As a leader who is naturally gifted with the ability to push things forward swiftly in the pursuit of goals, there was one very important lesson I had to learn early on in my career, taught to me by a beloved mentor.
That lesson centered on not only being an effective leader, but just as importantly, on being a considerate leader.
It can be challenging to strike the balance between these two facets of leadership, but in today’s workplace, it is essential. Today’s leader must be strong enough to power through the obstacles, but they must also be attuned to the people side of the business – both the people being served and the team who serves those people.
Leadership is as much about people development as it is about business development. To be truly effective as a leader, you must purposefully address each facet. You must learn to become a considerate leader.
How can you be a more considerate leader?
As the word indicates, you must consider some things. Consider means to think carefully with regard to actions and decisions. And this is really important to do when it comes to people.
Here are some considerations.
Consider asking the “Five Why’s.”
The “Five Why’s” is the model developed by Sakichi Toyoda for getting to the root of a problem. He had observed that the initial response as to why something happened was not the root of the problem at all. But asking, “Why” repeatedly would finally reveal the core issue that, once resolved, would prevent a number of future issues.
In this is also an underlying principle, and that is that you attack the issue, not the person. Attacking an issue brings people together to solve a problem. Attacking a person causes division. And yet, there are leaders in business who do this every day – they raise their voices to team members and criticize them in front of others, or, worse, criticize them behind their backs to others. This doesn’t solve the problem; in fact, it exacerbates it. Some leaders go so far as to criticize their team members in a public forum, just to make themselves look better. (Hint: It doesn’t.)
Good leaders will draw a person aside and examine the problem with them to determine its root cause and what can be done to fix it. This not only solves the problem; it also helps to develop a strong and loyal team member.
Consider application of strengths.
One of the greatest things a leader can do for a team is help each team member learn their strengths, and then ensure they are placed in positions that help them use those strengths at least 70% of the time. People are most content and productive when they can work in their strengths and not have to push through to try and overcome their weaknesses. Strengths-based placement benefits the team member and the company’s bottom line as well.
The other important thing to watch when it comes to strength is over- and under-application. For example, if a leader who has a natural strength for pushing through obstacles over-applies this strength, they could also push their people too hard. This then causes team members to over-apply their strength of helping, for instance. And then, in fatigue, they begin to give in to their weaknesses (under-application of strengths), which may exhibit as frustration or apathy. This leader then over-compensates their “push through” strength even more, which would further pull the team’s energy down. In the end, people leave.
A leader must apply their strengths to optimal levels and allow the team to do the same. If your team is showing signs of fatigue, apathy, or inattention to detail, check your strengths application level.
Consider realistic goals and timelines.
Good goals are just outside the comfort zone. They are clearly defined. And, a point many miss, they are set on a timeline to determine true feasibility.
It is exciting to consider a 10x factor for revenue, for example. But, given the resources, is it a realistic goal for a quarter, or is it a one-year goal, or even a 10-year goal? This depends on the business and resources available, but here’s the point: you must factor in the time it will take to make the goal a reality.
Many leaders know only one timeline: immediately.
Considerate leaders seldom require immediacy. This is because they plan ahead, with a good grasp of how much their team can accomplish in the time available.
Consider recovery time.
There are times when your team will put it all on the line for you, to help you and the company succeed. Where some leaders go awry is that, immediately, they will then roll into the next big initiative, without considering the effect on their team’s energy.
A considerate leader will ask, “Does the team need time to wrap up this project, document, and reorganize before we move on?” or “Do they need time to address lighter administrative work before the next big interval workout?”
If you have a high churn rate due to burnout, this is a definite consideration you will want to make.
A considerate leader is available for their people on a regular basis. They welcome collaboration and encourage their team members to lead in their areas of strength. A considerate leader will call on people during a meeting to ask for their thoughts and opinions. And a consider leader will listen when they speak.
Here’s the bottom line, and John Maxwell says it well: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Considerate leaders care. And genuine care builds trust and incredible support.
Even if this facet of leadership does not come naturally to you, it is a skill you can develop.
Consider the funeral of a CFO. She was a highly effective leader who led the company to massive levels of growth. But she was also a very considerate leader. Her funeral was attended by people from all levels within the company, people in the community, and her devoted family. Her influence spanned the globe. While she was respected for her amazing career achievements, she was remembered for the way she was always so considerate of each person who knew her.
Will you be remembered as an effective AND considerate leader?
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results