As a leader, you are supposed to support your team in many ways when demands like reporting and control escalate you might forget WHY your position exists and the basic needs your team members have. When looking at some of the top organizations today we see habits of leaders that support both individuals and teams. What is interesting about these habits is that they are also connected to how the human brain works.
But are there really habits that we can learn to master that makes our organizations more successful? The short answer is YES. But let’s elaborate a bit on it.
Let’s look into some of the behaviours; there is a habit of being a good coach where you should be able to give specific and constructive feedback. You should also express interest in your team members by getting to know the people behind the employee. Moreover, empowering your team by giving freedom and being accessible for support is another important habit. And, last but not least, you need to be a good communicator by stimulating dialogue and both listen to and share information.
Sounds easy, right? But how easy is it to continuously have these behaviours in both good and bad business, and what can you as a leader do to develop and maintain these habits?
Well, you as a leader need to ensure involvement from your team. Likewise, you, as a leader, need to be involved in what your team is doing and team members need to be involved in each other’s work.
This can be done by several different activities. We have seen effects when; openness is created, challenging each other’s, sharing insights and giving feedback. But also when we do things together, even though it’s not required of us. Why not shadow a colleague for one day, both fun and developing for both parts?
By taking time and effort to be interested in what others are doing and why they do it increases both involvement and trust. And, as far as we have seen, employees are interested to be more involved in the workplace in general, and in their colleagues work in specific. But it will only happen if they are given the opportunity.
And, there is great joy in working in a place where people are involved in each other’s work!
However, there are also some basic human needs that you as a leader can facilitate that will support involvement. The third step in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is “social belonging”, it is interpersonal and described as a sense of belonging and acceptance in a team. And the fourth step is “esteem”, where a deep desire to be accepted and valued by others is central to ensure a stable self-esteem.
To maintain high levels of basic human needs in everyday work demands a continuous monitoring and dialogue for most teams and workplaces. We have also seen that by having a dialogue about conditions at work we become good at creating good conditions to work in.
As you can understand leadership is essential to make involvement become part of your workplace atmosphere. And by securing the basic human needs we also secure conditions to build trust.
We have observed that when big changes happen, and as we all know they have a tendency to do so now and then, a team with high level of trust and involvement get back on track and adapt to new conditions much faster than other teams.
Involvement shapes everyone’s knowledge and understanding of the big picture and makes them act accordingly. And thanks to trust it’s more likely that obstacles in these processes will be seen as common challenges since people tend to cooperate more when trust is built. So trust and involvement is the very foundation for an excellent work atmosphere.
So what about the connection to the human brain?
There are a few basic behaviours that stimulate the oxytocin level in our brain, oxytocin is a brain chemical produced when trust is built up. In relation to our interest, we highlight a few of the behaviours leaders can use to foster trust.
If you as a leader can recognize excellence, induce challenge stress and give autonomy for your team members you build trust, but also maintain basic human needs and develop involved employees.
Returning to the “WHY” you as a leader is needed we can now give you some tips to reflect upon.
– Recognise excellence in your team, and remember to find excellence in all your team members since it enforces the self-esteem and highlights their specific value in the team.
– Induce challenge stress by assigning a difficult but achievable task to your team or introduce activities that bring challenges to the team, could be a competition of some kind.
– Let the members of your team do their tasks without you micro managing them. Give them the freedom to decide when, how and with whom they should do their tasks.
If you can do these things you will get an involved team that builds trust and enjoy working with you and with each other.
Anders Wikström and Anders Gistrand