Permission to Be Engaged
I had a conversation with an introverted manager who was offered a challenging leadership role. It made his knees buckle, but he took it.
During our call, he complained about his inability to improvise quickly in new situations. He negatively compared himself to his extroverted counterparts who seemed to have all the skills ‘great leaders’ need.
Studies on introverted leaders have shown that they are not any less effective than their more gregarious counterparts, and some studies have even shown that humbler leaders can inspire better-functioning management teams. (Atlantic Magazine)
It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert if you feel supported by your organization.
Feeling supported enables engagement.
I asked an expert on “great places to work” if putting employees first, as opposed to customers first, was the secret to creating a great organization. She said, “Not really.”
“It doesn’t matter as long as employees feel supported.” Amy Lyman
Trust – support – engagement:
If I don’t trust you, you can’t make me feel supported.
Support is meaningful when leaders are trustworthy.
7 ways to be a trustworthy leader:
- Don’t be a quick-fixer. Let people work through their own challenges and develop their own solutions. Giving space to find solutions is an expression of confidence in others.
- Prioritize the well-being of others.
- Be thankful for the privilege of leading, not entitled.
- Seek, value, and consider input from others.
- Do everything you expect of others. Don’t make exemptions for yourself. If you expect initiative from others, practice initiative yourself. If you expect hard work from others, work hard yourself.
- Do hard stuff with kindness.
- Encourage teammates to take on new challenges and be available to help.
Support is meaningful when leaders are trustworthy.
How might you create an environment where people feel supported?
What other keys to engagement come to mind?
I think it’s important for leaders to understand, what I suspect is inferred in the quote from Amy Lyman. While I agree with her premise, I think that what some organizations fail to remember, is that when said employees DON’T feel supported, it has an impact on how they treat their customers.
It’s also important for organizations to realize, that your support of them can’t just be in words, it must also be followed by action that demonstrates your support! Otherwise the trust is broken….and not just on that topic, but quite possibly all of them.
As my Grandad taught me at a young age, “once trust is lost, you may never get it back.” We should never be so busy, or have projects so ‘important’ that we fail to do what’s right for our team…..at work or at home!
Thanks Big. YES! Supported employees treat customers right. Cheers
I always say “Happy Employees make for happy customers!”
My friend Frank Navran always expressed this simply. He said, “Trust is the residue of promises filfilled.”
Over the years, I think that is about the best way of dis-un-empowering people. ALLOW them to trust you and then reciprocate and listen to them.
Thanks Dr. Scott. ALLOW – yes, people will trust you if you allow it. Nice
Trust and respect, cant lead without it and once lost hard to get back. If lost a leader becomes a manger and then more damage is done. That would be the time to move on and hopefully that person has learned. Oh and then some one has to come in and put it all back together. It makes me mad when I see someone promote up for the money and has no clue how to lead or do they try. Your blog helps keep leaders on track thank you sir.
Thank you Walt. I think the path back to trust includes the courage to say that we have screwed up. “I was wrong,” is part of the path to trust. (As long as we don’t keep screwing up in the same way.)
Great post, Dan!
Even if you are not in a “leadership” position I think it is important to practice all these principles. Pushing your coworkers to be better is huge. We all have our areas of improvement and we can each help each other get better. Find someone who has skills that may exceed yours in a certain area and vice versa. Iron sharpens iron. From this you can develop trust and support. Lead and make an impact from wherever you are!
Thanks JD. The idea of mutual challenge is so important. “MUTUAL” fits on so many leadership practices. Mutual feedback. Mutual trust. Mutual challenge.
Dan, Love your posts. Have you ever thought of compiling these daily posts into a leadership book? You have so much rich content now it would make a great book. You could put these posts into categories for easy to find chapter themes on different topics. “Leadership Nuggets for Leadership Freaks!” Best! Jerry
Thanks Jerry. One of these days. 🙂 … Thanks for the suggestion.
As we say at dispatch “in your spare time”. LOL Since we have so much of that right?
I recently accepted an Assistant Store Manager of a retail boutique. There are 175 stores nationwide. I have never been in an ASM position before nor have I ever worked in this retail store. I am however very knowledgeable with the product (handbags, shoes and jewelry). I’ve worked in retail for several years and worked for Sprint as a technical trainer for 29 years. Here’s my issue. As the new ASM, I’m tasked with “coaching” my “partners” on selling techniques, engagement, Inspiring and connecting with customers. How do I do that when I’m brand new and every partner has been there anywhere from 5 to 12 years. I’m trying to gain their respect while taking baby steps. If I try and coach them they look at me like, “really?” I chat each partner in as they begin their day with goals and positive things I see from them but I learn from them everyday and I’m struggling on the coaching part. And I hate role playing. Help.