A prospective client recently asked me to help him become the best "leader, mentor and person possible," and it brought a lot of lessons to mind from couples coaching.
Given how hard it is to make one relationship between two people work, how do you get to this nirvana as a leader?
From a place of curiosity, practice the following:
Listen to your team (or spouse). Genuinely listen! It's hard
Acknowledge what they say and make them feel heard. This can be a simple "uh-hum"
Validate their emotions, their fears, their feelings: "it makes sense you'd feel that way"
Ask questions that let them work through the problem themselves, and refrain from question that are statements of your opinions or advice
Everything in life is relationships. When you treat your staff with the empathy that you would show to your family, you make them feel human and connected to you. Even though you will have to make some hard decisions that are upsetting or unpopular, if you've laid the groundwork and consensus that you're human, everyone will work with you to create the best possible outcome, rather than struggle against you.
Just as at home, you work to inspire your children to explore, thrive and achieve, you similarly want to encourage your employees to participate and make them feel like they matter. No one likes to feel dismissed or put down. Yes there are limits to how long you allow people to carry on, but take the first step, and reveal your humanity.
If you have some bad habits or aren’t the paragon of this leadership, good news is -- with your buy in -- I can help you see what’s causing you to behave this way. We will slow down the video tape, look at the X-rays together, and help you practice a management style which will change people's opinions of you overnight.