As team leaders, it’s our responsibility to encourage our teams and make them feel valued. If we do, our employees will enjoy their jobs more and make better decisions that benefit our business as a whole. But how can we achieve this? And what about when conflicts or mistakes arise?
Dr. Frank Corbo, a husband, father, serial entrepreneur, and serial encourager joined us on TNFR Podcast to discuss what it means to be a good business leader, one who makes their team feel genuinely valued, even in challenging situations. Enjoy!
What is “Kind Truth”?
There are three ways you can handle communications with your team:
The Hammer: Tactless, mean spirited, hard-hitting communication
Artificial Harmony: Pretending everything is fine.
Kind Truth: Healthy, honest, open communication.
Speaking kind truth means having the ability to talk honestly with our employees, without insulting or talking down to them. Kind truth isn’t just about conflict resolution. It’s about being a good communicator in general. Of course, the ability to have your words heard, understood, and accepted begins long before you open your mouth to speak.
How to Make Your Team Feel Valued
There’s something we need to realize about people. People need to know that they are valued, not simply because of what they do or how many sales they make. They need to feel valued for who they are and what they contribute to our team.
Offer your employees encouragement and praise when appropriate – give them recognition for their unique personal strengths and abilities. Listen to their concerns and think about their situation. They will be more likely to listen to your kind truths and make better decisions throughout their day if you do.
Next, make it clear to your employees that the team needs a plan for success. Making goals that are easy to understand and follow will facilitate the success of your employees (and, as a result, your whole team).
Even more importantly, build a common ground agreement with your employees. This means making sure you share common ground pertaining to your company’s core values so that everyone can be held accountable with an equal standard. Allow yourself to be held accountable too. You can only speak kind truths if you are willing to hear them for yourself. If you accept your employees’ observations and feedback in a kind way, they will be more likely to receive yours down the road.
Your Example Matters
As a leader, your example speaks volumes. It’s not enough to put a motivational poster about teamwork on the wall in the office. It’s up to you to embody your company’s core values. As they say, “actions speak louder than words.”
What if you notice someone on your team behaving in ways you don’t want?
The first thing you need to do is take a look in the mirror. If you find you haven’t set a good example in any regard, be willing to call yourself out and apologize to your team. By accepting full responsibility, you’ll build up trust in your team, and they will be more willing to take responsibility for their own mistakes.
How to Handling Confrontation with Grace
When it comes to confrontations, you need to prepare ahead of time. Remember, rules without relationships lead to rebellion. If you are always telling and never asking, you may find your team refusing to follow company directives. On the other hand, if you build relationships with your team, listen to their opinions, and let them know they are valued, they will be more willing to play by the rules.
Relationships can help prevent “some” confrontations, but not all of them. People make mistakes (period). And since mistakes are inevitable, it’s important to anticipate them. Please create a list of problems you know could arise and then think about how to respond to them ahead of time. Once a confrontation comes up, it’s too late to prepare. If you didn’t think about it beforehand, you could react with emotion and end up offering a mean-spirited response that makes your employee feel like you don’t value them. Put your mind in front of your mouth to avoid saying something you’ll regret.
Being a good leader may seem simple, but please, don’t take it for granted. Always look for ways to improve as a leader – continuous leadership development is critical. When you keep growing and improving, your company will have a solid foundation to grow and expand.
To hear more advice from Dr. Corbo, listen to this episode of TNFR Podcast.
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