Leadership And Changed Ways Of Thinking
This past week I was coaching a client from a major international law firm. For quite some time, this person has expressed disappointment at a perceived lack of appreciation by her employer. Her attitude has traditionally been that she works extremely hard, overcomes significant obstacles, deals successfully with significant complexity, and helps the firm achieve success.
Nevertheless, she has believed that those in control at the law firm do not appreciate her going above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis and working successfully with many constituencies within the operation.
Our discussion reminded me of the book “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Gary Chapman and Paul White. That book, a follow-up to Chapman’s book called the “The Five Love Languages,” points out that people value different measures of appreciation from their managers and leaders.
As leaders, it’s very important for us to know what the people we lead value. Frequently, our teammates value different things. The authors list these rewards as possibilities:
1. Words of Appreciation – Using words to affirm people
2. Acts of Service – Actions speak louder than words
3.Receiving Gifts – People like things to feel appreciated
4.Quality Time – Giving someone undivided attention
5.Physical Touch – (appropriate touch) – e.g., Pats on the back
Do you know what each one of the people you manage values. If not, I suggest you ask them.
Many years ago I purchased the book “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann for each person on my team as a Christmas or Channukah gift. Myy sons had recommended it and I had read it myself. I thought it was a very powerful parable about life and work. I was convinced that my teammates would enjoy the book as much as I had.
My seven teammates thanked me for the present, but only one later commented to me about the value of the book after reading it. My other seven teammates never mentioned it.
When I articulated my disappointment to my older son Jared, he said “Dad, you love reading. You read all the time. You also enjoy reading professional development books. Do you know that every person on your team also enjoys reading those kinds of books? In fact, do you know for a fact that other people on your team enjoy reading in their spare time?“
I had to admit that these thoughts had not occurred to me. I had assumed that because I enjoyed reading personal and professional development books my teammates did as well. Yet we all know what happens when we assume. Don’t we?
Returning to my story at the start of this newsletter post, it was clear that my coaching client valued money as a show of appreciation. When her annual review was completed, she received almost a 10% raise which was highly unusual within this very structured law firm.
She was blown away.
She was shocked.
She was speechless.
Her manager explained to her that she was indeed very valued by the firm and that they wanted her to stay for the long term.
After much discussion, this client smiled through the Zoom screen at me and said “‘Larry, I guess I have to change my way of thinking about myself and the firm.”
Hearing a statement like that is music to any leadership coach’s ears. Real change only happens for leaders when they are willing to change their own paradigms and change their ways of thinking.
What ways of thinking will you change in 2022 in order to become a more effective leader?