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The Power of Your Leadership: What to do When Things Get Bruised

The Power of You Carry as Their Leader…. unhappy-face-on-employee-pic

It’s amazing to realize the influence you carry as a leader. The way things play out in the workplace is a mirror to your leadership. It’s even more interesting to know the power of your leadership filtrates through the layers of hierarchy so much so that the culture that exists all points back to you.

Early in my career I was working with one particular department of a governmental agency. This department consisted of about 20 front line workers, 12 professional staff, and then the hierarchy of management to leadership. I was brought on board to assist with morale. The tension was unbelievably thick.

It was easy to identify those who would comply and respond to anything demanded of them – to save their job. There were the mavericks who would stand up for what they felt was right. Regardless of which end of the spectrum, members of that particular department were definitely on edge. Although the managers and leaders pointed the finger to the 32 staff members, what they failed to do was look at themselves in the mirror.

The reason I mentioned ‘early in my career’ is because that was twenty-some-odd-years ago. We still see leaders struggling with this today.

Transparency and authenticity go a long way. While it may seem intuitive to place blame on the manager(s) responsible or the employees who are part of the team, pointing fingers isn’t going to help matters. With talent management ranking in at about 76% for top concerns, we can actually nip some of this in the bud and refocus on how to drive growth.

Remember, constructive conversations are an amazingly powerful force.

So what do we do when sales have taken a dip and we can’t get our staff to jump on the bandwagon? We’ve done our homework and we’ve ready to execute. The kicker is that our staff doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.

Got Bruised?

Sounds like somewhere along the way our workplace culture got bruised. What to do… what to do?

  • Humble yourself. Chances are they gave you some signs that they were disconnecting a while ago, so be genuine in your efforts
  • Invite discussion, but control gripe sessions. I mean invite a constructive discussion
  • Avoid interrupting
  • Ask them for their opinion, ideas, or suggestions… (and truly listen)
  • Invite them to be part of the solution
  • Give credit where credit is due. There is no need to try to claim credit. You are their leader – you have the greatest credit of all (no need to remind others)
  • Accept blame for what it is (avoid displacing blame)

Asking the right questions is key to a constructive conversation. Invite questions. It’s key to making sure you are understood. Avoid knee jerk responses. I know, it’s so easy and natural to defend our actions or decisions. However, sometimes it isn’t necessary, especially when someone’s ego has been bruised.

One more tip: avoid the word ‘but’. Anything you’ve said prior to the word ‘but’ in your sentence has been officially negated by the use of that word. Try replacing it with the word ‘and’. Believe me, you will protect the message you are trying to deliver.

Note: we practice such techniques in the Elite Leader’s forum. Click here to learn more.