Some friends and I were comparing techniques that our parents used to clear the scary monsters from our bedrooms. Opening closet doors, shining flashlights under our beds, shooing them away with a broom, my dad used his “dad” voice to scare them, or comforting words to assure us that we were safe in our house and the monsters couldn’t get in. Phew, we remembered how good it felt to fall asleep, safely.
Flash-forward to today and your work world. What keeps you up at night? Certainly things like financial constraints, new competition, changing technology, uncertain regulations and the economy can scare us all. As leaders we also need to ask, what keeps our people up at night?
Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last, suggests that good leaders make their people feel safe at work. In his 2014 TED Talk, Sinek describes the responsibility leaders to behave in ways that create trust and safety at work, because “When we feel safe inside the organization, we will naturally combine our talents and our strengths and work tirelessly to face the dangers outside and seize the opportunities.”
I have worked with leaders who helped people feel safe by:
- providing opportunities to succeed
- supporting development and education
- recognizing success
- building self-confidence
- accepting mistakes
- encouraging new ideas
- treating people as individuals
Overall they demonstrated that they trusted their people and their work.
How can you use your “leadership flashlight” to keep the scary work monsters at bay for your people so that they can be fully engaged at work?