It doesn’t take much for a leader to show she cares for her team. My company is wrapping up a ‘listening’ and training tour for one of our clients. The new CEO asked us to provide leadership training to help her managers and supervisors enhance their own and their teams’ performance and outline a list of feasible solutions she could move forward to help them, help their teams, and help their customers. However, instead of simply jumping in with a training program on enhancing leadership skills, we included a critical sequencing piece to the training solution:
Listen to the leaders as to what they need to perform better, then provide training on what is currently within their control.
To be transparent, we also immediately let the leaders know the information gathered during the sessions will be relayed to the CEO. We then include several opportunities in each session for the managers and supervisors to identify and articulate their individual and collective challenges and desired solutions. Without fail, in each session, the leaders have asked, “Please ensure she gets this information.” They want to be heard. They want their needs to be made clear. They want their CEO’s help.
They want to be heard. They want their needs to be made clear. They want their CEO’s help so they can do their jobs better.
There’s nothing unique in their request. It’s simply a sad reality: No previous CEO had listened to their frustrations before. Though many of the managers and supervisors have worked for this company for decades, this is the first time a CEO has intentionally asked them to vent and share their workplace challenges, staffing frustrations, organizational roadblocks, and customer service headaches. She’s the first leader to demonstrate she cares by listening to them. As a result, they’re leaving the sessions with a bit of hope that something will finally change.
She’s the first leader to demonstrate she cares by listening to them. As a result, there’s a bit of hope that something will finally change.
The CEO knows she needs to act on several issues her managers and supervisors are raising. However, by listening to her full leadership team, and then working with a smaller group on the prioritized list of issues compiled, she and they know what to focus on. They know exactly what bureaucratic, personnel, systems, and training issues to address and in what order. No other leadership team issues need to distract them. Because she listened, she can target the handful of specific issues that matter most and will - by default - positively impact other areas as well.
Again, there’s nothing terribly fancy or insightful in what this CEO is doing. However, what is insightful, is that she’s doing something intentional to help her managers and supervisors be more effective in their roles. She’s doing something her team wants more of: She’s listening to them.
Are you listening to your team?
Copyright MMXVIII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.