Toughen up cupcake… and say thank you to your leader

Leaders have a whole host of responsibilities to juggle to ensure their team and business are performing. Sometimes it can feel totally overwhelming and like they’re being pulled in a hundred directions at once. On top of their own daily tasks, a leader needs to:

  • Create psychological safety
  • Keep their cool and not freak out at bad mistakes
  • Develop as a leader and work on their strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop each individual, in the team and in the greater organisation
  • Reach targets
  • Set the tone of the culture of the business, and police it
  • Focus on employee engagement
  • Live up to the business values 

I still come across many leaders (and I include myself in this) that have a lot to learn. It’s an ongoing process and not always an easy one. Yes, all of the points in the list above are crucial, but wait…

It’s time we also look at the employee. Engagement is a two way street – it’s not just about what the company does for the employees and how the leaders show up and develop their team.

I facilitate team development programmes for a living and I am extremely passionate about it. The outcome is high performing teams and nothing gives me more pleasure than to see a team thriving.

But I have to share this little nugget of motivationif you are working for a leader who is really working hard – trying all sorts of things to develop themselves to make sure you have all that you need to do your job and more – it is time that you also show up to the party.

In all my years of team development work, I have seen first hand how leaders need to change behaviour but, in the same breath, how employees just sit there expecting more and more and more. Complaining about every little thing and not even considering what they do well – all those extra miles their leaders go to every single day to make their team’s working lives easier and better. Since when is that OK in the working world?

So, this message is for you, the team member – the person reporting to someone else who is working their butts off to make your environment incredible, especially during a time of remote working, trauma and chaos.

Instead of looking at everything your leader is doing wrong, why not try the following:

  • Look at what they are doing extremely well and say thank you – a little gratitude goes a long way.
  • Identify where they can improve and share your thoughts in a CALM and nurturing way rather than as the demanding or entitled employee that only takes and never gives

Ask your leader if they can share with you where you as the employee can improve – in situations where you might come across as too demanding, or where you make life difficult for him or her.

I have an incredible team. We hold each other accountable. If I do anything or expect something that is unrealistic, boy, do I hear the banter around it. BUT, what I also get from my team is an incredible amount of appreciation, offerings of support and loyalty.

That makes me want to grow more and makes me want to provide an even better working environment for them.

If you are being led and cannot see the good in your leader, or if you don’t want to support him or her, how are you any better than them? 

Don’t just sit there and wait for your leader to decide to pay for a course for you. Take initiative and sign up for a course that you enjoy – and make sure it is a course that will also increase your professional development. It’s time to take some ownership of your environment and do something without waiting on it.