People are human, would seem to be self evident; yet do we treat our teams that way? Are they just organic machines? Of course not! Sometimes as leaders we become so fixed on our goals and KPIs we forget we are hiring flesh and blood, flawed, inconsistent and subject to outside influences. They are not unlike you and I.
Occasionally I wake up and don’t want to do today, it’s not my usual good morning God, it’s more like good God it’s morning. We all have families and relationships that aren’t always perfect; or is it just me.
Build in some grace and some flexibility for your team. Don’t expect 100% performance all the time. Allow for some ups and downs. Have the conversation when it’s not going well, not from a ‘you should’ perspective but from a ‘how can we help’ stance. Who knows what others are going through? Asking the question may help rescue a wonderful employee who is going through the mill, and just needs some time away to sort out an issue.
If we build team more as a mutually beneficial ecosystem and not a mechanistic structure, and take a relational approach rather than a command one, we get a better outcome. English educator and TEDx legend, Ken Robinson said, “We stigmatize mistakes. And we're now running national educational systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make -- and the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.” When people get it wrong, how we react will set the tone of ‘learning and trust’, or to one of ‘paralysis and fear’.
You set the tone for how others will treat team, suppliers and clients. So set a great example, have some compassion, take time to exercise some empathy and remember we’re all human, well most of us. The irony of this approach, often derided as soft, is high loyalty and better performance, and that, is what drives success.