Culture and leadership have gained a bit of buzzword status in recent history. As brands become more conscious and millennials infuse more emotional intelligence into their modus operandi when it comes to business, we find ourselves amidst an opportunity to re-imagine how we approach building organizations (groups of people working towards a common goal).
If we’re asking ourselves a question about how we manage people, perhaps the most poignant question is, “Is managing, working?”. Because the unavoidable truth seems to be that in a rapidly evolving world, what we need to press towards a better vision of the future isn’t more managers. We need leaders.
At EmpowerFi, we’ve been very enthusiastically boarding the culture and leadership bus and investing in learning courageous practices of being with the people we lead and connect with through our work (which inevitably and fruitfully bleeds into our personal lives). The holiday season represents the perfect time to infuse an ethos of gratitude and connection into how you are with your people. Here are our current favorite ways to connect with and invest our team that you can start implementing today.
1. Learn together Right now, our team is reading Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, with a weekly team rumble led by our resident Culture Engineer – Stef. This work gives us time to truly be with one another as people and to learn about one another’s patterns. What that gives us in our leadership, is vital information about how each person needs to be met and led. With this work comes an awareness of how everyone operates and what they need to thrive in their roles. Pick a book (or any piece of material) that offers something your team wants to work on or learn and dive in together.
2. Catch people doing something right All too often in management, the focus is on where people aren’t performing instead of where they are excelling. Pay attention to what your people are working on, and seize opportunities to celebrate their wins and successes. If someone only ever gets called into your office when they’ve done something “wrong”, how do you suspect they’ll perceive you as their leader, and how they’ll feel about working with you? Everyone loves and deserves a gold star for something. Don’t be stingy with them.
3. Practice active listening Truly listening is an art form. Most of the time we’re just waiting for our open window to jump in and respond to someone and share our perspective, wisdom or insight. Let people know that you’re hearing them, that you’re really with them as a listener. Responses like “What I’m hearing in what you’re saying is…” or “Let me repeat back to you what I’m hearing to make sure I understand.” are great ways to communicate that you care about what they’re sharing and experiencing.
4. Invest in the whole person A great exercise to do with your team is to identify and share everyone’s individual core values. This creates a moment of real connection and lets a team really see each other for the person behind the role or job description. Once everyone has done the work to declare their values, have them place them somewhere visible. Check-in as a team quarterly to see where everyone is in relation to their values, and how you can support each other in realigning where needed.
EmpowerFi specializes in creating new brand identities, and revitalizing sluggish branding