Leaders face competing demands, never-ending change, and constant pressure, so they must make deliberate choices about how and where they allocate their time. Consider for a moment, if you were to assess how you spend your working day, how much is spent with your team members versus colleagues, peers or clients? Also, when you are with your team, are you focusing on the how or the what? The ‘how’ is about working together and bringing out their best. The ‘what’ is the work or tasks that
at must be completed. Leaders frequently spend less time with their team than others, and when they allocate time, the focus is on the task. Consequently, the interactions can feel transactional and not create the space for deep connection. Balance the focus The Gallup group found that 82 per cent of employees see their leaders as uninspiring, only 15 per cent of employees are engaged at work, and only one in three employees strongly agree that they trust their organisation’s leadership. People frequently leave jobs not because they don’t enjoy the work but because they don’t like their boss’ style. Effective leaders show a genuine interest in their team members and in supporting their growth and career development. Build the foundation As part of this, they focus on establishing a psychologically safe environment where peopleare comfortable sharing what is working or not working for them and how they feel. It helpsif you, as the leader, role model self-care behaviours and create a safe space for your team to talk about their feelings. For example, be open with your team about your pressure points and what you do to manage stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Start noticing Leaders need to balance the pressure in their working day and be ready to spot the warning signs for their team members and support them. These signs may include feeling ineffective and more cynical, having reduced energy, motivation, and efficiency, and being more frustrated and irritable. When burn-out hits, people often turn to unhealthy crutches such as drinking, eating poorly, and relying on substances and other harmful mechanisms to get them through the day. You will want to notice if your team members are working excessively hard or doing lots of overtime, yet their productivity is waning. Noticing is only possible when you spend genuine and quality time with your team. Listen deeply Create opportunities for open dialogue. Have a program of regular check-ins at a group and individual level. When talking with team members, remember you may be unable to fix the issue or agree with their perspective. What you can do, which can have a valuable impact, is make them feel seen and heard. By doing that you demonstrate to them that they matter. Many times, just by hearing what they say, listening with compassion and showing a genuine interest in what’s concerning them, you’ll have given them exactly what they need. Create connection Relationships and connections are at the root of all human existence. When you have strong relationships at work, it provides a support network for you to talk through challenges and get advice. As the team’s leader, building supportive and trusting relationships with all team members is crucial. People want to feel like they belong to something, and this is hard if they think they are out of the loop and disconnected from you or their colleagues. Find out what brings out their best and how the team wants to connect and engage with each other. Ask each team member what they need from you to enable them to be their best each day at work. Creating a thriving workplace isn’t about the one thing you do. It requires awareness, patience and persistence so that activities and support are consciously and consistently applied. Central to this is spending time with your team in a way that matters.