The Leadership of Letting Go, Part 9

The second path to curiosity for leadership is to view things from another person’s perspective. It’s a common pitfall not to do this. In a recent coaching conversation, a manger was telling me about how one of their direct reports had turned hostile and rude. They couldn’t understand why. As we talked further, it became clear that this hostility had surfaced after a meeting in which the manager had helped their direct report reshape their project (and in the process handover a good chunk of the responsibility to another colleague). All very logical. Once they began to think about how this looked from the report’s perspective, they realized what had gone wrong and how they could raise this topic and get the relationship back on track.

Good questions to ask yourself include: What do they think about this? How do they feel about it? How does it impact them or others? Many leaders find it difficult to answer these questions. They protest that they have no clue what their people are thinking or feeling. Perhaps not. However, that’s an invitation to start learning and take the time to get to know their people. Some people protest that they don’t have time for this. Yet they never stop to count the cost in time, results and frayed nerves to deal with what results from not having invested in these relationships.

A word to the wise: only make this investment in your leadership, if you are genuinely interested in your people.

Photo: Sarahnaut / flickr

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