While my favorite thing about 1-on-1 leadership coaching is the individualized nature of it, it's also fascinating to pick up on trends that ring true across the board. I've noticed the most effective leaders often do a few key things really well. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are a few leadership behaviors for you to noodle on today.
They Don't Pretend to Care
That's right, the best leaders don't pretend to care. They actually do care. I'm listing this first because it is perhaps the most important. People can pick up on fabricated emotions - they really can tell when you don't care. People say you can't force a person to care, but I believe we all have the capacity to care. If you are feeling apathetic, here are a few things you can do to tap into that capacity authentically:
Get enough rest. Take care of yourself. Sometimes it's as simple as that. If you are depleted, you won't have the capacity or energy to care for your team. Identify what you need (a jog, a nap, etc.) and claim it so you can get back out there and serve your people from a place of being whole and healthy.
Spend more time with people who care. Like many things, it's contagious! Spend more time with your peer leader who shows care and concern for his/her team. Engage in projects where the team is authentically excited about the work. That energy will rub off on you!
Ask more questions. It's possible you simply don't know enough to care. Get to know your people better. Learn what makes them tick and what their concerns are. Spend time learning about the day-to-day work they are doing. The more you know, the more you'll care.
They Give Leadership Away
Yep. The best leaders are comfortable enough to intentionally give leadership away to others. They leave their ego at the door and find smart opportunities to let a member of their team take off and run with an initiative. This fosters trust, encourages resourcefulness, and provides an effective sandbox for future leaders to build the necessary muscles they'll need to step in to new positions.
Their Door Isn't Always Open
Perhaps we've taken the "open door policy" a bit too far. The best leaders are, yes, accessible and approachable. They also ruthlessly protect time for independent reflection, strategy, and execution of high-priority initiatives. They don't just encourage their team to set healthy boundaries - they model it too.
They Quit the Wrong Jobs
The best leaders are working in an industry and role they enjoy and find meaning in. They have the wisdom to know when a job isn't right for them and they waste no time in moving on. There's something to be said about job fit. We are more engaged and able to focus on driving important things forward when we like what we are doing and find purpose in the work.
They Adopt a Nurturing Mindset
To "nurture" is to care for and encourage the development of someone or something. The best leaders are nurturers at their core. They see the potential in a new idea and rally the team to make it happen. They see the potential in their team members and take the time to grow others.
Could your people benefit from you turning up the dial with one or more of these behaviors? What would that specifically look like for you? I sincerely love hearing from people, so feel free to shoot me a note and let me know your thoughts!