Monday, 9 December 2013

How does your boss make you feel?

Maya Angelou the famous author once wrote that people will forget what you said, they will even forget what you did, but they will never forget how you make them feel. In the context of Leadership, this observation is particularly true. I have worked for many bosses in my time who have evoked a range of emotions in me some have made me feel important, valued and understood while others made me feel disregarded, unsupported and even bullied. The issue here is that our feelings ultimately drive our actions. So if we feel valued, understood and important we are far more likely to go the extra mile for our boss than if we feel that they do not trust or respect us. The leaders I have had most respect for in my career had the ability to: • Understand my perspectives • Feel what I felt and • Sense what I needed from them The first point came from a genuine desire from my boss to understand me, what I do, what worked and didn’t work for me. The second came from their skill of understanding their own feelings, which then allowed them to understand the feelings of others. What they were extremely adept at was reading the external signs of emotions in me and other people. The last point which is closely related to the second, was that my boss sensed not just how I felt about something but what I needed from them, whether it was support, guidance or perhaps a decision. In my experience the bosses that I worked for who were most adept at doing these things enabled me to feel was a valued respected member of the team. At the other extreme I have also worked for a number of bosses who lacked the ability (or motivation) to understand me, feel what I felt or sense what I needed from them. The consequence of this was I felt that they did not trust or respect me. Did I go the extra mile for them? Certainly not!