How about this for a shocking statistic? In a poll of 3,500 UK professionals conducted by City and Guilds, 73% said they had poor leadership during the pandemic and a lack of good soft skills was the main culprit. For example, leaders were lacking in empathy; they didn’t listen, and they had very little connection with their teams, this dramatically impacted on motivation and performance and all of this at a time when a good relationship with a manager was more important than ever before.
Listening, empathy, and genuine connection are such underrated leadership skills and yet they are not only needed now, but they are important skills for the future. The good news is these are skills that, as a leader, you can develop yourself with a bit of work and commitment.
To help get you started try these 3 key exercises.
1. Get some feedback – Be brave and ask members of your team how you are doing, either by asking them or if you want a really objective view ask someone to facilitate some anonymous 360 feedback for you.
2. Call each member of your team for no other reason than to understand how they are doing ask questions like:
Help me understand, tell me how are you are feeling?
What impact is this having on you?
What do you need right now?
How can I help you?
Then - most important of all, LISTEN.
Top tip: Rather than saying ‘I understand’ say ‘I want to understand’. This is powerful because it’s not making any assumptions and suggests you care enough to listen.
3. Set up a team meeting that’s designed to help your team reconnect and have a chance to talk about their challenges and current situation – facilitate this Story Sharing: To foster participation, trust, and engagement, leaders of resilient teams often encourage team members to map out their life’s journey, including highs and lows, and share highlights with the rest of the team. In being vulnerable, the team creates an environment where compassion and humility are welcomed.
Give them a try and let me know how you get on, I would love to hear it!
If you want more on how develop your soft skills, look out for my new book “STAND OUT “ available for pre order on Amazon now!