People leadership, due to its unpredictable nature can undermine potential; from taking up much of leaders and managers time at one end of the scale to a source of stress, anxiety and burnout at the other. Unfortunately those we lead do not come with operating manuals and we cannot “control” those we lead. We can however develop our own competency and abilities to manage ourselves and in turn how we relate to others more effectively.
If you find yourself tipping towards the stress end of the scale due to the challenges of people leadership it may be time to evaluate your approach both to how you lead others but also how you are managing yourself. At Insightful works we take a bespoke approach with leaders who find challenge in this area, working from the premise that life/work experience to date will often inform where a leader is at now and any development plans must be designed specific to each leader. We can however share some helpful tips to help you “see the wood from the trees”; if you are a leader who:
- Regularly replays conversations in your head that you have had with team members in an attempt to figure out how you could have managed conversations better?
- Draws regularly on your partner/husband/wife to act as a sounding board for challenges you have encountered with leading or managing others in the workplace
- Can attribute many restless night’s sleep to ruminating over upcoming or past difficult conversations with team members
Begin with the end in mind
In the infamous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests that we programme our own lives and in order to be effective at working towards anything we need to “begin with the end in mind”. Many clients of ours who experience challenges such as we have described above are so caught up in the challenge and associated drama that they regularly struggle to define what they want to be different. For most a “good ending” would be to leave work at work, to not have constant thoughts and often feelings of dread around interacting with specific team members or to feel in control of the people management aspect of their role. Once the end is defined (sometimes there may be many endings) it is much easier to start looking at what needs to change and what internal resources the leader has to make this change a reality. Which brings us to tip #2:
Understanding our preferences, why we think, feel and behave as we do equips us as leaders to manage ourselves better and in turn interact more effectively with those we lead. Self-awareness is not however something that we do as an activity on a once off basis, it requires continuous effort and reflection to equip us with the ability to be perceptively in tune with ourselves and our emotions, as well developing sound situational awareness which can be a powerful tool for leading a team. Developing self-awareness not only makes leaders more cognizant of actions, emotions and biases — it also helps them develop greater Emotional Intelligence in the process.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
Sparrow and Maddocks posit that to be successful as a leader we require effective awareness, control and management of our emotions and awareness and understanding of others. Emotional Intelligence involves two aspects of intelligence ; intrapersonal intelligence which is being intelligent in picking up what is going on inside of us and doing what we need to do about it and interpersonal intelligence; being intelligent in picking up what is going on in other people and doing what we need to do about it. Combining intrapersonal with interpersonal intelligence enhances our ability to better notice challenges as they arise for us and make better choices about how we react as well as developing the competence to recognise when issues may be brewing for others and choosing appropriate responses.
If you are noticing that people management challenges such as the ones we have described in this article are constantly on your mind, book a free discover call with us today to unpick some of these challenges. http://bit.ly/3oXaIri
Reference: Maddocks, J and Sparrow, T (2000) The Individual and Team effectiveness Questionnaires, JCA Occupational Psychologists, Cheltenham