The fondest memories can be made when we are in the fellowship of friends at the table. When you invite others to a meal, something very special occurs. If done properly, guests leave feeling satisfied and full on the inside and out. Welcoming others in should be as effortless as breathing. Never with judgment, rather purely acceptance. Because those who possess this gift truly understand that to welcome someone means that you must first create an environment where you are welcoming.
In life, leadership, and the workplace, we have lost the ability to invite others to our table. Instead, we create bursts of moments where staff come in and out of our lives without truly connecting. We don’t offer them the gift of our presence through quality time, connection, care and support. Like a meal we inhale and never truly taste, we whiz through leading people without forming proper connections. Leaders are left scratching their heads in wonder as to why staff are disengaged, unable to be retained and not giving anything close to 100%. In our day and age, leaders need to create warmth and invite staff in.
Why is it so difficult to do?
And why are we surprised when our staff are not truly welcoming others? The reality is we spend more time with staff than our own families. But, we continue to whiz through life and forget that people matter. Our connections with one another is what create meaningful relationships. It starts with failing to check in with our staff for things that are meaningful to them. How they might be managing when a loved one is sick or recovering from illness. What support they might need when we notice a dip in their performance or a change in their level of engagement. When it comes to leading people many leaders simply cannot admit that they are failing to make meaningful connections with their staff.
Leadership is a gift!
In your two hands, you can take staff to new heights or crush them causing despair. We spend every day working with clients who want to change the needle and improve employee engagement and culture. Leaders are often left paralyzed trying to figure out how to improve their culture and create engagement. Here are a few simple ways as leaders you can make a difference:
- Step back and ask yourself? Do I really want to genuinely know my staff and create a welcoming environment? The answer is simple, if you don’t–someone else will. Staff will be enticed to look for someone or something better. When you make them feel welcome they will “think twice” about leaving.
- Extraordinary leaders spend time every day in quiet self-reflection. They master the ability to self-regulate their minds and to look back on their actions to provoke change in their behaviors. When you self-reflect, you have the greatest opportunity to improve.
- As a leader, being vulnerable with your staff and leading by trust is essential. When your staff see you modeling the way, taking risks, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and acknowledging when your mistakes lead to failure they will admire you.
We could pen numerous articles on ways leaders can show staff that they are open, ready and willing to invite others in. Not just their favorites but seeking out staff who they are not drawn to. When you become open, honest, genuine and sincere your staff notice. But more importantly, you must show humility while being vulnerable. Here’s a news flash—you are NOT perfect! Too many times leaders believe they need to be perfect and in turn so do our staff. But the reality is your staff know your faults, even if they don’t have the courage to tell you. Staff who feel welcomed at your table will overlook them, instead of adding fuel to them. Be the type of leader who invites others to the table. Let them share in your feast and treat them like royalty. Not because you have to, but because deep down you know it is the right thing to do!
This article was written by Drive Consultant, Arleen Smith.