Modern thinking on the art of leadership and coaching generally teaches us to develop certain behaviours that enhance our ability to ‘get things done’ and achieve things through (sometimes more than ‘with’) others. In itself, this can be fairly neutral. However, before launching into the ‘get things done’ stage, it’s important to remind ourselves of our values, morals and healthiest behaviours and what they mean for the way we interact with people.
What we do, and what we don’t do, influences how we make people feel – and that has a flow-on effect to their productivity, capacity to learn and innovate and ability to engage with others.
Here is an example in relation to technology. We all know that technology has advanced rapidly and generally expect that people may not have a strong understanding of the latest advanced software. However, people can get less tolerant with those who have little to no experience with the most basic technology – to the point of being dismissive.
Should people be up-skilling themselves in this area? Maybe. However, the simple act of being dismissive to someone because of their lack of skill in basic technology, versus taking the time to be understanding, compassionate and encouraging, can lead to two completely different outcomes. One demotes and disempowers them, while the other can give them the confidence to try. One potentially assumes broad incompetence, while the other leaves room to value and appreciate the skills they already have.
Our rapid-fire actions in the pursuit of getting things done can have unintended consequences. We can build people up, or not, in a matter of moments. The end task never justifies the means of steamrolling over people or treating them as merely facilitators of our own short-term goals. The better strategy is to remember the power of our interactions with others and to consider each interaction as an investment.
People excel when they feel good about themselves. Generally, when quality performers feel confident, assured, valued and supported in their endeavours and actions, they are positioned to contribute far more richly than when they feel undervalued and underestimated.