Workplace mediation – Helping leaders to lead
Why does good leadership matter? If the business is making money do you need your managers to be touchy feely and overly concerned about the trivial disagreements within a team? So what if your staff don’t like you? Why should you care?
If your managers are effective leaders your team will be productive and largely self-managing. This translates into staff retention who invest more of themselves in making your business a success. Look after your staff and they look after you.
If you Google ‘leadership’ you will get a whole host of options listing the 3,5,6,7,8, or even 14 traits of a good leader.
So, here’s a thing, If you Google the characteristics of a good mediator, many of those traits are the same! Here lies the clue as to how mediators can help leaders in the workplace to lead.
For me the holy trinity of leadership is
· Know here you are going
· Lead from the front
· Be the person people want to follow
It is the third which is the X factor upon which teams grow up healthy or fail to thrive.
How do your team see that you have integrity, trustworthiness, vision, courage or empathy?
Listening is essential
I once knew a manager who consistently acted on the complaint from the first staff member who raised the complaint before listening to the other person’s side of the story. This encouraged a tell tale /defensive culture with a frustrated workforce and mumblings of unfairness.
Hear the feelings
Empathy is how you understand the individuals within the team which means you can play to their strengths when the environment is challenging and develop their skills when circumstances are less demanding.
Be fair, be kind
Treat everyone with equal respect and do not shirk difficult conversations with underperforming staff. It is possible to say things people do not want to hear but it does not need to be said unkindly, although it does need to be said directly.
People will forgive you anything if you are fair.
Share the vision, let your team see a bigger picture
People perform better when they know where they're going. It gives them an opportunity to excel.
However, every team is different, working environments vary and the interactions between individuals change all the time so there is no magic formula which works every time which explains why changes in team spirit and morale might deteriorate unnoticed by a busy manager.
Be honest and accountable
If you have made a mistake. Own it. Admit it. Put it right if you can and do not be afraid to apologise. Most importantly learn from it! Nothing will do more to gain the trust of your team.
None of the above are incompatible with target driven business. They enhance it.
As a manager things go wrong and the reasons may not be obvious. The thing is not to beat yourself up, a workplace mediator can help find the root cause, re-establish the status quo, putting you back in touch with and at the front of your team.