One of the great things for me about my own version of lockdown is the webinars I have been able to take part in – they are inspiring and feed my brain with new ways of thinking and remind me of stuff I already use, in this new strange world. They top up my energy.
So yesterday I listened to part of a session on Leadership given by Frances Frei, a professor at Harvard Business School, (until the connection cut out!) – and she had a fantastic positive energy. She talked about how good leaders work with their people so that the team can be great whether the leader is there or not. A leader’s key aim is to set others up for success on the basis that people thrive in the presence of high standards and deep devotion to their success from their leader.
This is easier said than done as human nature works against it .. as leaders we tend to believe that our people need us there in order to be good .. that inability to let go of control sends a message of us not trusting those that work for us.. So.. what are the components that make up trust and enable us to be this leader who sets high standards and shows deep devotion to our people?
This is the model of Leadership she shared showing 3 elements of Trust (she and Anne Morriss are about to publish this in their new book).
So we need to demonstrate authenticity, logic and empathy for trust to be there. It is a simple looking model, so easy to remember and to use to analyse what is going on with any leader. ( Try it on the boss you are working for at the moment or look at some of the world’s leaders and try it on them). We can see where leaders are good and where they could adjust and improve. Applying the model to ourselves takes a lot of courage and self-awareness, of course!
Talking to one of my coachees about this, they said ‘what about my boss who never demonstrates any empathy?’ . Well.. that boss will be hard to change maybe, but you can, yourself, be the leader your people need and buffer your team from the negative impact of that person. Focus on what you can do as a leader even if you are an unofficial one. Pay particular attention to empathy which is very important during this lockdown and great uncertainty (I will write more about empathy in a future blog).
Work out how you can set your people up to be successful. Many of us are thinking about how our families, especially our kids, are being affected by this lockdown and new environment. For others it is the members of their friendship groups or extended family. How can we help others be successful (in this case ride the storm of the COVID19 world)? For children, Professor Frei says focus on ‘preparing the child for the path’ (not the path for the child) – because we don’t know what the future will hold – so build resilience in your child to be able to deal with new situations, ambiguity and uncertainty. Ask them questions, enable them to talk about their feelings and work out what they need to feel good. Enable them to become problem solvers. The same goes for other family members. Give out plenty of positive encouragement, ask questions and listen with full attention.
When people are struggling, try and tune into whether it is an emotional or a logical block. If it is an emotional block don’t try and reason with them. If it is a logical block don’t be emotional with them. Match them. Give everyone working for you fair access to support and great encouragement. Do the same in your family or friends group.
Here I give a little reminder that we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves before we can do this for others – are we rested, calm, truly open to listening to another… ? So.. have we done the exercise we need, eaten healthily, expressed the feelings we are having? … (look back at my previous blogs for more about looking after yourself!)
I shall write some more about what Frances Frei and her colleague say about leadership because she talked about releasing the potential of diverse teams as an integral part of the above – so its doing the above being truly inclusive.. really opening up and using the differences in your team to get great performance.
Stay safe and well and more soon.
(Ref: Unleashed: the unapologetic guide to empowering everyone around you by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss comes out in June this year.)