Numerous studies have cited the health benefits of strong relationships.
In one study of 309,000 people, it was determined that “lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50%.” Where the focus is normally on healthy physical habits, diet, and exercise, this study underscores the even greater need for healthy relationships.
This applies not only to personal relationships with friends and family; it extends to relationships you have in the community and in the workplace. A growing concern among educators and others who work with children and young people is a breakdown in socialization skills. Technology has impacted social development; and this impairment presents itself as limited concentration, increased impatience, inability to cope with stress, and an overall withdrawal from real-world face-to-face communication.
As a business owner, you are beginning to see the impact in your workforce. This is new territory.
And yet, it is not.
While the basis is new (addictive technologies), the premise is the same. As a leader, one of your biggest challenges in the workplace is what it has always been: communication.
How can you help these new members of your workforce grow in the areas of communication and leadership?
1. Start with where THEY are.
These new entrants into the workforce are people, just like the veterans. And while they may communicate differently, they do have ways of communicating and connecting. This may mean adjusting your methodologies a bit in how you communicate with them – quick texts and chats versus lengthy emails and memos.
2. Bring them to where YOU are.
As a strong leader, you have acquired good communication skills. If you think about it, when you first started, communication may have been a challenge for you as well.
But you learned by
- Being asked questions and accepting the challenge to respond
- Leading a group project or initiative that required you to directly communicate with your team
- Growing into a role where you were required to negotiate with vendors or deal with difficult customer or client issues
- Speaking to small groups and then larger and larger audiences.
- Going out into the community to serve as a networking ambassador for your organization
But here’s the thing…you didn’t go from your first day on the job to negotiating, speaking, or networking immediately. These are roles you grew into, step by step.
It is likely that you had strong mentors along the way – leaders who knew how to challenge you to extend your comfort zone while developing you within your strengths zone.
Now it is your turn to mentor.
Start by asking questions and allowing your new team members to research, think through solutions, and then verbalize their responses.
If they make a mistake (and they will, because everyone does), help them break it down into what went well and what could have been done better. In a society of immediacy, this teaches them that the best resolutions come after this thought process occurs. More importantly, it begins to strengthen their problem-solving skills, which helps them grow stronger and more confident in decision-making.
As they develop the skills for communicating and decision-making, escalate the challenge by giving them an assignment to lead their team on a project or initiative.
This not only grows the employee; it also helps them gain respect among their team members. It is important that you, as a leader, know the person and their strengths so the project or initiative is one they will excel in leading. This is not about making it easy so “everyone gets a trophy.” It is about helping them find their true value by overcoming a challenge in an area that is true to their strengths. It is about helping them earn that trophy that is uniquely theirs.
The bottom line is that you are not in a leadership position to build employees who will do what they are instructed to do. Your greatest success will be when you have built leaders who know what to do and are strong enough to face challenges, make solid decisions, and communicate effectively.
In mentorship, you will find leadership legacy. And in being mentored, your new recruits will grow and experience true success, while developing strong relationships.
For some great resources on how you can better communicate with and grow your team, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
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, Deb helps leaders and their 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.