Embracing Key Leadership Qualities
When Rich Thompson was a young manager, he had a new branch where he thought he should get to know the people there. So he sent over a list of questions for them all to complete …what’s your favorite color, what are your hobbies, where are you from originally… It’s an uncomfortable memory for him.
It represents the good intentions of many managers trying to be in tune with their coworkers and employees, but it is actually a failure of truly connecting. The information itself wasn’t bad to collect, but it was all presented as a blanket list of superficial questions that demonstrated lack of authenticity and personal attention. And most importantly, it provided little value to anyone.
As we move forward in uncertain times, the role of leader plays a more significant role than in the past. The path doesn’t seem as clear and it forces reliance on those who we hope know the way more clearly. The qualities of leaders become more important and put extra emphasis on communications so that both our leadership styles and the way we deliver our messages are effective.
ESPECIALLY IN TODAY’S DOWNTURN, LEADERSHIP NEEDS TO BE:
We often say that a consistently bad manager is easier to follow than a good one who is erratic. That’s because employees learn what to expect and how they must adjust. Inconsistency forces people to worry about what’s coming next. In a time where things are in flux, let your management style be something your employees can count on. Increase your frequency of communications because people are thirsty for information. Be reliable in updating progress and reinforce your vision and goals. Repetition of the same information not only provides comfort, but it helps people believe in your message. Plus, it reminds everyone that you have a plan in place to get to the other side.
Confident and Deliberate
We all want to head in the right direction. As a leader, let your employees know you have made good decisions based on the information at hand and that they can confidently follow you. Be deliberate in the moves you make and do not be afraid to be bold when needed. Bold moves with supporting information reflect strong leadership by demonstrating decisiveness.
Changes within an organization are not unexpected during these tumultuous times – but people want to know there is a plan. Communicate your faith in the direction you are leading. And keep in mind, confidence is contagious.
Above all else, as a leader, be genuine, honest and authentic in your communications, even when it requires courage to do so. It is not easy to have to tell people bad news, but it lets employees know they can count on you to be honest with them. Disingenuous people are rarely liked in the long-run because people eventually see through fakes at all levels. The desired qualities of today’s leaders are not all that different from those of yesterday, but there is a greater need for some of those qualities to be amplified. When you are assessing your own leadership skills, be louder in the above areas because they create trust. We all need something extra to believe in right now. If you can be that additional boost to your team’s overall psyche, accept the challenge and provide that value. Lead. That demonstration of “rising above” during difficult times will translate into more loyal followers in the recovery and beyond.