Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Keeps You Up At Night?

In business and in nonprofits it is said that leaders need to share and be open. That showing they have challenges, that in some way they are vulnerable, builds a stronger team. Showing the leader is human, they are approachable and they are open. Trusting your team with your inner workings. This thinking around “emotional intelligence” makes sense. The thinking of connecting to those you lead via self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills to connect on a wider level outwardly. 

The trouble is how to best do this while not over doing it. Being too emotional and too challenged can have other issues as generate uncomfortable results for the leaders of a business. 

Not trying to fully explore and drill down on this topic but wanting to give one tidbit of thinking on how, as a leader of a team, a business, a nonprofit you can share and open up with those you coach, lead and manage I have used this simple thinking at the end of meetings, closing on memos and a way to share with the group that is not feeling threatened and/or also not like you are wigging out.

Share the words and the thinking around “what keeps me up at night?” 

I have done this with my boards at the close of a meeting. It helps show them that my worries, my thoughts are there and either align with them or not, but that I am seeing more than just the plan, or the presentation, or the agenda of the meeting. 

In a memo to a team that I am leading at the end I will write on this same point at the close, “what keeps me up at night is one major thing X and would like your thinking on how to help me with this…”

At the close of an all employee meeting.  It is not a rant. Or a long rambling of things, I will just say “and in closing there are three things that keep me up at night, when the house is quite and the kids are in bed and I am alone with my thoughts. They are X, Y and Z. Not looking for answers on the spot, but wanted to share that I have some things on my mind and wanted to share…”

You will be amaze how it gets people thinking, sharing and helping in a way that is very different that a directive, or a challenge, or a freak out. By sharing on a personal level what is in your mind and in worries lets the wider team gain buy in and active, personal connections. 

It is a simple thing that opens a new view into you as a leader and your team becomes closer to helping you and them succeed. 

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