Leadership can be many different things to many people, but I think everyone can agree that relationships with people are at the heart of having anyone follow you as a leader. Most of us can trace back our successes or failures based on our relationships with other people. As we develop and grow we touch the lives of others on a daily basis. Leadership is not about how many people report to you. It’s really about the meaningful connections you make to elevate your people to the next level.
With that in mind, here is a simple reflection technique to help you develop and strengthen your relationships leadership. Remember it’s not about you. Every night, on your commute home, ask yourself three questions. It’s an honest internal dialogue about how you performed as a leader today.
What did I contribute today? (A Value Question)
We all ask the big question, “why am I here?” I believe we have the gift to touch somebody’s life and create a positive memory. A servant leader is inspired to add value to somebody’s life. Peter Drucker, the father of business management said, “The effective leader focuses on contribution. He asks: What can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and the results of the institution I serve?” In other words, did I make a difference today? Did I add value to create a competitive edge for my team and as a result, the company is performing better?
Life is expanded when we make a contribution. Meaningful contribution adds abundance of victories to your quality of life with other people.
What did I communicate today? (A Mentoring Question)
Leaders have to communicate daily with their teams. It’s a big part of a leader’s responsibility to ensure on-going, two- way communication is part of their daily agenda. Ask yourself: did you provide new information today? Did you share something about the company’s direction and goals to increase people’s awareness of the overall big picture? How did you inform, educate and explain new initiatives to your team? As you reflect on these communication questions, remember it’s about your ability to communicate clearly so that your team has the ability to carry your vision forward to deliver the results you communicated. Many leaders get frustrated when their teams don’t understand why a certain initiative or a project didn’t meet its objectives. This is the time to reflect on how well you communicated and engaged with your teams to create that sense of urgency to your goals.
Who did I thank today? (A recognition Question)
We are not alone in producing results. As a leader, it’s up to you to set the tone for a positive working environment. Leaders are judged by the environments they create. Are you saying “Thank you” regularly? Are you recognizing and appreciating people’s efforts and contributions? Do you encourage positive feedback? Take the time to reflect whether you helped and facilitated that type of environment. As leadership expert John Maxwell says, “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."