It was Confucius who said ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’. If you’re a leader however it maybe that there are times when life and work seems hard when directing your team or your business and it might be that you question your enjoyment.
For a business or organisation it may be that whether a person enjoys leading or not is irrelevant as long as results are achieved. For your staff (and customers/clients/stakeholders) it matters a great deal. As human beings we tend to see the world not as it is, but as we are[i], therefore when we are unhappy, out of sync with the direction we need to go in and getting our message across to others (i.e. a difficult message such as redundancies) we can see others as being obstructive, when in fact they like us are having difficulty with the message received.
Not only are those we are leading or managing affected, it can affect our family, friends and social life and our own health. We struggle to pretend to be engaged or committed when are delivering a message we don’t really believe in. We become incongruent.
When we are congruent, our response fits with the stimulus (question, event etc.) and when we are incongruent our response does not fit with stimulus (question, event etc.). Our tonality, physical responses, don’t fit with the verbal response. We leak this out to other people, we cannot not do that.
Think about a member of the family you know when you ask ‘Do you want sausages for tea?’ or ‘Can I change the TV channel?’ Although they say yes, we know from looking at them or the tonality that they mean no.
We have no control over other people’s responses, but we can manage, listen to, notice, watch out for and feel our own responses and do something with them.
So if we are incongruent towards those we lead, they will notice. It might not be immediate, but they will notice. So when we smile, it’s good to mean that smile. A smile is worth a thousand words, as are the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and some of those old fashioned things like opening doors for people, picking your litter up and putting it in a bin yourself, helping others with simple things like carrying and lifting. All of these are part of customer service and customer satisfaction. Oh yes and it is ‘your job’, ‘your response-ability’ because if it involves your company, your ‘face to the public’ – it speaks volumes about you and if or whether you care.
Try spending more time talking to staff and clients/customers/stakeholders to find out how change is affecting them and consider what you can do to improve both your and their situations. Learn to understand others better and how to improve getting your message across more effectively so that you and others feel better.
‘Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers, it is about being open to all the questions.’ Earl Gray Stevens
[i] Variations of this phrase are attributed to the Talmud, Anais Nin and also Stephen Covey. Variations are also used in the personal development world and Quantum Mechanics might even play a role here.