How Not To Be A Crabby Leader
If you’ve ever gone or seen crab fishing, you will notice that large crates are used to catch them and hauled aboard when ready. The crates are often teaming full with crabs climbing all over one another.
What is probably the most interesting thing about crabs is that if you lift the trap lid to the crate, the crabs will not generally escape. The reason is – as one crab vies for the opening, the other crabs will grab hold of the lone wanderer and pull them down back into the pile. The aggressive nature of a crab makes the individual one venture forth, but the rest of the pack pulling them down.
In what ways does our leadership pull down and prevent others from standing out of the crowd? Here are some ways to prevent being a “crabby” leader:
- Encourage people’s efforts. When an employee works to complete a task, no matter how great or small, acknowledge them. Instill the appreciation for the behavior by showing it’s welcomed. Let everyone know hard work is appreciated.
- Talk up your team members. Build others up by letting them know you believe in them, how their talents are valued, and remind them why they’re on the team.
- Don’t shoot down ideas. Any idea is a good one, even if it’s failed before. Validate people’s insight and willingness to contribute to making the organization better. Try to see the merits of each idea before they reach the feasibility stage.
- Watch the non verbals. Perhaps the most elusive step here, it requires you to be self-aware. Do eyes roll when an employee interrupts with an idea or concern? When they talk to you, are you engaged with 100% undivided attention? Are your arms crossed? Be aware of the cues you’re giving off, they speak louder than your words.
- Give opportunities to grow and develop. Find ways to develop others based on their needs, talents, and goals. Get your folks in the queue for promotions, increased responsibility, or personal and professional development. Help them stand out in the company and in their career.
- Recognize constantly. Take time to “catch them doing something right.” Find times to celebrate any achievement. Go to bat for your people when nominations for promotions or employee recognition time comes. Reward them in some way, any way possible, for their contributions.
- Say “Thank You” all the time. Every time a task is complete (whether it’s done right or not!). When they leave for the day. When they tell you of a concern or issue. When they hold you accountable. A “thank-you” helps acknowledge them and tell them you appreciate them.
By building others up, you allow your people to climb out of the pack and beyond the crate of obscurity. Don’t pull them down. Fish for them and pull them out of the water.