People have an intrinsic value that the best leaders know how to ascribe or give notice to.
In some instances a leader can devalue a skilled employee yet that same employee with the right boss can be edified where their talents and contributions and intangibles are noted.
A mined gem can look rough and the layperson can say that it may have some value, but it takes a skilled gemologist to see the gem for what it really is. Once its true inherent value is attached that gem is now known for what it has always possessed.
Think of the basketball player who doesn’t put a very good stat line but the intangibles they bring are highly coveted by the coach. They may be a fantastic team player, committed to their craft and helping their teammates get better without regard to their own numbers. Their presence on the team and value given by their coach will pay more dividends than someone who is deemed below average by the coaching staff.
I personally know of three executives who each were brought aboard their respective companies poised for growth. In each instance, they dismissed the majority of their entire staff’s input because they felt that hardly anyone had the experience or intellect that they did. And in each situation that led to a mass exodus of talent. One company never recovered and sold to a competitor. One downsized and is still struggling to be relevant today. And another is stagnant and slowly loosing footing in the marketplace.
All because those leaders did not find a way to value their people and the talent that was laden within them,
It’s what leaders see, and how they bring that out in their people, that can make or break an employee. And many leaders unfortunately devalue their people. Some even devalue everyone who doesn’t fit a certain profile, or make the boss feel good, or have certain background.
And many of those “outlier” employees seek elsewhere for those leaders who know how to truly value their gifts and talents.
How leaders can give or import value onto others can make a tremendous impact on your organization. Everyone you’ve hired has a value, and a good leader will find it and bring it out in their people.
Any meaningful change in our personal or professional lives dictates a change in mindset.
In other words, if we want lasting change, we need to think differently than we did before.
To draw from Apple’s late 1990’s campaign of “Think Different” we should always challenge ourselves to not just think of other ways to do things, but to think in other ways.
Our thought processes can be like wallpaper – barely noticing it’s there as we pass by. We need to be willing to be self-aware enough to look at our thoughts and how they impact our behaviors and see how we can transform our thinking to produce a better self.
It’s not about producing better results, but about producing a better self. When we make the necessary changes to improve ourselves, the result will speak for themselves. Sometimes they are not better finances, sales, fame or followers. Sometimes it’s being more respected, relatable, and credible.
Change your thoughts and think different. You are the product of your thinking and sometimes we need to approach our thinking in new and impactful ways.
Have you ever heard the saying:
“It’s not what’s said, it’s what is unsaid that speaks the loudest”
Some leaders operate under the “need to know” philosophy when it comes to communicating important news to their employees. Others might give a partial statement or narrative and leave key elements of a message out. And still others might not say anything at all in an effort to not give attention to a situation.
The problem with these approaches is that it ignores the basic human nature to “fill in the blanks” when no information is given to important matters.
Employees, both individually and collectively, need proper communication and correct information. They need to perform their jobs, to understand the health of the company, and to know where their future lies within the organization. And when that information is not given, they will start to fill in the “blanks” or gaps to make sense of what is going on.
When your people fill in the gaps left open by your communication, they oftentimes come up with the wrong conclusions. These lead to mistrust, panic, apathy, or division and threaten to derail the culture of the organization. And if they conclude the missing information correctly, this alos leads to mistrust of leadership that they weren’t trusted to be told.
Here are some strategies to communicate and fill in the blanks and close the information gaps in your messages to your people.
Here is what you can do to fill in the blanks before your people do:
- Jump on the communication immediately. This company should have had an immediate meeting with the staff and contacted everyone to explain the reasons for the events that transpired. The longer they waited the more chance for incorrect information to be manufactured and disseminated.
- Be upfront, honest, and transparent. Staff like it when you talk straight with them. Give them the faacts and be brave enough to have those difficult discussions, particularly if their is doubt or indicators contrary to what you’re saying. The more this occurs, the more your words carry weight.
- Give opportunity to listen and answer questions. By keeping an ear to the grapevine, you can gain a lot of insight into what people are feeling. Take every chance to talk with people in groups or individually to hear them and counter their fears and anxiety with the facts and reassure them.
- Speak to the culture, the mission, and the vision. Finish every conversation by leading people out of the negativity and forward looking to the bigger picture. This is not an attempt to falsely redirect, but rather to truthfully re-calibrate everyone’s thinking towards the overall goal and where you are all heading. The more culture and vision are promoted in your organization, the less likely there will be room for filling in the blanks with anything off-base. Your people will be more readily able to say what is congruent to the organization and squelch rumors and gaps altogether.
Keep your finger on the pulse of your people. Close those communication gaps and work diligently to fill in the blanks that lead to culture breakdown.