Leaders – why you should care about how your team feel

One of my favourite questions to ask when I’m delivering a workshop to a group of Leaders is:

‘Can you remember your worst boss?’

This question always gets some interesting responses, however on the whole always follows the same pattern…

  1. People can always remember their worst boss. Even if it’s many many years ago.
  2. they always start describing them by how they made them feel – and not by their actions
  3. When they start talking about their worst Boss they immediately feel exactly the same as they did at the time.

People will always remember how you made them feel - Maya Angelou

People will always remember how you made them feel.

Now although this can feel really daunting, and might cause you to think that you need to walk around on egg shells in case you upset someone, it’s actually really powerful information.

Your job, as a leader, is to think about how you’re making your team feel – bearing in mind that most people do a much better job when they’re feeling happier, motivated and engaged.

So how can we do this?

  1. Think about what you need from a Boss.

Take a few moments to scribble down what you need from a Boss. Do you need recognition? Praise? Regular communication? Development and coaching? One to one time? To feel empowered?

Although everyone’s needs are different, this is a great place to start as once you’ve got your list have a think about whether you’re doing this for your team and how you can improve it.

  1. Get to know your team

By really getting to know your team and what makes them tick you’ll be able to understand exactly what’s going to motivate and inspire them, and what’s going to turn them off. Don’t assume that just because you’ve worked with them for a while that you know all there is to know, keep working on this as people change.

  1. ASK

Ask your team what they need from you. It’s easy to assume that everything is working as it should because no-one has complained or said anything. It’s also easy to assume that everyone knows they can just come and speak to you if they need to.

But it doesn’t always work that way.

Quite often people won’t speak up, and they might not come to you as they won’t want to bother you, or they might not really feel as though they can – no matter how many times you tell them.

So find out what your team need from you and build that into your routine, and your communication strategy.

  1. Tailor your style to suit the person

Now I know this one is easier said than done, especially if you’ve got a large team but it’s well worth the effort.

Every member of your team are different, and their needs will be also be different. Some people will need a lot of motivation, others will need leaving to it and empowering, and some will need recognition and praise. By taking the time to get to know your team (see point 2) you’ll be able to tailor your style to suit them.

  1. Look out for the hidden cues

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day and assume that everyone is tickety boo. But this is a trap that a lot of leaders fall into all the time. Instead be observant. Observe your team and see how they’re behaving. Look out for the body language cues that someone isn’t happy, or watch out for people behaving slightly differently. All of this will give you a clue if someone needs something more from you.

  1. Don’t forget the small things

The small things really really matter.

Saying ‘good morning’ when you come into work, matters.

Chatting about things outside of work, matters.

Having a bit of fun and a laugh, matters.

Saying thank you, matters.

Recognising hard work and achievement, matters.

Taking your turn to get the drinks in, matters.

Remembering key dates, matters.

Asking about the kids or family, matters.

We’re people first.

All of this may sound small and trivial but it all matters and really helps to build trust and rapport – so don’t forget the small stuff, because it’s actually really important.

  1. Ask your team for feedback

Finally, ask for feedback. We can all improve so keep asking what you can do better.

I’d love to know your thought so please let me know by leaving a comment, and if you’d like to learn 4 ways you can step up to leadership download your free guide here.


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