In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher shares the importance of proactively reassessing ourselves as leaders, whenever we want.
Russel tells the story of how we look to established dates like New Years, or fiscal year end, to learn and refocus our efforts. To reinvest in what's working and address any failures. But it's important to understand the power in not waiting.
As leaders, we have the power to take in information daily and use it frequently to improve our leadership, our teams and our organization. We shouldn't be waiting for a yearly survey to understand our employees and support them. Russel breaks down how identity fits into our reflection, the questions we could ask to understand our relationships and when we can start to make things better (spoiler - anytime).
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We divide time up as humans because that’s how we keep track of it.
In the work world, it’s definitely no different: quarters, year- end, fiscal year end, seasonal, etc. It’s how we mark our success, review our failures and recalibrate for that next time frame.
It’s kinda what we do at the beginning of the year. When everyone looks their calendar and think of a do over – New Year’s Day. Once many get back from holidays (if you’re lucky enough to have that time), we commit to doing better. To rethink, refocus, reimagine what the year ahead could look like as an employee, as a leader, as a colleague.
It's right there in the calendar. We have to flip over the date to mark the occasion so why not make it one that is also an opportunity to start over and improve.
So I’m sure you’re asking this question as you’re driving in your car, going for a walk or run or maybe you’re one of those shower podcast types… no judgement.
Why the hell am I talking about New Years now? It’s not even close to that time of year? Fair. But my point is we don’t have to look at a calendar to start over. We can do it anytime we like. Every day. Every week. We don’ have to wait.
Some organizations only check in with their employees once a year. Should we wait for those results to start caring about what employees have to say? Answer: no.
Relationships are something you establish and nurture every day, in every interaction, in every word use and step taken. And not taken. Think of the strongest relationships you have in your life. Friends, family…
They didn’t happen overnight. And they stand out as the “strongest” of your relationships because of the connection. That understanding that there’s trust and safety. Those relationships are sometimes easy to maintain, others not so much. But the pay off is great.
Relationships at work should be treated the same.
So tomorrow, I have a few questions I want you to ask yourself:
· How happy are your staff? How happy are your staff's staff? How do you actually know?
· Think of when a team member shared something personal with you? How did you react? And did they feel safe to do it again?
· Do you only hear from the same people over and over? Could there be more diverse voices in the room?
The thing is, we talk about employee engagement and culture and retention but could we be more intentional in making that part of the DNA of our organization and for us personally? Are we the kind of person that takes in that daily information and consciously makes an effort to do better? Every day?
Identity comes into play a lot here. Identity is defined as the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is.
It’s like the story of the leader who goes to an inspiring 2-day conference, learning about all the ways they can improve the workplace culture. They get so fired up that they can not wait to come back to the office to put all these amazing ideas into motion.
But when they return, they return to the same building, the same office, the same desk the same walls, the same people…and they don’t do anything. Because their identity isn’t the person that does those amazing things. Tactics don’t matter if your mindset doesn’t change.
So take that into that do over approach.
Who are you today? Who will you be tomorrow? Is that a person that knows the answers to the questions I asked? Is that a person who rethinks and refocuses any and every day to improve the workplace? Or is it the person that waits until New Years or that next conference…and maybe doesn’t do anything?
No matter what day it is on the calendar, we have an opportunity to do better.