Three Ways To Be More Approachable As A Leader


Kelley Powell is the author of Courage to Lose Sight of Shore and the Founder and Partner of MacLaurin Group.

Many years ago, one of my most valued employees—we will call her Kenzie—was a room mom at her children’s preschool. The class was having a holiday party, and she arranged to leave work early to attend.

The day of the party, I walked past her office near 5 p.m., and she was sitting at her desk sobbing.

“What are you still doing here?” I asked. She explained that one of our longest-standing, highest-revenue client relationships had an issue arise, and she had stayed to resolve it. “You need to go to the party,” I pleaded. “It’s too late,” she said. “I missed the children making their grand entrance to the pageant in holiday costumes.”

I was absolutely gutted. I thought I was always approachable as a leader, but I was not at this moment. Otherwise, she would have asked for my help.

No matter how approachable you think you are, your employees might think differently. And if you are not approachable, your team will not bring valuable information to your attention. This includes not only issues related to their personal lives but also ideas for the business, potential problems with clients and more.

Here are three ways to become more approachable.

1. Foster self-awareness.

You have a picture in your head of who you are as a leader, but how accurate is that image?

Take an honest look at yourself and focus on what you, in fact, do. What do you talk about most often? What behaviors do you incentivize and reward? How do you handle problems?

ALSO READ:  How To Build Your Entrepreneurial Support Squad

Also, consider how your employees act because that is typically a reflection of your leadership. Do they tell you when they’re struggling? Are they comfortable asking for help when they need it? Do they only tell you what you want to hear?

After my experience with Kenzie, I went back and looked at how I acted as a leader. I realized that I was too often a cheerleader, telling my team, “You can do it!” and encouraging them to do more. With self-awareness, I realized I needed more balance, and I shifted my attitude to, “We can all give extra at certain times, but we cannot give extra all the time.”

2. Clearly communicate your priorities and values.

When I asked Kenzie why she had stayed, she said, “I thought you would want me to.”

That was not what I wanted at all. I would never want my employees to miss important moments in their personal lives. She thought she knew my priorities and values, but she did not. Whose fault was that? Mine.

Your voice is very important as a leader. Your values and priorities cannot just be words on your company website or something you talk about once or twice a year. You have to communicate them again and again and again.

Now, here is the real key: You need to communicate your values and priorities as a collective, not individually. When Kenzie stayed late, I had three big priorities as a leader: make our clients successful, support employees’ well-being and grow profits.

ALSO READ:  Be A Better CEO: Three Lessons From Parenthood

And right there, I had already made a mistake. I made the priorities separate. And my first priority was the client.

We often talked about client success explicitly because it was part of our day-to-day. Yet, all the conversations about employee well-being happened separately. They needed to happen in the same conversation. That way, employees would know that all three were priorities that needed to be balanced instead of seeing one of them (client success) as more important than the others (employee well-being and profits).

3. Set the example.

You’ve heard the saying “actions speak louder than words.” You cannot just talk about your values and priorities; you need to demonstrate them. That means if you want others to balance client success, employee well-being and profit, you need to be comfortable creating the same balance for yourself. (Your priorities might be slightly different than mine. Regardless, to be approachable, a balance must exist between business success and individual well-being.)

You might struggle with that balance for a variety of reasons, such as:

• You feel a sense of accountability and think you must do something yourself.

• You do not want to burden others.

• You do not want to let down those who look to you to be an example.

But guess what? Your employees feel and think these very same things. And you know what else? Having the right balance as a leader makes you more approachable and provides a healthy culture of teamwork. Here’s why:

• Working as a team means sharing accountability. Kenzie felt that since the issue was with one of her accounts, she was the only one who could do it. In reality, she had already come up with a great solution. All that was left was communicating it to the client, which someone else could easily do.

ALSO READ:  Solving A Generation's Thirst For Digital Services

• In my experience, people often like helping one another. They see it not as a burden but as a gift.

• Sharing responsibilities doesn’t make people think less of you. It simply shows them you are human and gives space for them to be human as well.

Your team will rise to your example. Find your own balance and integrate your priorities collectively, and you will become more approachable.

The Approachable Leader

After I found Kenzie sobbing at her desk, I gathered up various holiday decorations and candy we had in the office and gave them to her for the kids. “Go now,” I told her. “You may have missed the pageant, but you can still get there.”

I could not erase the damage done, but I could at least mitigate it. And, if she ever found herself in a similar situation, she now knew she could approach me.

This moment will stay with me for the rest of my career, and it has undoubtedly made me a better leader. Don’t wait for a moment like this. Become more approachable by fostering self-awareness, clearly communicating your values and priorities, and setting an example.


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?




Source link

admin

Nigerian Celebrity News and entertainment

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest