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Being a manager means you track numbers, quotas, vacation days, attendance, and other tactical, measurable figures. Leadership is focusing on the people you have the privilege of leading while still keeping an eye and a handle on those figures that run the business, department, organization, or team and keep everyone employed and productive. Leadership is a matter of the head AND the heart. How do you balance the two?
Remember the People Piece
Sometimes as leaders with a title, we forget that the people we work with have lives, challenges, stressors, and other things going on besides the job you’ve asked them to complete. Not that these outside issues are to be used as excuses, but not everyone is able to ignore the rest of their life and maintain productivity. Nor should they always have to. The people you lead are just that, people. They’re not mere hash marks on a budget or a line item on a P&L. They have birthdays, anniversaries, families, kids, and hobbies. The more you remember that, the more effective you will be at leading them, regardless of what life may put in their path.
Invite the Emotions
Even Contagious Leaders have been guilty of saying “Check your emotions at the door”. We say it even knowing that only 25% of the population can actually do that and that most, merely stuff these emotions when you tell them to leave them outside. Give team members a place to vent emotions and share them or deal with them. Maybe it’s a 30 minute vent time in your office. Maybe it’s a designated wallowing area. You can make it lighthearted and yet give them an outlet, otherwise you masterfully create ticking time bombs who might have an emotional explosion at the most inopportune moment.
Roll with the Changes
Everyone handles change differently including the members of the team you lead. They won’t all accept it just because you’ve said “That’s it. Here’s what the new deal is.” They won’t all do it “because you said so” and most importantly, human nature dictates that we struggle with change of any kind. There is a process, a phase a, b, c, approach, that we go through to accept change. The Phase B is where we struggle with the emotional piece and if you as a leader interrupt or cut too short, this natural process, you’re likely to create more damage control than the change would have initially caused. Meet them where they are, give them time to work through it and express themselves, and then request a move forward. People came to you as employees with minds of their own and that means you may accept the change before they do, particularly if you created it. If you want great results on changes with the people you lead, meet them where they are with it and guide them through the process.
Some of these tips may sound like you are going to some extraordinary lengths for the people you have the privilege of leading. The reality is they have a job to do and so do you, yet the reality we often forget is that you couldn’t DO your job without the people you lead. Thus, meeting them where they are, remembering that they are real people with real emotions, may help you to stay productive without the long periods of downtime that happen when we ignore or forget these facts. If you want to merely be a boss who says “do it because I said so”, go into computer programming where you’re telling a machine to follow your every command.
Hi, great article about a vitally important subject. But you missed a very important additional piece… Leadership is a matter of not just head and heart, but also of the gut.
Recent Neuroscience findings have uncovered that we have complex and functional neural networks – or ‘brains’- in our heart and gut, giving scientific credence to the growing body of leadership literature showing how the world’s best companies are guided by leaders who can tap into the intelligence of their head, heart and guts. Combining these Neuroscience findings with behavioral modeling research conducted by the authors, a number of key insights have been found about the roles of the heart and gut brains for adaptive and generative leadership.
In the increasingly complex and volatile social and business environments that organizations operate in, leaders who are unable to tap into and harness the full intuitive and innate intelligence of their multiple brains (head, heart and gut brains aligned together) are at a distinct disadvantage. A new field of leadership development is emerging, known as mBIT (multiple brain integration techniques) and it provides organizational leaders with practical methods for aligning and integrating their head, heart and gut brains for increased levels of emergent wisdom in their decision-making, and for developing an expanded core identity as an authentic leader.
We’ve recently published a book called ‘mBraining’ about the multiple brains and how to communicate with and tap into their innate wisdom and intelligence. And we are wondering if you’d be interested in publishing either a review of the book, or an article about the application of our work and models on the heart and gut brains to training and leadership?
For further info on our work, check out our website at http://www.mbraining.com
Wow! This sounds very interesting and I’m intrigued. Happy to contribute an article and discuss further and look forward to making this a priority in 2014. When is the best time to reconnect? You’re welcome to email Janine in our office directly at Janine@contagiouscompanies.com and we can set something up to make sure we’re both on the same page. Thanks much! Great insights.