Young and budding leaders tend to feel frustrated by a lack of response when they try to introduce new practices to their team or improve a particular way of working. When I transitioned into a leadership role, I was met with the same frustration. I felt I was playing my part but was not being responded to with the right level of enthusiasm by my team. As I later began to reflect on myself, I learned two major lessons that I wish someone had taught me before I took on the responsibility of becoming a leader.
I started by changing the way I used to understand the situation in my own head. I gave myself a chance to take a step back, learn, and improve. I changed my own responses whenever I faced a challenge with my team.
Before : They are not willing to understand me!
After : What can I do to help them understand me better?
Before : Why can they not see the value in this?
After : How can I better articulate the value for them?
Before : Why can’t they follow my simple instructions?
After : How can I explain myself better and make myself easier to understand?
Before : Why is it so hard for them to trust me?
After : How can I show authenticity and sincerity through my own actions?
This was possibly the most important thing that I learned in my life. When I see myself in the role of a father or a husband, my instinct now is to think of things I should be doing in these roles for the best of my family, rather than thinking of what I am entitled to as a husband or a father.
I understood that my team wasn’t there to make me look good, do my work, or make me a successful leader. I was there to serve my people. It was my duty to look after them, nurture them, and make sure that they felt good about themselves and their work. I started showing more care and empathy. I put my own goals aside and started looking after my people’s goals with genuine concern. This helped me transform my relationships with my team members, which led them to start trusting me more.