February 28

Don’t Do This If You Want To Suck As A Leader


Like the 1.01 billion people that can’t make it through their day without Facebook, I opened my app in a moment of a little downtime. I was surprised to see the face of a friend in a featured newspaper article her husband posted. It was the mother of the baby that determines where my family sits during Sunday Morning Service. As I read the Star Tribune story of baby Ella’s mommy, a line struck me. The line was about the local actress playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at The Children’s Theatre.

Though remarkable she is, what struck me was what the leader of the company said. What he said, really nailed the essence of “Leadership Is Personal.” It got to the core of what a good leader possesses. Could he have been speaking of some Steve Jobs-esque leader in Silicon Valley? Sure. Or maybe he was referring to the Teacher of The Year in your town? Perhaps. However, in this instance, he identified it in this talented thespian.


Among other things, the Director went on to say he hired Traci because “… she has this openness, this emotional access that totally draws you in.” Further saying, as he and the company had gotten to know her over the years, “…her talent has been like a bouquet. You keep discovering new layers.”


Gallup estimates the 20% of US workers that are actively disengaged costs the US economy roughly half a trillion dollars each year. There’s one sure way to assist in closing the chasm between employee potential and realized capability; connecting.

Are you an “open” leader? One of the many definitions of openness is, “Accessible or available to follow.” Follow? Yes. Follow. Being open gives license to those you engage to also be open. This is invaluable for connecting and coaching. More specifically, in times where negative or developmental feedback is necessary, this openness shines through, allowing the recipient to follow your open lead. This increases the ability for the recipient to objectively hear, absorb and process the feedback in a non-defensive manner. Your emotional accessibility gives license for the recipient to be emotionally accessible and to discuss the feedback openly. Ever try to give developmental feedback to someone that you haven’t connected with? Right!

Are you engaging your workforce? Are you connecting with all of them? What community involvement is your top and bottom performer engaged in? What’s her husband’s name? How old are their children? Engaging on more than just the professional Dimension with the people you share the bulk of your day with, is the foundation of openness and the emotional access they desire, and if you want to be a successful leader, you require. This access is extremely useful in connecting with peers and subordinates alike.

Its power is useful in good situations. However, it’s extremely useful in bad ones. It is simple to be emotionally accessible when covering good times or positive situations. When someone on your team closes a new customer or bags a big deal, it is easy to be happy or excited and emotionally accessible. As a leader, you beam with admiration and are proud of her accomplishment. But have you put in enough work on truly connecting with them in a way that enables you to be equally as emotionally open in tough times?


It’s precisely these moments that call us to not be different, not be sterile. Remain open. It is in these cracks in time, when you can make the difference between someone’s potential and realized talent. To unlock the full potential of the people you lead, you first have to show them the example to follow. Don’t do this if you absolutely want to suck as a leader.

#generationsintheworkforce #leadership #employeeengagement #employeeretention #behavioralengagement #millennials


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