask thought-provoking questions so you can understand what each of your team members are going through so you can support them.

A lot of us don’t want to get personal. “I’m not a psychologist!” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard this statement. And I agree, you’re not there to solve a personal problem, but you do have a role in getting your people to manage through the issue to higher performance. So, how do you give them the opportunity to perform past their issues?

See your team as people with lives…and issues.

Sometimes you have to get personal as a leader in order to understand, feel, and help open their eyes.

You have to entertain the simple discussion of, “What is the impact?” “How does that affect you?” “How do you really feel about that?” “What’s going on for you?” I’m not talking about the intimate details of their relationship with their partner—I’m talking about getting to the person and talking to the person in their situation, rather than talking about the facts of the story.

The goal is for the person to come to a realization. They need to realize that life and its mess aren’t excuses, it’s a fact, and they’re going to have to work through issues, helping them do so is a contribution to their growth.

At the end of the day, the real issue is typically behavior. It is about a way of thinking or a reaction to a situation—and not the situation itself. If you can recognize the issue, then you can coach beyond it, which is different from trying to solve it.

A better leader and a better coach equals a better person, and better performance.

We’re spending more time at work than at home, so why not use every minute at work to have a profound effect on someone’s life to make them a better person? You can affect their very being. So how do you allow someone to realize the impact of how their “being”—their behavior, attitude, energy, and body posture—on their performance? Simple. Awareness.

Most people don’t understand that how they are being has an impact on those around them, nor do they understand how they’re perceived by others when they are just trying to drive results. If you can allow them the space to learn something about themselves, and to push beyond their fears and issues, just by showing a little compassion and caring, isn’t it worth it? What if they become more loyal? What if a better relationship with you deepens their motivation and commitment? What if your coaching improves their life—business and personal? Your actions could have more impact on the result than any number-based plan you put in place.

How do you as a leader do this?

The core of all of this will be your listening and questioning skills.

People first, business second.
— Sophie Boyko.
 
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Take a peek inside and discover lots of free training tailored just for you. In Chapter Three of this series, we learned that sometimes the best you can do, can be the hardest.

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