Be True to You
When you are your genuine self, your mind is open, at ease, and the best of you comes out
I remember when I got my first manager role, I joined an established leadership team. There was a specific culture of meeting the mission, fairness, and robust policies to achieve both. Everyone had the same accountabilities, the same requirements, and every staff member was held to the same standards. Sounds great, right?
It wasn’t. The environment was inflexible, sterile and not reflective of real life. There was angst between staff and leadership. There was no trust. Staff engagement was low, and callouts were high.
In my core, I knew this was not the right approach. But I was the newbie. They had more experience. They had an established department critical to the mission. So, I conformed.
And it felt bad.
Once I moved to my next leadership role in a new division, I decided I needed to do things differently. What was MY idea of good leadership? How could I transform my style to get the most out of my team and their talents? And how could I do that in a more humanistic manner?
The result was a high functioning team. A team that supported the mission and each other. A team that stretched to continuously improve. A team that achieved outstanding results. A team that took care of each other, through good and bad times. One that I am incredibly proud to have been a part of, even all these years later.
How we did it:
I cleared my internal slate. Over the first 6 months, I developed a new style, with the help of my leadership coach. I determined what MY core values were, my definition of servant leadership was, and went to work.
1. Listen and learn:
I learned about my new team: what was working well, what was not, what was important to them and how they served the organization.
I observed how they interacted with each other, with customers and stakeholders, and leaders. I got feedback from all levels.
I met one on one to learn about the individuals. I met with the teams to learn how they worked within themselves. I met with the division to learn how they all worked together.
2. Build trust within the team.
We held a team-building retreat that focused on bridging the gap between very different teams of experts
I coached every day- individually and in teams.
I solicited feedback often
3. Build new processes and update ones in need
We asked ourselves how we could replicate success through our standard work
We dissected our existing processes to make slight, and not-so-slight improvements
4. Implement Plan/do/study/adjust and lessons learned
Implementing some simple Lean strategies helped the team always look to improve. Plan-Do-Study- Adjust models and pausing to learn from each activation became HOW we worked.
5. Check in regularly
At the one-on-ones
At team meetings
At division sessions
6. Celebrate every accomplishment in this journey.
Every new behavior, every new process implementation, every new success
Did you notice how I used “I” and “we”? That is purposeful. I knew I could lead a team on the right path, but they ultimately needed to have trust and buy-in to do the work with me.
Being true to you means knowing what leadership is in YOUR core. It’s a journey of discovering how you want to show up for your staff, your mission and your colleagues. And most of all, how you show up for YOU.
Ready to develop your true leadership style? Visit www.thesinhagroup.net for a free consult.