This week’s reading “3 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Staff”comes from the pen of John Baldoni, executive coach, author, and speaker.
Baldoni begins the column with this strange sounding advice: “Act like Mike Rowe” adding that this is the advice that he would give to leaders seeking guidance on how to connect more authentically with employees. For those who don’t know who Mike Rowe is, he’s the host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs program. His task is to interview people with tough jobs -- think inspecting sewers, for example -- getting them to feel comfortable speaking about their jobs. Baldoni derives three action steps from the way Rowe goes about doing his job:
1. Be the first to speak. Too often we stride through our staff areas eyes forward, almost daring people to speak to us. This sends a strong signal, “You don’t matter.” Instead, focus on finding ways to converse. Be prepared, and have the time, to speak up.
2. Keep it light. Open the conversation on a light note. Smile as you speak. Continue the conversation focusing all of your attention on that one individual. Don’t let people passing by steal your attention. Your goal is to make the individual you are speaking with feel as if they are the most important person around at the moment. This build’s the individual’s self-esteem and also trust in you.
3. Listen more than you speak. Once you open the conversation, it is important to drop any sense of “rank.” Focus on really listening to what the person is saying. This gives you, the leader real, information from the front line.
Baldoni closes his column by pointing to Mike Rowe’s TED talk <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRVdiHu1VCc&feature=player_embedded> which provides an example of his work. It’s worth taking the time to watch.
Making authentic connections with your staff is essential to creating genuine followership and it’s worth your taking the time to cultivate it, one staff member at a time.
So, begin now.