Summertime Lessons – Part 2: Warm Summer Breezes
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Last week I was out for my early morning walk. It was one of the first crisp mornings of late summer. There as a bit of fog in the valley, and the birds were singing. The chill of the morning, while very refreshing, was a little uncomfortable. If I remember correctly, it was 53 degrees when I left the house. About five minutes into my walk, a warm breeze came through the trees and enveloped me. It was such a welcome surprise and so comforting. Throughout my walk, I came across similar spots, and each time I felt the same warmth that was so comforting and inviting. As I walked, a leadership lesson came to life. Do I have the same impact on people when they are around me? As I go through my day, and I come across those who are chilled for whatever reason, do I make them feel warmed and comfortable, or do I increase the chill they are experiencing?

For some reason, there are those who feel they can influence people best through anger, coercion, and pressure. These all have chilling effects on our team and only reduce our ability to earn trust and gain the commitment we discussed last week. I saw a Harvard Business Review statistic that reveled 58 percent surveyed said they trusted strangers more than their own boss. The Conference Board reported that 53 percent of workers are unhappy at work. Compare that with the data that shows happy employees are 12 percent more productive.

Truth be told, I think we all know in our hearts that people just want to feel valued. They want to feel that we appreciate them and are thankful they are on our teams; that we see them as people who bring value to our team. Here are a few tips to help us get back on track:

  • Ask your team members for their opinions. I know this sounds simple, but just ask them what they think. Liz Wiseman, in her book Multipliers, reminds us that great leaders always share their opinion last.
  • Extend trust. Yes, you will be burned at some point in your life, but extending trust to others makes them feel valued, and commitment will follow.
  • Say thank you. Another simple one that doesn’t cost you a dime. Better yet, have your boss thank them. Now that is really powerful because it shows you were praising them to your boss.

Valuing people should be every leader’s primary responsibility. When we value our people, they value each other, the company, and our customers. That’s a winning strategy.

If you would like to know more about ways to value people, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 168 of The Next Page podcast as look at what works, why it works, and how we can do more of it.

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