As a team or project leader, how do you win the trust and loyalty of your team members?
Start by learning to see the good in everyone so that the people on the team feel accepted for who they are.
Accept People as They Are?
Isn’t it part of the job of the leader to develop people? That means we get people to change, doesn’t it?
It IS, but you cannot support the development of anyone who feels like you think of them as a flawed person who needs to be fixed. They will resist all your attempts to develop them until they feel that you accept and like them as they are.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? You have to accept a person as she is before you can influence her to change in any way. This is not the same thing as accepting everything she says and does.
What Leaders Get Wrong
Most of the leaders I meet do not understand this. When we talk about improving performance or developing the team’s capabilities, the first thing they think of is the things that are wrong.
“I have a team member who is very experienced. He is quite good at his job, but he is not open to feedback. Every time I give him a suggestion, he argues with me, whereas I have team members who are less skilled who are very open to feedback.”
My question to someone who says this: “Do you like and respect this person? Does he know it?”
I ask because if he doesn’t feel your respect and acknowledgment, why would he take direction or feedback from you without being forced to? Would YOU want to listen to a boss who doesn’t recognize your value if you had a choice?
With Feedback, Intention is Everything
This all has a big impact on the way you give feedback, the way you train people, the way you mentor or coach them.
If the intent of the feedback is to say, “You aren’t very good, and now you’ve done something wrong again,” I suspect your feedback will fail.
Why not change this to “You’re good. That’s why I think you need to hear this feedback from me, and why I want to talk with you about a better way to handle these situations.”?
If your intent is to serve, people will feel it and will work with you. If your intent is to correct someone who you don’t really acknowledge to begin with, good luck.
Accept people as they are, then try to influence them to become the best they can be. Reverse that process (try to change them so that you can accept them), and you’ll waste a lot of time and cause a lot of needless heartache.
If you’re interested in the evidence behind what I write, check out this video from one of the most well-respected leadership researchers in the field: https://www.coursera.org/lecture/emotional-intelligence-leadership/watch-the-positive-pea-and-negative-nea-emotional-attractors-4GRcY.
Yours in learning,