By: Joanna Howes, a performance and leadership coach
Great leadership is about reading the room and adapting strategies to reflect the mood. In this article Joanna Howes explores why it is time to put the team’s needs at the top of the company agenda to ensure mental wellbeing and health is prioritised.
You’re sitting in a meeting with your team and one of them share’s how they are struggling to understand the task they have been given.
What is your first thought?
Is it “they are saying I didn’t brief them well enough, I’m not good enough”
Is it “tell me more, what is the area you need more clarity and understanding in”
The majority of people, whether happy to admit it or not, will go to the first thought. They make it about themselves. We are wired to think about ourselves first. I remember a time when my Nan said to me “I haven’t had a holiday for a while” and straight away I thought “she is saying I need to take her on holiday”. It was actually nothing to do with me.
Take a moment to think about how often you make it about you. One thing I know is you will be more aware since you have read this article and I think the results will surprise you on how frequently this happens.
This level of internal thinking stops leaders becoming great.
Why is it important to stop making it about you?
You begin your leadership with a job title and the promise that this position will mean that people will follow you and do what is asked of them.
This will only go so far and last so long.
Remember when you were the team member and looking at your leader. What drove you mad? What drove you to follow and trust them?
I know I could spot a mile off a leader that was making it all about them and were spoken about as having their own agenda.
The leaders that stand out are the ones who know it’s about the success of their team. They go to what bestselling author and world-renowned leadership expert John Maxwell calls the Level Four leader who realises it’s about connection and growing others.
When you turn your focus on growing others, the team’s performance will accelerate as they are being empowered to activate their full potential.
This is when you will see your leadership transform and your fulfillment rise.
Where do you start
Know your team – individual leadership
As a leader it is your responsibility to know your team, not just their names and skill sets, but to really know what they care about, their learning style, their fears, what excites and motivates them.
By showing a genuine interest in knowing who your team is, you will build trust and respect.
The advanced level of this is to be able to adapt your style of leadership to meet their needs, to know that one team member needs you to give them step by step instructions to be their best and the other needs direct to the point briefing.
When you can become behaviourally flexible and enter the world of your teams, they will feel like you get them, and this will build their confidence and belief in what they can achieve as they have you in their corner.
Learn to understand the voices in your head
When the chatter starts that it’s your fault, or you could have done better, or you just don’t have time to help your team. Learn to thank the voices for showing up as they are there to help and protect you (although it doesn’t seem like it at the time). Thank them, tell them you have got it and the voices will go quiet allowing yourself to focus on your team.
Another way to break the chatter is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I making this about me?
- Is there any evidence that this has anything to do with me?
- Is this a story I’m creating in my head?
- Is it going to help me to keep listening to this?
Learn how to break the pattern and put your focus in the direction of your team.
Get better at listening
When you make it about yourself, it means you are not actively listening.
You are filtering bits of information to provide evidence to your brain that it is about you.
Start to listen to understand and not to create stories for yourself.
When a team member talks with you, stay 100% focused on them, playback to them what you have heard to ensure you are aligned and then be the leader they deserve.
When you can stop making it about you, your team will thank you for it as they will have a leader that will lead them successfully into the future.
About Joanna Howes
Joanna Howes is the founder and CEO of The Change Creators. She is an award-winning international coach, behavioural expert, and No 1 bestselling international author, specialising in leadership and team performance coaching within the creative sector. Joanna’s passion is building future-ready leaders and teams by equipping them with the essential mindset, behaviors and skills they need to lead successfully into the future.