Managers make the difference in every organization. They inform the culture, drive employee engagement, and influence employee well-being, sense of belonging and inclusion, performance and retention. According to Gallop, the manager plays a crucial, singular role in the life of an employee – and in the culture of your organization.
Managers are the key. Yet little time is spent on developing great leadership qualities, well honestly, not even good or fair qualities. Instead, managers try to do what they believe is correct and what they see other managers do, who are unfortunately also struggling to do what is correct.
Becoming a manager, is one of those “Powerful Moments” discussed in The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact (Dan and Chip Heath). Such a moment should be a special and memorable one that accelerates the new manager on the path of a great leader. There are many ways to craft this, which we are happy to discuss.
Here is what we’ve learned through our years of researching and cultivating essential leadership qualities. First remember that it is a practice. Not many perfect the qualities and it’s not about perfection. It’s about practicing. Falling down. Getting up. Acknowledging mistakes. Practicing. Here’s the baker’s dozen that we’re all practicing – and just like the baker, there is both a recipe and an art involved:
- Pausing and reflecting to better understand our emotions and triggers.
- Practicing humility to listen in order to understand and being open to other thoughts, ideas, and solutions. Great leaders don’t have all the answers.
- Developing the patience to place the needs of others first and to realize that others have the best intentions.
- Communicating honestly and openly.
- Fostering trust, respect, compassion, and empathy.
- Being open to their own vulnerability, NOT hiding but admitting mistakes and learning as well as helping others to learn.
- Bringing out the best in others.
- Acknowledging and recognizing excellence – including small accomplishments.
- Cultivating a sense of belonging and a positive social community.
- Creating a comfortable and psychologically safe environment where diverse ideas are not just welcomed but needed. And where employees can speak up – and disagree – without fear – airing such difficult conversations is part of a strong team as long as respect is the foundation. Great teams and leaders aren’t afraid to disagree!
- Letting others know that their contributions matter.
- Getting to know employees on a personal level.
Leaders make the difference in fostering a safe and healthy environment – and it’s much simpler than most think! Let us know if you would like to discuss and consider the possibilities.