Holding people at arms length can be holding you back.
Mar 10, 2020
Through the early part of my leadership journey, I was encouraged to engage with my employees and colleagues in a strictly professional, position-specific way. As a person in the hospitality industry, and of a serving heart, this felt off. I struggled with this because my instinct was that to create an engaged and productive team meant I needed to authentically connect. But I lacked the self confidence as a leader to follow my instincts so I adopted the "at arms length" approach. The result was that the rock stars did well, in spite of my lack, and those that weren't, really suffered. Which, of course, meant we all suffered. Then I asked the question that would kick-start my change on how I looked at leadership. How can I ask my team to connect with our clients, if I can not connect with them? Such a simple question that made me look within and really think about how I could adjust that would best serve my employees, our customers, my company, and myself. Of course, still lacking training, I may have over-corrected a bit. Okay, I definitely did. Ultimately, it took all of the lessons I learned from doing, all of the lessons I learned from watching others, lessons from professional publications and recognizing the difference between what to do and what not to do. To continue my growth I developed 4 questions that I would ask myself daily:
1. How am I showing up as a leader today?
2. What will I do to engage my team today?
3. What lessons can I learn today?
4. What lessons can I share today?
The biggest lesson was to always show up in an authentic way and NEVER STOP learning and growing.
If you are struggling with how you feel you should lead versus how you have been taught or shown, ask yourself these questions and show up.