Changing the Conversation
As a leader, have you ever considered that you are often the topic of dinner conversation of your employees?
Think about it for a second in relation to your own life. How often do you find yourself talking to your spouse or family members over a meal about things that happened at work and how your boss treated you? It happens quite a bit, doesn’t it? So why wouldn’t your employees be doing the same thing in relation to you?
Viewing the impact of your leadership through the eyes of how your employees describe their workday can profoundly shape your leadership style and practices.
When your team members have dinner with their families, are they talking about:
- How you micromanaged them to the point where they question their own competence and believe you must think they are idiots?
- How the only time you interact with them is when you find fault with something or have negative feedback to deliver?
- How you only care about yourself and impressing your own boss?
- You not having a clue about their jobs, because you never took the time to learn what they do?
- How untrustworthy you are because you frequently break your commitments?
Or does the dinner conversation of your team members center around:
- How good you made them feel when you praised them for a job well done?
- The faith you showed in them by giving them a challenging new project?
- How you built trust by admitting your mistake in front of the team and apologizing for your behavior?
- How you went to bat for your team by advocating for their needs with senior leadership?
- The great example you set by jumping in to help the team meet a critical deadline?
I’m not suggesting the goal of your leadership style should be to make your employees your best buddies or send them home with warm fuzzies at night because you’re such a nice guy. We all know leadership is a tough gig. It’s not unicorns and rainbows every day.
What I am suggesting, however, is to view the ultimate impact of your leadership through the eyes of your employees. Start with the end in mind. What is the legacy you want to leave? What do you want team members saying about the impact of your leadership long after you no longer work together?
You know your team members will be talking about you over dinner. What do you want them to say?