How are you experienced by your team? Think back to the bosses you’ve worked for during your career. Working for some is a pleasure, while with others, every day’s a struggle. If you’re a leader in your organization, how does your team experience you? Your leadership brand is a way of describing the way others experience you as a boss. If you’re a member of a team, how would the rest of your team describe you?
It comes back to that familiar question for which there are infinite answers: who are you? We make behavioral choices that help determine which parts of our identity we share with those around us. Some parts bind teams together, and some drive them apart. Australian politics have provided us with some striking examples of leaders who unite and leaders who divide. Remodelled PM K-Rudd claims to have made different choices this time around, but time will tell whether he can create an effective team when so many MPs refuse to work with him. To have politicians turn down the opportunity to take on ministerial positions is – to my knowledge – unprecedented, and reflects clearly on the leader’s perceived inability to demonstrate genuine collegiate values.
What are the three words that you would like your team to use to describe you? By focusing on these as goals, are you able to consistently create a team environment where those are the words that readily come to the minds of your colleagues?
How you’re perceived by others – particularly your direct reports – has a lot to do with whether you consistently contribute to or deplete their sense of worth. Self-esteem is to varying degrees responsive to interactions with others. If you leave a transaction feeling confident, empowered and respected, you’re more likely to work with greater purpose and positivity. Interpersonal communications with the opposite effect cost organizations productivity and financial pain every day.
Examples of behaviors that contribute positively to self esteem include listening, providing support, choosing positive language, showing appreciation for contributions, following up on actions and providing opportunities to succeed and grow. Behaviors that deplete self esteem include persistent criticism, failure, lack of respect, micromanagement and over instruction.
When you’ve engaged with a member of your team, or a client, how do you leave them feeling? If you’ve helped them to feel valued, they’re more likely to be influenced by you, to be willing to engage and to contribute to a collaborative future or solution.
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