“In a crisis, people look to leaders’ hearts and their humanity, not just the brilliance of their minds.” Bill George, 7 Lessons For Leading In Crisis
In my work with leaders, I have observed that coaching highly accomplished professionals and staff to higher productivity and morale requires at least four basic practices. They are:
1. The leader must be personally productive. Few things are more demoralizing than a do nothing leader. People, especially high performers, are very aware of the producitivity level of their leaders. It is very difficult to follow someone you view as less productive and less committed than yourself. Followers are watching your numbers and activities to determine if you are putting forth the same effort and commitment you’re asking of them?
2. The leader shows colleagues and staff how they can be productive. Less telling and more guidance. Higher performers who are operating at Maslow’s higher need levels of self-actualization respond best to coaching, not telling. Individuals with higher self-esteem respond to leaders who ask questions that reveal potential and allows them to see new possibilities and approaches.
3. The leader eliminates those policies, practices and programs that impede performance. It is very easy to hide behind corporate mandates and blame the pressure on regional or national leadership. Leaders find a way to buffer those realities and create room for the local team to operate with the least amount of disruption possible.
4. The leader supports movement and personal accountability. The best leaders watch for results and pay attention to rationalizations. Alfred Adler, father of personality theory, explained that life happens at the level of events, not words. His conclusion was that only movement could be trusted. Leaders put more weight on action and call out those who rationalize inaction.