About a year ago, a very large client of mine had one of his managers commit suicide. As I was discussing it with him and asking him,” but didn’t you notice anything?” “No,” he says, ”everything seemed fine.” “Did she act differently in any way?” I ask him. “No,” he says, not that he can think of or that he can remember. I ask, “but didn't she say anything? Didn't you pick up any vibes?” “There there were a couple of times she came in, she sort of did discuss some of her personal problems but it didn't seem like a big issue at the time.” “Was there no way that you could have seen it coming?” He says “no, everything seemed fine. She went home from work and the next day she didn't come to work. They found a dead, she had shot herself.”
This made me think whether we really are in tune with our team, do we know what's going on with our team? No, I'm not saying you must party with them or that you've got to live in their pockets and know everything of them 24/7, and exactly what's being done in their lives. But surely you can build your relationship with your team. You can find out what they are thinking, what's driving them.
What are the questions you are asking, and are you actually hearing the answer correctly? Or are you just going through the motions?
As a leader, do you hear what your team is saying? Or asking? Do you hear their needs, their ambitions, their desires, their requirements and what’s preventing them from being the best team member? Or are you caught up in all the other distractions that are preventing you from connecting with your team fully?
As leaders today, we are confronted by so much white noise, noise of voices shouting around us and everything else around us that distracts us. Bottom line, investors wanting a return on their investment, production targets, climate change, global pandemics, human rights, animal rights, economic downturns, earthquakes in oher countries, even your bills and your targets and your deadlines.
All of this is white noise that is creating so much din in the background and so many voices and shouting in the background, that you as the leader are not hearing the one voice that you should be hearing. The one voice that really matters! The voice of the team. Your team members that are depending on you to guide them to lead them to show the way to give them the vision. They are reaching out to you calling out to you and because of all this other white noise, you're not hearing them.
In his letter to the Galatians. Paul writes, in chapter six, verse two, that we should carry one another's burdens. How do we do that? If we can't hear what these burdens are, and they don't always have to be problems, they could be anything -- they could be opportunities for celebration, opportunities for recognition -- but we are missing it because of all that noise.
These days our mobile phones and other devices have far too many apps that are available which you can download. You can download the app to check your exercise, to track your eating habits, to do your banking online, to monitor the movement of your kids. You can download an app to do all kinds of things. What I have found is that most of the times when I have these apps open on my phone, it's as if my phone just freezes up -- as if it hangs. I can't move from the one app or page to the next. I can't go out of an app and I can’t use any other functions on my phone either. The only way that I can then fix it is to go back to the beginning. I've got to restart my phone. I've got to reboot my phone and start all over again.
Is that not maybe what we need to do as leaders? Maybe we should go back to the beginning maybe we should restart. Restart our leadership role. Restart our function in the team and go back and yet what the team wants.
Everything I have mentioned up till now is dependent on proper communication. We talk about communication so many times; as a speaker I communicate, as a trainer I communicate. and as a writer I communicate. But so many times we get caught up in the white noise and we think that communication is speaking up.
I love baking and I have discovered that there is a secret recipe that will make your communication with your team absolutely flop proof. That communication recipe is the key to breaking through the white noise and connecting better with your team. What you need is:
· one parts peaking,
· two parts listening, and;
· three parts understanding.
So, before you begin speaking to your team, listen. Listen to your team more than you speak to your team, but lesson for understanding, don't listen to formulate a response or, to want to respond to what they saying. Listen to hear what they are saying. Listen with your heart, not always with your ears and your mind. Listen to understand what they are saying to you. Filter out all the white noise and focus on what they need as a team.
As I've said many times, and you've probably heard from many other people many times, a team is not a group of individuals who achieve a common objective. A team is a group of people who fully trust one another, and that trust only comes through building relationships. You can only build relationships with heartfelt communication, yes heartfelt communication. Communication that is one part speaking, two parts listening and three parts understanding --understanding and listening with your heart.
So, reboot, restart, go back to the beginning. Go find out how to connect with your team and how to hear the voice of your team and hear what your team is saying or asking you.