Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! One of the biggest keys to leadership is having strong self-awareness and a willingness to change. Regardless of your industry, these skills will help you create and maintain a strong team culture and get results. In today's edition of Hanch's How-To's, we're addressing the necessity of self-reflection in leadership and two things you should do to become more approachable.
1. Self-reflection is a Leadership Superpower
Leaders who excel at self-reflection take time to think, examine and review their actions regularly. This practice helps them know their priorities, understand where they fall short, minimize surprises, and build stronger teams.
However, self-reflection is a challenge for many leaders because they are afraid to be wrong. Facing your mistakes and learning from them takes courage. Leadership is self-taught, and failure is a part of learning. Self-reflection is an excellent regular practice, but it is even more critical when you have made a mistake. When reflecting on the situation, focus on what happened, what went well, what did not, and what could have improved the outcome.
2. Be more approachable!
Regardless of your personality or leadership style, becoming approachable is something that every leader can achieve if they are willing to be intentional. Approachability creates transparency, trust, credibility, and authenticity. As your level of approachability increases, your team's morale, attitude, and cooperation level will improve.
Asking, "How can I help?" is a powerful tool in the leader's tool bag. This simple phrase conveys so much -- it signals that you're listening and willing to help create solutions. Just be careful when navigating this that you are empowering others instead of taking over. Make sure you allow people to answer your question before offering suggestions. Be clear on the next steps and follow up with actions you have agreed to.
Ask for help
Asking for help is something great leaders do regularly; it is not a sign of weakness! This practice is especially important for leaders taking over a new team. Asking for help allows others to shine and ensures you get the best solution and the right person doing the job.
Block out a time for self-reflection before bed every night for the next week. Using a journal is a powerful tool to help you collect your thoughts and create a record of them so you can look back on them later. As you journal, ask yourself what went well during the day. What did you prioritize? What did you avoid? If you had any conflicts, what do you think you could have done differently in the situation? As you continue this practice, you will find it easier to open up and be honest about what happened and how you can improve.
Many leaders think helping their team members means taking on their tasks. While it may be appropriate to help an employee who has an unreasonable workload in a busy season, you want to avoid making rescuing your employee your automatic response. Brainstorm how you can help your team without taking on tasks for them. Helping them could include coaching them on time management, helping them identify tasks they need to delegate to their team, or developing skills that will help them be more efficient.
If you want to be approachable, ask your team for help. You can do this by looking for their input and perspective or delegating a specific task. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness! It shows that you value your team's skills, expertise, and input and can improve team morale. Commit to asking for help in one area within the next week.