Values in an organization start at the top. As a leader in a dealership, your values and your personal character will be reflected in how your company operates, how it affects people, how its culture is defined and cultivated and ultimately its success.
That is the fundamental Leadership Lesson — your values and character matter.
Defining character and values might seem complicated, but this is a good list of characteristics that are both humble and universal:
- Thinking of others’ well-being.
Leadership is an art and a science. And it can be learned and observed in others. Researchers at Google and Facebook have conducted extensive studies to determine the most effective leadership strategies, discovering three simple changes that, if you practice them, will improve your leadership effectiveness and performance.
1. Support Your Team, Don’t Lead Them
From the data on leadership at Facebook, we can learn a fascinating and counter-intuitive strategy. It all starts with a critical shift in mentality. Managers don’t “lead” teams at Facebook, they “support” them.
Here’s one thing you can do to immediately increase your effectiveness with your company: Stop saying you “lead.”
Whenever you are about to say “the team I lead,” catch yourself and shift your attention. Instead, teach yourself to say you support a team. This one-word shift, from lead to support, alters how you view your role as a leader and changes everything.
Try it for one week. Never doubt that it’s the smallest changes that make the biggest impact — even something as simple as changing one word. Know the people in your dealership will notice this subtle and significant change and will appreciate it.
2. Encourage & Welcome Escalation
A study found that 85% of employees are withholding critical feedback from their bosses.
We only do what we feel like. And if people in your company or department feel like they’ll get in trouble if they come to you with an issue or that it’s futile, they won’t come. Without open and transparent communication, there is little room for innovation, collaboration and engagement with your employees.
A few years ago, Google began an initiative to study hundreds of its internal teams and to figure out why some teams rock and others fail.
As Google crunched its data, a concept called “psychological safety” emerged. It’s now one of the most important things their leaders focus on creating. It means you operate in a manner that people feel safe coming to you with problems, challenges and improvements.
There are two simple things you can do to create psychological safety. First, encourage and welcome escalation and concerns by showing appreciation when it happens. Express genuine appreciation and do it as personally and publicly as possible.
Second, ensure everyone talks in meetings. There are ways to do this that are part of the next Leadership Lesson.
3. Everyone’s Opinion Matters
Remember, your job isn’t to lead, but rather to support. That means removing the obstacles that are in your team’s way. One of the biggest obstacles you can remove is the fact that many of your team members are holding themselves back, either because it may not be a value in your company or they fear escalation. Or, they are more introverted and don’t feel compelled to share unless asked. You must take actions to ensure everyone talks and contributes in meetings. Whenever you hold a meeting, try this:
- Make a list of all attendees.
- Place a check mark next to people’s names when they talk.
- As the same extroverts start to speak again, engage the “quiet people” by asking them for their input. Do this not by calling them out specifically but as a way of getting input from everyone.
By giving someone a push to become more visible and showing interest in their opinions, you are making them know that they matter. Through this change in your style, meetings will spur collaboration and open communication. They will demonstrate values you want for your company or department.
If you learn and use the Leadership Lessons, you’ll not only increase your effectiveness but you’ll be changing the way your people work together.
These lessons come from Mel Robbins who focuses on personal effectiveness for many Fortune 500 leaders. She is the author of “The 5 Second Rule,” the No. 1 audio book of 2017.
The 5 Second Rule is a simple, one-size-fits-all solution for the one problem we all face — we hold ourselves back. The secret isn’t knowing what to do, it’s doing it.