While I’ve always been in support of Leaders and Employees being able to be friends, there is a limit to what even those friends at work will tell you when it comes to your position of leadership. This is particularly true if those “friends” report to you and know you are the one in charge of their job security. Shocking, I know and perhaps we should have a collective “DUH!” right about now, but there are 3 things those employees want you to know that they’ll never tell you – friends or not.
No matter how much we act like it is not the case, our work model is designed in a hierarchical style that is modeled after the family unit. A boss is often compared to a parent and in that model, the child wants the parent to be proud of or approving of them. Some elements of this model work and some do not, in fact, if you read Linchpin, you’ll learn more on this topic, but simply stated, employees want to know that you like what they are doing and value them. In fact, it’s the first chapter of Contagious Leadership. Chapter 1: Contagious Leaders value and respect those they lead. How do you show them you are proud of them, value them and approve of some of their contributions?
If you are micromanaging the living dickens out of those team members you lead (notice I didn’t say “your employees” as they are not YOURS, in that you don’t own these folks.) you are robbing them of an opportunity to do well and be recognized. They may find it easier to just follow your instructions for a time, but at the end of the day, employees and people in general want to do well. Some want to DO, just because it satisfies them. Some want to do it RIGHT, because for them it is the right thing to do. Some want to do WELL because it helps them get along well with you and some just want the attention of having DONE something for which you noticed them! However, they see it, what is important is that YOU see their innate desire to do well. Let them and give them the tools to do so.
This should not be shocking news unless you have that “Eyeore” of a colleague who consistently responds to “Good morning!” with “What’s good about it?” Even those employees that you wish would complain less and wear a real smile every so often, want to be happy. There is an argument to made actually that we ALL want to be happy and content and yet so often get in our own way of doing so. Yet, your expectations of those you lead can influence their happiness and here’s how that works. If you expect that grumpy person to always be grumpy, chances are they will be. Yet, if you expect them to be happy and you set the bar at that height, without criticism, but rather acceptance of whatever they share, chances are you’ll see a happier person next time you encounter him or her.
Now if you knew those things going into a Leadership position, you’d likely be more prepared and more successful. But, if you are feeling Promoted, but not Prepared, this is a good place to start. Stay Contagious!