Do you ever wonder why your team doesn’t respond to you positively? Or maybe they seem to dislike you? It’s probably because you are doing at least one of the following three things. Things that you should NEVER EVER EVER DO as a leader!!!
AS A LEADER, DO NOT ASSUME!
Remember that silly old saying? When you assume you make an “ass” out of “U M E” (you and me?) Well, turns out, it’s true! We can make asses of ourSELVES as leaders if we spend our time assuming! There are five major ways to lead successfully, instead of assuming.
ASK INSTEAD OF ASSUME. Don’t assume someone isn’t happy if their face is looking that way… maybe they have a tummy ache! ASK if they are ok instead of assuming that their face means they are unhappy with you! Honestly, this situation has happened to me, and it is a funny example, but if you ASSUME you know what one of your team members is thinking instead of asking them you could be making HUGE mistakes! You could be causing hurt, fear, missed opportunity, or worse! So ASK! OVERcommunicate! You might think you’ve explained something clearly, but people learn in all different ways, and often NOT the way that you learn best (and therefore tend to TEACH from.) When you’re communicating something to someone, ESPECIALLY if they’re going to then go communicate it to others, have people write it down, tell you what they think they heard you say, confirm the major points they’ve written down, and always offer to answer any questions whenever they come up!
ASK FOR FEEDBACK. During your monthly KPI meetings with your team members, in addition to asking how you can support them in hitting their goals, ask for FEEDBACK that will help you improve your customer experience, culture, staff retention, and so much more! SO ASK! Also, ensure you’re doing monthly (short) feedback surveys with your team so you KNOW what they’re thinking, if they are satisfied at work, and where you need to improve!
QUESTIONS ARE YOUR SUPERPOWER. This is SO important to remember as a leader! Questions help us find out what barriers are in the way for people, how we can be better leaders, and what can be done to improve the business for our team members and clients!
STOP THE STORIES. Did you know that NO ONE has ever “MADE YOU MAD” or MADE you feel any other feeling? It’s true. The only thing that makes you feel ANYTHING is the STORY in your mind that you make up in the split second between Point A (what happened) and Point B (your feelings!) So for example, if someone walks away when you’re talking to them you make up a story in your head, ie., “They are so rude they just walked away while I was talking. They don’t respect me!” Then, based on that story, you feel mad. The TRUTH could be that they honestly didn’t hear you or they thought you were done talking! Remember this powerful truth: NO ONE makes you feel anything, your stories do that! So make them stories that serve you!
FOCUS=FEELINGS. Finally, to help yourself STOP assuming and damaging your relationships, remember that YOUR FOCUS = YOUR FEELINGS. What you think about creates how you feel. Every. Single. Time. A lot of my clients like to write that somewhere they will see it often, then, if they feel bad, they realize it’s because they’re not focusing on something GOOD! They can then change their focus and change how they feel! When you feel good, you’re a much better leader.
DO NOT DUMP OVER YOUR TRUST BUCKETS!
The second worst thing you could do as a leader is dump over your trust buckets. The “emotional bank account” you’ve spent so much time adding to, can be knocked over and emptied (and your relationship back to zero) very easily and quickly. So, if you want to have good relationships and the ability to influence and have your team perform for you, here’s how to avoid dumping over your trust buckets as a leader.
KEEP OR HONOR YOUR WORD. What’s this mean? Do what’s in your calendar! If you cannot make what you had planned work out, contact the person you had an agreement with, and make a new agreement that works for both of you. This is honoring your word! You can ALWAYS either keep or honor your word, even when you’re unable to keep an original agreement.
DON’T EVER LOSE YOUR TEMPER. Seriously, just do not do it! You are an adult. You are a leader. You have enough emotional intelligence to know that you should not have a conversation when you’re feeling angry (OR ANY BAD FEELING.) If you find yourself in a hard conversation, politely excuse yourself and take a walk. Then, come back to the conversation, or put the conversation on hold so that you can adjust the story you are telling yourself and your paradigm so that you can approach the conversation with emotional intelligence, empathy, and effectiveness!
HAVE CONVERSATIONS, NOT CONFRONTATIONS. You never have to have a “confrontation” again. You decide. I don’t know about you but I MUCH prefer a conversation to a confrontation! I decided years ago that I was never going to be part of a “confrontation” again. Why would you when you could have a conversation? A conversation is focused on the common outcome that you are both trying to achieve through the time together. Conversations require calmness, kindness, and emotional intelligence, and having a prepared agenda is VERY helpful. If necessary, as I said above, take time to adjust your emotional state, take a walk, call a mentor, or do whatever you need to do to get into the space to have a good conversation – NO MORE CONFRONTATIONS!
AS A LEADER, DO NOT TALK ABOUT TEAM MEMBERS WITH OTHER TEAM MEMBERS.
If you want to create a positive, fun, caring, and productive environment, you cannot talk about your people to their teammates. Not only is this a quick way to empty a lot of trust buckets with your team quickly, but it will also decrease employee morale and eventually decrease employee satisfaction and productivity. Not to mention the impact talking behind your team members’ backs will have on your company culture and team dynamic. Here are some tips for steering clear of this as a leader.
TALK TO THE PERSON, NOT ABOUT THEM. Even though these CONVERSATIONS can be hard, they are so worth it! When you talk to your team directly, you are building trust with them and respect! When you are talking about your team to other team members, you are destroying trust. What do you think the person you are talking to is thinking? Well, they’re probably wondering if you are going to talk about them behind their back! The more you talk WITH people (and LISTEN) the stronger your bonds.
NO GOSSIP. MAKE THIS A RULE IN YOUR LIFE. Whether you are at work or not, gossip doesn’t ever help. If you are spending time with people whose main topic of conversation is the lives of others, and often the negative parts of others’ lives, maybe reconsider who you are spending time with. ALSO, if these people are on your team, you’ve made an error during the hiring process, because we do not want negative people on our team! Gossip is a surefire way to destroy culture, trust, and anything else positive happening on a team!
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE. When we are thinking about positive, uplifting, inspiring things, we don’t have time to dwell on the lives of others or anything negative in life! We want to care about our staff, yes, but one of the ways we care for them is by spending time with them directly, talking to them, and listening to them – not finding out what’s going on in their life from the conversation about them at the water cooler. I will say, there are certain situations or moments where it will be necessary and important to talk to your business partner, manager, business co-pilot, or counselor if you need help navigating how to handle a conversation with a team member or how to figure out a situation. You MUST do this professionally and discreetly. You do not want to hurt people, I know you don’t! So, slow down, and use a great deal of emotional intelligence, and professionalism!
If you want to change the world through your leadership and your business, don’t do these three things as a leader! People are looking to you to show them the way – show them the good! Remember, YOUR FOCUS = YOUR FEELINGS. Focus on things that make you feel good, make your team feel good, and make you a better leader. You are exceptional if you are here, reading this, wanting to become a better leader.
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Kelli-Rae is truly passionate about successful business, and believes it can always be better, which is why she has spent 22 years studying, running, coaching and consulting with businesses, just like yours.