It’s been two nonstop weeks of helping your team figure out how to work from home. To keep you at your best, I want to reinforce 3 key things great leaders do to grow positive relationships – especially in tough times. These are things your people need from you right now to stay at their best. You will also find links to 3 coaching tools to use with your leadership team today! Whether you are in business, education, or a non-profit, these ideas and tools are helpful reminders to keep doing the basics in times of change.
As work and school have shifted online, some of your team is actually enjoying working remotely and may even be more productive. Others may not admit it, but they are struggling with the isolation from co-workers, customers or students they are used to seeing each day. Of course many are now living with distractions in a house full of adults and kids all competing for space, time, and technology.
The best leaders we work with consistently focus on three things to reinforce positive relationships with the people they supervise and the teams or departments they lead. Those 3 key things include rapport, communication, and empathy. These three words may sound familiar, but what makes them truly valuable can easily be overlooked or minimized in times of crisis.
In a world of constant uncertainty, getting relationships right can make the difference between a team excelling with trust and commitment, or spiraling downward in rumors and resentment.
In a world of constant uncertainty, getting relationships right can make the difference between a team excelling with trust and commitment, or spiraling downward in rumors and resentment. Which of these relationship qualities are you still doing well? Where can you find a little boost in your impact as a leader?
Leaders who get this right… quickly form positive and productive connections establishing and maintaining mutual trust with people. Trust is more than following through on tasks, it has a relationship side that comes from knowing others personally, yond professional roles or duties.
It’s easy to overlook… the little things we do to maintain that personal side of our relationships, and slip into transactional talk about tasks. In times like these, people will tolerate top-down authority for a while, but will soon expect you to see them as a unique person again. Trust is hard won and easily lost… protect it!
Helpful Hints: For a full description with action steps in this area, download the Rapport in Action Coaching Tool.
Leaders who get this right… seek two-way, collaborative, and open interaction for mutual understanding. It’s natural in times of crisis to focus on getting clear, accurate, and useful information out so everyone knows what’s going on. However, healthy communication also unites people through listening, asking questions, and finding answers together. It feels mutual and invites participation.
It’s easy to overlook… that point where the immediate emergency has been dealt, with and people want to engage again. Remember to balance one-way directives with open, two-way dialog that goes beyond explaining and seeks honest feedback on how things are going. Potential conflict is an opportunity to lead with listening, seek consensus, and actually improve the relationship.
Helpful Hints: For a full description with action steps in this area, download the Communication in Action Coaching Tool.
Leaders who get this right… identify with others at the emotional level to help them remain productive in all situations. It’s easier than it sounds. Just show some kindness and respond to people at the feeling level in some way, prior to assisting them or addressing the issue. This is different from sympathy or sensitivity, which happens in your head. When you show empathy, it is seen, heard, and felt by others. The best leaders we meet are aware of their own feelings AND are skilled at responding to the emotions of others to keep them productive and resilient.
It’s easy to overlook… acknowledging that people are doing the best they can, given what they know for better or worse. Showing genuine empathy builds trust and resilience when people are celebrating success, or need help getting back on their feet to carry on.
Dan Golman tells a story in his book Focus, about two groups of doctors – one group showed a few minutes of genuine empathy as part of their treatment, while the other group did not. Can you guess which group got sued half as often as the other? You guessed it, the ones who listened and showed empathy. A little empathy is the key that unlocks a lot of doors in positive relationships.
Helpful Hints: For a full description with action steps in this area, download the Empathy in Action Coaching Tool.
Using the 3 coaching tools: Attributes in Action
These downloadable PDF Tools give you a coaching tool for each of the 3 attributes discussed here. They are written for your personal growth, and to use as a coaching tool to build the leadership capacity of your team in challenging times.
Each Action Coaching Tool includes a full description of a Positively Relating attribute, common gaps in this area, and 3 strategies on how to get a boost in how people see and experience you as a leader. Please let us know how these tools impact you and the people you serve:
Rapport in Action Coaching Tool
Communication in Action Coaching Tool
Empathy in Action Coaching Tool
As I wrap up here, please let me know what questions are on the top of your mind and I will answer them in future emails, blogs, videos, etc.
My cell number is 402-617-9066. Feel free to call me or drop me a text if you want to chat.