“Never step on enthusiasm.”
(Image by Jackie Zamora)
I love the image above for the simple message it sends. True leaders are not afraid to engage to ensure team success. Leaders display a level of humility when they show direct reports they are a part of the overall team, not just the person demanding results.
Contrast the two examples in the image. Who would you want to work for? The leader or the boss? Why?
I have been lucky to work for some truly great leaders in multiple work environments. They all shared a vision of what success looks like and made sure everyone was working toward the same goals. These great leaders always led by example and made professional development/learning a priority in the workplace. This enhanced direct report engagement and made everyone want to get more accomplished. Regardless of style (authentic, transformational, democratic, etc.), great leaders provide positive interactions and examples we can emulate and utilize within our own leadership practice.
Luckily, I have not experienced too many of the boss examples in the image above, but I have made a point to learn from these people as well. Don’t be so quick to write off the lessons you gained from a boss:
- How did your boss make you feel daily?
- How easy was it to bring them problems?
- Did they explain tasks or just say go get things done?
- How competent were they getting the job done?
- How invested were they in your professional development?
- How much fun were they to be around?
- How much staff turnover did your office have?
I could add more things to this boss check list but believe you see my pattern now. So, what lessons can you learn from a boss? I’ve learned to never repeat a boss trait I viewed as a negative.
Getting up from behind a desk or closed door to engage with people daily is an easy task for everyone. Never get so comfortable with a position you forget your responsibility to the people you serve. Servant leadership is centered on the idea the leader serves their people. Take the time to explain the WHY of a task not just the WHAT needs to be done. Leverage the strengths of everyone on the team. This requires the leader to know the strengths and weaknesses of each team member.
It’s okay to have fun at work! No, really, fun and work can go together. Look at some of the most successful organizations and the culture they build in the work environment. Work still gets done but fun happens daily—may be a coincidence but these type organizations are able to retain their staff members.
Consider implementing a stay interview process. Stay interviews allow great leaders to engage staff to see what they need in the work environment. The stay interview builds a dialogue to enable both sides to enhance relationships and create a productive culture. The leader does not have to promise anything they can’t back up and allows them to explain these things directly to staff members.
Note: Had a great conversation during a virtual networking event last week in Orlando about the term stay interview. Some organizations/leaders do not like this term. That’s fine, call it ‘professional development interview, career development orientation, etc.’ but look for ways to engage staff on their professional needs.
So, continue to emulate the great leaders you have had in your work life but don’t miss the valuable lessons the bosses have provided.
What leadership traits do you emulate daily? What have you learned from a boss (no names needed)?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Photo by Gladson Xavier on Pexels.com
“Play chess, not checkers.”
(Dr. Calvin Williams)