They are possibly the most overlooked resource to grow as a manager or team leader of any sort: Your employees, direct reports and team members that deal with your leadership on a daily basis. They have first-hand experience and – given the opportunity – are more than willing to give you a hand up the ladder of natural leadership.
Why are employees a worthwhile dialogue partner about my leadership?
Because they experience it, they see you act in daily live and they have an opinion. It does not take a guru or a personal coach per se to make you a better leader. Because good leadership is when leader and follower agree that it is good! Not when your guru says you’ve got his lesson right.
There is an inconvenient truth for leadership gurus: Not all people actually want a servant leader, some are happy to be able to rely on their boss as the person who knows best. Some like their bosses to be bossy.
Obviously, not all people appreciate a decisive boss who dominates their work. That is the whole point, there are many different preferences. You might even have different types on your team at the same time. Than it gets hard to determine what form of leadership will make them perform as best they can. As they are the only people that know what they really want, it is evident that a dialogue with them will bring you the most insight how to make them perform better every day.
Does such a conversation yield any worthwhile insights? Is it worth the time?
Yes! However, you might be anxious that your followers will take the opportunity to push their agenda and not so much engage in constructive dialogue. Well, our experience shows that this is not the case. Generally, people are willing to help you if a.) you ask nicely and b.) they see the value for themselves. Since you get better insights into their view on your leadership, they will most likely benefit from this increased understanding as well. Given that both parties enter the dialogue with honesty and openness, it will yield meaningful insights.
How do I do it?
A dialogue becomes a ‘good conversation’ if you are able to be yourself, to ask meaningful questions and have a shared intention to talk about the subject at hand. You might think that you already do that pretty well, or you might believe that such dialogue does not come to you naturally. In both cases, there is a pragmatic new approach to be supported in holding a meaning dialogue about your own leadership: the Leadership Dialogue Guide. Pragmatic and effective, this guide gives you that little extra nudge in the right direction. It provides you with a personalized dialogue guide that features an effective dialogue format as well as personalized questions that matter. Following the guide makes it much easier to focus and engage your own people – even if talking about your own style of leadership is new to you.
“We support your growth as a leader by facilitating dialogues with the people that matter most: your followers.”