Think about someone you love to be around. Now think about someone who you personally know who inspires you. Finally, think about someone that you have great respect for. Now take a moment and consider, how do these individuals make you feel about yourself? Most people report that when they reflect on the people in their lives who they hold in high regard, their inner experience is that:
Now pause, and reflect on yourself as a leader. Ask yourself: How do you make people feel about themselves? Hint- this is partially what you say and do, but it is also what you don't say.. it's what you think and the energy you transmit. When you think about those you are leading, be it your family, employees or team, are you thinking negative thoughts? I often hear leaders talk in frustration about how those they lead are stupid, incapable, lazy, or childish.
When was the last time that you were inspired to work hard for someone who thought you were stupid or lazy? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Here are four things you can do to become a better leader:
1. Assume everyone is doing their very best
You can choose what you believe and what you assume. Program yourself to assume that everyone is always doing there very best, and if you are not seeing their very best it's because something is getting in the way. With this assumption, you can help someone discover what is getting in the way, and brainstorm solutions on how to remove it. The people you are leading want to do their very best. Everyone does because all humans feel good when living to their highest potential and producing their best work. No one got up this morning and said, "I hope today I can do a really shitty job that everyone around me is disappointed in." Of course not! They want to do their best, and you want them to do their best. So, if their best work isn't getting done, help them discover the obstacles in the way of their best work. This is true service, and the best leaders are servants.
2. Find what they are doing well, and celebrate the heck out of it.
Praise begets more praiseworthy behavior. Praise is the humans like water is to flowers. Have you ever seen a wilting, drooping flower stand up tall just hours after watering? Humans work in a similar way. If you have people on your team who are apathetic and low-energy, I bet they are not getting enough praise and celebration in their lives. As a leader, one of your jobs is to help individuals celebrate all the things that they are doing right. You are a human, so I don't have to tell you that humans are great at self beat-up, self-criticism and the allowing the monkey mind to re-hash the negative at 3am. We are not as good at finding, acknowledging and celebrating the good about ourselves. As a leader, be conscious of watering your employees with praise - but, please note - this praise MUST be authentic. Taking the time to find true appreciation in your heart for those you are leading is a prerequisite to delivering praise.
3. Discover their uniqueness, and help them live authentically.
It's not just a cliche, each person has unique gifts, strengths, and a way of being. Living your gifts and strengths and honoring your unique way of being is call authenticity. When we live authentically is when we will really shine. This is where the magic happens. Think about those who you are leading, can you easily describe each of their individual authentic expressions? If not, this is an area where you can transform you team. When you discover (and help your team discover) what makes each one of them unique and special, you will be able to use those gifts to produce incredible results. To read more on how authenticity impacts success, check out this article in Forbes.
4. Hold them as able
When you hold someone as able, you set a high bar for them, you don't take excuses, you have firm boundaries and accountability and you don't hover or over-manage. When you hold someone as able, you recognize the capacity in that individual to achieve the goals and tasks you've agreed on. Holding your team as able builds a culture of engagement, trust, and creativity. Holding someone as able is a gift and a service. It is you recognizing their greatness and holding the space for them to fulfill that greatness.
Mindy Amita Aisling
ICF Life Coach,
NFPT Fitness Trainer,
OMA Certified Mediator
Mindy Aisling is a certified life and business coach in Bend, OR, exceeding all of the educational requirements & training set forth by the ICF.
She has worked with such organizations as St. Charles Hospital, Soroptimists, The Dispute Resolution Center, Olympic Medical Center, Americorps, and Juvenile and Family Services.
Mindy has been featured in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Bend Bulletin, The Peninsula Daily News, KOMO 4 TV, The Oregonian and many more. You can learn more about Mindy here.
Mindy offers professional, affordable online coaching to clients around the world, and local coaching to clients in Bend, Oregon.
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