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Monica Wofford, CSP, teaches leaders to understand and improve their own leadership in using practice, skills, and desire as their three areas of focus.

Is your concern over meeting the many needs of those you lead keeping you up at night?

We all want that fantastic dream team and we want to let them be them and work with their preferences and help them be all they can be… AND we also have a job to do, a company to run, business to produce. Ah, the leadership balancing act. :-D

A client called this week asking how to handle a delicate situation and in our conversation we talked through the fact while at one time he disregarded completely the need to pay attention to any of the personality “stuff” and what people needed, he was now going in the completely opposite direction and the business was suffering. Where is that balance of developing authentic, high performing team members who are confident in who they are and feel you care about their needs, but also are clear of your expectations and consequences when performance does not meet the standard? It is perhaps this very question that keeps some organizations and leaders from making the effort to get to know and thus connect with those they lead. They believe that what they don’t know won’t hurt them and they couldn’t be more wrong. You can understand those you lead on a level that shows you value them as people and still be the leader they need. But how do you do that? Here are two key guidelines to remember:

We Train People How to Treat Us

This applies to all personalities and is a primary function of human behavior. If you let people get away with behavior you would not normally tolerate merely because you are trying to reinforce their confidence and authenticity, but fail to adhere to the standard performance guidelines, you will train those you lead to follow your lead and not the guideline. The goal is to have them follow your leadership and the example best to set is one that aligns their job with their natural skills and gifts, clearly explaining how to perform the job or the consequences for poor performance, and communicate those consequences in a way they will understand if their performance warrants that discussion.

Lead First, Befriend Second

There is no cardinal rule that says you cannot be friends with those you lead, and it often happens with positive results. Yet if you are appealing to the desire you have for everyone to like you and be their friend, instead of developing the respect you have for them and they have for you, you run the risk of them taking advantage of the friendship. Be the leader in the way they need you to lead and be respectful of their gift, skills, and talents, as well as needs for communication, recognition and motivation. This may mean you work on leading you simultaneously by learning how to modify your communication style. In other words, you can still deliver discipline in a way that an Entertainer will understand without having to make the conversation a party in your office.

Your role as a leader includes serving those you lead in a way that brings out the best in them and creates the best outcome for your customer. There are a number of ways this can be done but if that dream team of yours and your concerns about how to meet all their needs and work with them is giving you nightmares, you might be out of balance in your own leadership efforts. Remember that successful leaders learn to be themselves and lead themselves well before they attempt to lead others.

What are your leadership struggles? We want to hear from you so tweet me @monicawofford or send me a message on LinkedIn and let’s keep up the connection! Also, if you know someone to whom this particular Monday Moment would be most helpful, forward it to them or suggest they sign up at www.MondayMoment.com.

Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!


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