Inside thoughts create outward actions.
Have you ever experienced a blow up or rant by an employee that surprised you? You most likely had no idea that the anger was inside them because they had an outward serene veneer.
I believe it is a leaders job to help their people alleviate this buildup. It is similar to the way a parent helps guide the emotions of their kids. Poor parenting controls their kids emotions. Good parenting sees the emotions trajectory and tries to simply guide or lead them in their proper path. For instance, if I know my kids are frustrated with one another I know where that frustration is going to end up – a fight. So, as a good dad, I distract, remove or preemptively direct my kids to other things.
Adults are not the same way. Feelings are much more complex. However, in the same way, I believe it is our job to help other leaders and / or those you lead into the right trajectory for the benefit of the team and the mission. Here then are three thoughts that I believe are important to help manage, route out or direct.
1. The Condescending Thought: There are certain people who have a knack for being know-it-alls. Often times this trait is simply a person trying to prove their worth to the organization or to other people. Condescension comes in the form of sarcasm, brown-nosing or direct tones. The best way to deal with condescension is to deal direct, while understanding their insecurity. Here is how I addressed this issue years ago with a leader – “Bob, did you hear yourself in that meeting? It sounded like you didn’t value anyone else’s opinion. Now, I know you want the best for the team, but sometimes you sound like you are the only one with a good idea.” Another way to approach this is to ask this, “Why do you feel like you need to prove yourself? We all know you are an expert, but your influence will go up if you can communicate what you know with a bit more humility.” If you don’t manage these thoughts then you have effectively isolated a teammate who becomes a laughing stock to the company and a cultural eyesore.
2. The Resistant Thought: Do you know anyone who never wants to go along with the team? Fire them! Ok, so I am joking, kind of. Herb Brooks, the infamous coach of the 1980 Olympic hockey team was known for his brashness in getting the team to become a team. If a player smarted off or spoke even the slightest dissension, Coach Brooks would be in their face. He knew the mission to beat the Soviets would require the deepest level of teamwork and he couldn’t afford any resistance to the bigger goal. I have let all-stars go because they were not bought in. I don’t think we do enough to route this out of our teams primarily because we, ourselves, may not be bought in enough to do it. Resistance kills momentum, teams and culture.
3. The Worry Thought: Worry is simply fear and fear can cause all types of damage in the form of gossip or irrational behavior. Sometimes the worry comes in the form of insecurities over the persons job or the organizational uncertainty. While other times worry comes from the personal life of that employee and their issues. If it is personal, then a relationship first is vital. Help them know you are for them and work to serve them with their personal issues. If, on the other hand, the anxiety is coming from their views of the business, your job is to move in and provide clarity and resolve. Sometimes their worry is warranted, many times it is not. Be real, be quick and show resolve. When people see strong leadership, even in the midst of the storm, they begin to see a bit of hope.
There are many more thoughts that need to be addressed, managed or led. The key is for each of us to become proactive leaders with the thinking of our people so we don’t suffer the casualties of their misguided anger or potential desire for approval. Proactive leaders who are bought in and truly care for their people are pure gold to organizations. Lead your teams well.Related posts: