Read on to find the long version of the message, but here is the short one...
Take the time to build caring, trusting relationships in your team and foster these. It’s amazing what can be accomplished by a group of people who care about and trust each other under any circumstances.
The demands on your time as a leader in a busy environment are plenty. Each one vying for priority against and more pressing than the other.
It is often easy to lose sight of where you truly should focus your time and attention.
Meetings. Seminars. Board reports. Crises. Opportunities. Planning. People. The list could go on, but the most important 2 items I have not mentioned yet.
1 - Your team. As a leader you will have those who follow you, but you will have a team of direct (or sometimes indirect) reports who do the real work.
It is so easy for some to equate their role and rank with greater relative importance or superiority. In truth, if you are in a position of leadership you are nothing without your team.
TAKE THE TIME TO MAKE SURE YOUR TEAM IS OK
Schedule and keep your 1-to-1 sessions.
Support them with what they need to do.
Check in on them personally to make sure they are not overdoing things and have enough ‘away and down time’.
Look out for those little signs they are redlining, out of their depth or disengaging.
As leader it is your job to trust your team and make sure they are OK; creating an environment within which they can succeed. Even if that environment is only within them as a sense of workplace psychological safety and support...because you ‘have their backs’ and provide the air cover and coaching as they need it.
2 - You. If you are not able to prioritise yourself to stay at ease in trying times, there is a very good chance you do not have the perspective to do anything else as you should be. Supporting other people takes immense energy and focus. You cannot give that if you don’t have it and you will not have it if you do not take the time to make sure you build it.
It sounds quite simple, but it is not. It is very easy to think everyone is OK, even yourself.
It is very easy, then, to relegate the 1-to-1 sessions to second tier activity...and to not stick to your own morning routine for preparation for the day.
It is very easy to suddenly find yourself swamped with a sense of ‘not being on top of things’ and not confident that your team is performing.
It is very easy for this to lead to a lack of trust and destructive dynamics with your teams and others.
Don’t let this happen.
Build the good practice.
Put in place the simple daily and weekly rhythm, that ensures you connect with yourself and with your team.
If its in the diary and you have all committed to always honour the sessions, then it becomes a chore to change or cancel them.
Always honour them. Even if you don’t use all the time you have put aside, always taking the time to meet, connect and...possibly just ‘shoot the breeze’ can have a huge impact on your day...or theirs.