All to often I hear leaders saying that either people leadership isn't part of their role, or that it makes them so uncomfortable that they avoid it all together. Have you ever wondered how we got ourselves into this predicament?
My take is that we find ourselves in this situation for a few reasons.
The first is that dealing with people issues, or even just having real, open conversations about what's going on is a skill that not all leaders have been equipped with. They excel in technical roles and then we toss them into the people leadership pool and expect them to swim. And then wonder why they slowly sink.
On the whole, emotions make people uncomfortable because emotional expression is seen as weakness or we just don't have the words to use to describe how we're feeling or recognise cues in other people.
Then come the expectations. Big, overwhelming expectations that leaders put on themselves to fix everything. They feel that if a problem is raised or an issue is discussed, the entire responsibility will fall on them to fix it.
That's just not true.
Please, give leaders permission to not have to solve the problem that's being bought to them. Allow them to be the coach, not the player. Their job is to ask the right questions, listen, provide resources and ensure accountability. If you remove the expectation that they need to fix very little problem that is bought to them, they will be more open to listening and empowering their team to find solutions.
While this approach won't work in crisis situations (where the leader must take control and set in), it can work wonders in helping leaders to have real conversations in the workplace. This brings with it stronger engagement, increased satisfaction and more cohesive teams.
If you can see the value in helping your leaders to find a different way to connect with their team, connect with me on LinkedIn, or get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0409 585 443. I'd love to hear from you.