Read any HBR, Forbes, or Inc. article and you’re bound to come across an extended buffet of “X Ways to be an Authentic Leader” or “X Ways to Create Trusting Teams” or “Increase Your Influence at Work with these X Tips”. I know I’m guilty of sharing a few of these with several of you. They’re fine resources, primarily filled with tips and tricks you already knew yet simply needed to be reminded of.
Since we’re focusing on Leadership Fundamentals this month, I thought I would give you my “6 Ways Good Leaders Foster Connection“.
(Feel free to publish me, HBR. Just sayin’.)
1. They Show Up as Themselves
We’ve literally been in masks for the past 2 years, however, sometimes we wear a figurative mask as well. These masks can hide who we truly are. Authenticity is showing up as your best self. It’s leading from your head and your heart and showing up with honesty, openness to information (or Feedback, if you wish to use that word), and self-awareness of not only your own feelings but of those around you.
2. They Treat Themselves (and Others) as Human Beings
Good leaders display authenticity by making space for laughter and joy while accepting that they’re not perfect and they make mistakes. Good leaders resist the urge to protect themselves; when they make mistakes, they admit it.
And when employees make mistakes, it’s safe for them to risk being open enough to say, “I messed up.” They can say this due to the high level of trust built over time with their leader.
3. They Approach Conflict by Surveying all Angles
Good leaders talk to multiple people for perspective and clarity and then determine a course of action. Sometimes the final decision may not be popular, but it’s the best one to make at the time. In dealing with conflict, good leaders know that having the courage to resolve a problem, with respect and dignity, is easier than dealing with the negative consequences of hiding from it.
4. They Speak Their Truth
Being a good leader means they don’t say things to sugarcoat, try to please others, or try to look good in front of their peers. They speak clearly, honestly, and with integrity. Good leaders have good reputations.
5. They Are Teachable
Good leaders accept the role of a learner because they know it will make them better. They know that each person has something important to teach them. Truth is, good leaders don’t always know what is needed and what to do; they are willing to ask questions and are sincerely interested in the answers. Amy Edmondson once said, “It’s hard to learn when you already know”.
6. They Are Accessible
Good leaders share plans for the future and are open and transparent even during difficult times. They don’t hide behind closed doors or delegate important communication needs to others. This is the secret sauce in connecting with teams on an emotional level.
How many of these 6 ways were you able to check off?
Which are you most proud to say you do on a daily basis?
Where do you need to focus?
Want to chat about your findings? I’m here.