The two things all leaders need to know


There are a lot of skills to learn when you are in a position of leadership and none can be taken lightly. At its very essence a leader holds a huge weight of responsibility. Any person who is managing or leading other people are automatically influencing how those people feel. How people feel determines how they will perform at work and at home.

When we feel like our manager doesn’t listen, care or is disengaged when in a conversation with us, in many cases it leads us to feel unimportant, not valued or not good enough. I have experienced this first hand. Many years ago, in the beginning of my career, I had a boss who gave me no time unless it was in the lift as she went down to have her cigarette, once down in the smoking area she dumped me and connected with other managers who were more on her level. I would stand to the side feeling like a “shag on a rock”.

Over time I started to not even bother to jump in the lift with her. Many times I had an idea that may help workflow, or let her know of what was coming up, or even just to ask for feedback on the work I was doing. But her behaviour led me to believe that she simply wasn’t interested. I started to not care about my work as much and I certainly didn’t jump up to tell her any of my ideas. I plodded along and did my job. What I also noticed was I started to turn up right on time and start packing up at 5 minutes to 5, which is not my style. My productivity diminished and I fell into a rut, so much so I ended up leaving for another job. And I was not the first one in my team to leave. What I also noticed was that people were regularly taking sickies (and I hate to say this but that included me).

As I now work with leaders and teams, I see this behaviour playout far too often. I hear it from team members about their team leader, or new team leaders saying it about their manager. The story and the context is always different, but fundamentally the behaviour is the same. The person is not feeling heard or validated.

It sounds so simple, yet seems so challenging for leaders to stop, listen, hear and validate what the person is saying. Regardless of whether you agree with what the person is saying, by giving them a voice and validating it and then moving the conversation on from that, you will notice a massive shift in the engagement from that team member.

  1. Hear what they have to say
  2. Validate what they are saying

That’s all any of us want, so why aren’t our leaders doing more of this?

I think we inherently think as the “boss” we have to speak more than we listen, be ‘right’ and give orders and at the same time many are micromanaging and not allowing people to step fully into their role. The key is to be aware of our team members, their individual strengths and taking the time to connect with them – really connect. As we build this trust our team members will start to know that they will be heard and validated.

The result? You may find they are more productive, more engaged, more motivated and more open with sharing their ideas.

WIN for them

WIN for you

WIN for the business

Give it a go if you are struggling with some team members, would love to hear how you go.