Answering Sure to These 5 Questions Means Your Management Abilities Are Higher Than You Suppose
Good leaders know the importance of prioritizing the interests of those who lead them over their own. This is not an easy task, even for the most accomplished leader. But it works because it inspires people to a higher purpose.
To assess and reflect on where you stand as a leader and whether you are suitable for the role, you should measure your leadership skills against the high bar of the following five questions.
1. Are you open to feedback?
Many autocratic managers view feedback as a threat to their power, self-esteem, and position, which explains why they oppose it and are often fearful and defensive in response to feedback.
On the flip side, great leaders see feedback as a gift to improve their leadership so they can better serve others and their mission. They value truth and honesty and different perspectives in order to improve themselves and their business. Even if the feedback is negative, a curious exploration exercise is set up to find out where something went wrong so it doesn’t happen again.
2. Is your work environment mentally safe?
Research from Harvard’s Amy Edmondson shows that leaders who promote a safety culture – where employees can speak freely, experiment, provide feedback, and ask for help – lead to better learning and performance outcomes.
When mental security is lacking, there is fear. And fear has a detrimental effect on achieving the full potential of a company. We just can’t be engaged or innovative when we’re scared. Some agree that fear is a motivator in the short term, but what fear does is to kill confidence – the ultimate demotivator.
3. Do you share the decision-making process?
Traditionally, an autocratic leadership style has been effective in getting results. But the nature of work has changed along with the workforce today. Success in management today requires collaboration – not orders. Asking employees to participate in setting the goals in which they will be involved is an essential part of engaging employees.
4. Are you communicative?
A leader’s communication skills are certainly a valuable skill. The greatest investor of our time, Warren Buffett, notes that investing in developing your communication skills – both writing and in person – “can add at least 50 percent to your value”.
There is a difference between a good communicator and a communicative one. When you are communicative, convey information consistently and clearly so that you are heard and understood.
Being communicative can also mean communicating a strategy or vision clearly and consistently over and over again. The message reinforces the why behind the work, gives all teams a common direction, and allows everyone to focus on what is really important.
5. Do you lead with love?
Before you roll your eyes, love in this case is a verb full of action that will help people prosper and benefit businesses on a human scale. According to Brian Paradis, author of Lead with Imagination and past president of the Central Region of Florida Hospital (now Advent Health), a $ 4 billion company with more than 25,000 employees, love has been one of the driving forces behind the interactions on his teams have changed.
“Love is powerful and when you pour it into something, things get better,” Paradis told me in an interview. He added that in the often harsh, transactional business environment, love is often viewed as a soft skill, “but the concept should be firmly anchored in everyday interactions and strategy meetings.”
By leading with actionable love and compassion, leaders set the tone for engagement in their companies.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.