If I Knew What I know Now, I would Be a Very Different Leader

Have you ever encountered a situation where one of your employees is struggling to “get a grip”, and is so focused on their issues that their performance and productivity is simply suboptimal?

Be honest. As their leader, did you catch yourself thinking something along the lines of “just build a bridge and get over it!” The business cannot afford to carry this liability.

From a leader’s perspective, it has been described to me like this; the employee is either in or out. In other words they are on the journey with the organisation, or they are not. If not, they should be managed out as soon as possible. If they are fully committed then full steam ahead with training and mentoring. But what if you are in no mans land? What if your intention is to be committed, but something is going on in your life that is a struggle. We all lose our mojo once in a while and have life stresses of various kinds. Will your boss see you as one of the “out” variety, whilst you are away finding your mojo?

If you returned to being a manager now, would you do it differently?

I asked this question of a friend who had been a high flying executive/manager and who had chosen at the peak of her career to change direction to become a teacher so she could be more available for her kids. Since this change, life has thrown significant challenges her way. It has asked her to step up with far greater personal resilience than many of us have ever had to face. It is in light of this life experience that she gave me her answer.

“There is not a shadow of doubt, that I would be a different, a more open and compassionate manager and leader. I would not be so quick to judge and to pigeonhole who is committed and who is not. I would explore more with the “no mans landers” before deciding if they are useful to the business or not.”

All in all, her take was to spend far more time checking in, talking to and better understanding people before judging their level of commitment. Not to be their counsellor, but to give them a chance to feel heard, understood and supported, from one human being to another.

From my own personal experience as an employee, the times when my boss has taken the time to care, I have been aware how my gratitude for their understanding and support has impacted my behavior. It felt like I owed it to him to do my best to improve my focus and step up.

Playing this out will definitely take some time and patience in helping your team member back on the horse. Let’s consider the benefits…

  • Save having to find and train a new recruit
  • Role modelling how to support and care for a fellow employee
  • Building a culture that reflects your values
  • Who you are showing up as in this world?

Making a profit is one big purpose for the work we do, caring for a fellow human being is another. Do you value one of these above the other?

Hi there! I’m Jacqui Snider and I’m here to help you and your business grow and flourish.

As an Occupational Therapist and Workplace Culture Coach and Trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals and organisations develop better home and workplace practices that everyone enjoys being part of. With more than 35 years of coaching experience, I have personally coached and trained in excess of 350 leaders, bringing about transformational change in both individuals and teams.

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