Would you say, as a leader, you’re connected with your team? The fact is, it’s not for you to say, but to observe how they respond to you….and know that there’s always room for improvement.
Most leaders like to think they’re in touch with their teams and are able to draw out the best from them. But, with the emergence of hybrid working following the pandemic, it’s likely you’re finding it harder than ever to engage with your people and feel connected to them.
And we all know the benefits to work productivity and efficiency when our teams feel connected to their leader. So, it is worth thinking about how connected you really are, and what you can do to make adjustments to improve this if needed? So, how can you bridge any gaps creeping in between you and your team?
Step one: Identify where there is disconnect
Did you know leaders tend to over-estimate their performance, and underestimate discontent felt by their people? Senior leaders are most guilty of this, followed by managers: the further away from the people “at the coal face” the more skewed a leader’s view.
It takes skill to be able to step back from your own viewpoint, and step into the shoes of those in your team. What are they really feeling? Are they as productive as they could be? Are they fully invested in what you’re doing within the company? Is everyone in your team on the same page?
It’s not easy to be able to do this, as it often calls into question our own role in how the team is performing. This is when working with someone like a coach to provide an objective view can help you focus, and really identify those key gaps which need to be plugged – and how to plug them!
Step two: Work on your self-awareness
Did you know a third of employees felt disconnected from their leaders? Having a healthy sense of self-awareness can help you understand what you’re really like to work for. But, it can be quite disconcerting to be this honest with yourself, especially if you’re not used to doing so.
The end or beginning of the year is actually ideal for reflecting on the kind of leader you are, as it empowers you to make the most of the fresh start a New Year brings. Regardless of the size of your company, a healthy level of self-awareness is the difference between being a connected leader, and one who is disconnected, unaware, or even arrogantly dismissive of your people.
Working with someone outside your organisation, often gives you a safe space to explore these issues. I often work with leaders to help them develop a true awareness of what they’re like to work with, and the strategies they can implement for improving relationships with their people.
Step three: Increase communication
Did you know the message your team hears won’t always correlate with what you’re saying? Psychologically speaking, there are factors which can impact on how someone receives a message, causing them to end up on a different page completely.
As a connected leader, your ability to effectively communicate with your team is as much about mindfully listening to them, as it is about relaying your message. But, if you’re not used to doing this, or your skills have been impaired by hybrid-working, then it’s never too late to renew this skill and make it a central component of your company culture going forward.
As a life and career coach, I work with leaders to help them develop their ability to listen mindfully to what their people are saying, as well as what they might be withholding. We’ll practice techniques you can bring into your team, and watch communication thrive.
I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve worked with many different types of leaders over the years, from those who don’t recognise the leader in themselves and need the confidence to draw it out to its fullest potential; to those who need to take a step back and see the reality of the impact they have on others, when they are leading through stress and pressure. No leader is the same just as no individual is the same, but the techniques that create a really self-aware and connected leader can apply and work for anyone.
Contact me to start your journey: firstname.lastname@example.org | 0777 8749812