Your desk and computer screen cling to you like an anchor. These two pieces of office equipment provide familiarity, closeness, and connectivity. Everything you need is right at your fingertips and a false sense of productivity settles upon you.
Overall, it’s getting harder and harder to step away from our desks and an imperceptible shift is transpiring in the workplace.
The Voice Through the Screen
The quality of the relationship between a leader and their team carries tremendous importance. It’s the cornerstone of many organizations. Trust is built in face-to-face interactions and listening sessions. When electronic communication becomes the norm and productivity measures are acquired solely from updated spreadsheets, something valuable is lost.
Your desk and computer screen might feel comfortable and familiar, but you have a deeper calling. You must venture out where the possibility of discomfort and challenge resides. In less comfortable spaces:
- Problems are identified
- Ideas are openly shared
- Voice inflection and facial expressions carry meanings that don’t translate to text
- A leader exists in direct service to their team
When convenience replaces meaningful interactions, your team’s trust and belief in you will begin to erode.
Taking the Unplanned Turn
If you love road trips, then you understand intuitively what it means to take the unexpected turn. On the open road there are any number of possibilities. If you set out with an open mind and a sense of discovery, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.
Unplanned twists aren’t only for road trips. Maybe you’re engaged in a conversation where the exchange of information is unremarkable in terms of productivity. There’s still an opportunity within that conversation. You might be able to:
- Connect with one of your team members on a personal level
- Assist with a question regarding personal growth
- Empathize with someone who is struggling
All three options are well worth the effort.
You must also be perceived as present and leading from the front when challenges arise. This is impossible to do from behind your desk. Crucial situations require a willingness to converse with your team and include them in solutions. Communicate with those who are closest to the problem. This not only reaps rewards in the moment but long after the crisis has passed.
One never knows exactly what will happen when stepping outside the office. However, you can be certain that your perspective will change. Be intentional. Commit time to being present. It isn’t an expense but an investment. The relationship between you and your team will continue to grow and you’ll be in a better place to gain their trust.
Maximizing the Moment
When great leaders happen upon an unplanned opportunity or crisis, they:
- Slow down
- Maximize the moment
By doing this when it matters most, they send multiple positive messages.
This is why state and national leaders visit areas dealing with difficult situations. Those leaders don’t lead from afar, they show up, engage, demonstrate genuine empathy, and set the steps for relief into motion. Even if such gestures sometimes seem symbolic, rather than practical, there’s no way to convey authentic empathy and support through an email or a press release.
These moments are not always serendipitous.
If you’ve planned a road trip before, you know there are some things you can anticipate. You can build an itinerary to take advantage of beautiful autumn colors or avoid a known rainy season. Likewise, in your professional life there are times of the month and/or production cycles when you can anticipate meaningful interactions.
Putting Ideas into Meaningful Action
Has your team reached a significant interim point of accomplishment? When you’re present to celebrate and praise their work, it provides real momentum for the remainder of the project.
Suppose you make the rounds prior to a holiday weekend and send everyone home two hours early? Your team will have the sense that you understand them and care about their accomplishments and struggles.
Great leaders are people with the ability to lead teams toward goals and ultimately accomplish them. People in our society have a strong desire to be part of a great team.
They recognize that working with a strong leader will contribute greatly to the fulfillment of that desire. When a leader is effective, engaged, and caring, their team will demonstrate levels of loyalty and commitment second only to the bonds of family.
Are you looking for exciting ways to transform your workplace culture? Connect with us today!
Tim, with his extensive background in education and management, is a great part of our Fired Up! team dedicated to inspiring teams and leaders. At Fired Up!, our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams, and align operation practices to engage organizations and drive breakthrough results.