I’ve coached many leaders and the one area that often is a blindspot is the area of deliberately caring about each direct report they have.
Many times I’m involved in situations where leaders have been directing their teams but haven’t built up any coaching equity. They merely set the team’s direction and monitor the output/deliverables the team produces.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Each team member knows their responsibilities but are not growing in their position. In essence, they’ve been orphaned.
A phrase I use in sales training, “People buy people first, product second,” actually applies to leadership, too. A direct report knows when you truly care about them and when you are on auto-pilot. They will follow your leadership if they know that you care about them as much or more than the results the team will achieve. Many studies over the years have shown that money is not a great motivator but that feedback and acknowledgement are….in other words, caring works!
To really lead, prove you care by:
- Understanding: Take time to learn the goals and challenges of each direct report. Know what’s truly important to them and their growth.
- Believe: Let them know you believe in their abilities, intelligence and drive. Tell them you believe in them.
- Develop: Co-create their Development Plan so that you have their authorship along with your guidance of what is feasible to achieve.
- Connect: Meet with each direct report regularly and on a schedule. Do not meet randomly to review their progress. Put regular check-ins on your calendar and don’t miss or skip them. This will communicate that they are important to you and you care about how they are progressing.
- Celebrate: When they have a win, acknowledge them for it…publicly. Let them experience the rush of the victory in front of their peers. Not only will they strive for more of it but, it’s contagious. Others will want that feeling too!
A client of mine put all of these in motion and relayed back to me that their direct report actually said to her, “Wow, you’d do that for me?!”
Results like this are amazing, along with the self-actualization and partnership this leader felt. Try the tips above and let me know what result you get!