“Being a leader means creating a safe environment for staff to be who they truly are and give their best.”
In my career, I have received a lot or commitment from my staff. They were determined to give all of themselves to me as a person instead of to the business. The fact that people point out that detail felt quite overwhelming at first, but as time passed by, I started to appreciate that gesture more and more as I ground to realize what made them give me their loyalty. I spent many hours overthinking how this loyalty thing worked. I had to stay close to who I am as a person to figure it out. I did what made me who I am, I communicated and simply asked them, “Why?” The number one answer:
“Because you are good to me and you are always there for me whenever I need you!”
I couldn’t really wrap my head around it at the beginning because I thought I was always very aware of my actions and the effect they have on others. I really missed this higher level bringing me closer to the essence of leadership.
I can hear you think, “we found ourselves a yes man”, however, nothing is farther from the truth. Giving your very best doesn’t mean you can’t say no or have a decent discussion. But before I give an answer, I ask and listen. Then I try my very best for my staff! Because don’t we all just love to give that yes and help them to get that day off or make the next step in their career and see them grow! And if something isn’t possible or doesn’t seem to work out, I give an honest explanation and some free advice! After all, that would be what I would have wanted from my manager
What did I really do to get their loyalty? I always gave them my very best;
- They knew what I expected of them;
- I treated them with respect;
- I offered them a listening ear;
- I treated them as human beings;
- Even when the chances of giving them a yes were smart to none I tried;
- When they walked in for the same time for the same concern, I would still take them seriously but tried to manage their expectations.
Leadership means taking care of your people by creating ideal circumstances for them so they can give their very best to your customers, your business, and If you are lucky enough, to you. To manage your expectations, when people give you their very best, it doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes or never call in sick.
Mistakes make people human and offer a valuable opportunity to grow. Mistakes happening; taking responsibility is a choice! A very wise choice as people tend to forgive you and your mistakes more easily if you take responsibility, apologize, and offer solutions to prevent this from happening in the future. To reach that stage of cooperation is amazing, not common, and worth embracing.
It’s not always easy, and I believe there is a turning point. Because it’s not always just you and your staff members, there are colleague managers, there is your manager or your director, and they have expectations, targets, and they rely on you and your team to meet those! I figured it is hard at times to find that balance and pick to put what first. But if you treat your employees as proper adults, take them seriously, inform them right and treat them with respect, 99% of the time they will give you their loyalty and their very best. Lead with trust and respect!
What triggers your loyalty?