Last week I discussed how having empathy as a leader does not necessarily make you "too soft", it just might mean that you need to ensure you have your accountability skills in check. Read more here at Having Empathy as a Leader.
Being a Connected Leader means that you can see those you lead and work with as the humans they are. That you take the ugly with the exceptional, the emotional with the stoic. And through all that you understand what needs to be addressed and what just needs a comforting ear.
Now no one is saying that you need to take over as your team's therapist, but in a lot of ways getting close like a therapist allows you greater insight into how to hold your team accountable than that boss who puts up walls and says there's no time for emotions in the workplace.
Stay with me here.
Not Too Soft Reason #1 - Firstly and most importantly, if you are a Connected Leader, you rarely need to have accountability conversations. If you do, they are with the new and developing staff. Why? Well, because you have a team that knows you are there for THEM every single day. That you support them, you look out for them, you encourage them and all of that (plus a little more sauce) drives performance. I have found that once I am connected with my team, they have no desire to take advantage of me or their peers. And if they are having a difficult time, they not only find ways to get their work done.....they move through their difficulty pretty quickly.
Not Too Soft Reason #2 - The obvious benefit is that you have a true understanding of what makes someone tick and ready to take on the day. You also learn how to still bring out the best in them when they are having a hard time. This means if they are having a hard day or two and they aren't progressing or delivering, that you can have the right kind of conversation with them that is both healthy and supportive of their mental state and still allows you to address how to get to completion. One doesn't negate the other.
Not Too Soft Reason #3 - When you are able to show "all of you" and accept your team as "all of them", you have the true definition of a team. They will pull together, support one another, and make sure that no one fails.
Not Too Soft Reason #4 - As a leader, part of your role is to develop those in your charge. The development includes working with them to find healthy ways to work through their own adversity or challenges. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and we don't know how to move through those times unless of course, your boss is a Connected Leader.
Be a Connected Leader.