“Leaders become great not because of their power but, because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell
When you’re business is at risk, it’s easy to go into survival mode. The panic sets in and you’re thinking about all the responsibilities lying on your shoulders, including all of the people you feel depend on you. Quite often in these times the feelings you’re struggling with don’t match your actions. To others, you might come across as only caring about yourself or the bottom line.
Especially at times like now, when the world seems upside down, it’s easy to see why words or actions could be misunderstood – who isn’t stressed at this point? Most people, especially business owners such as yourself, are trying to figure out what the new norm is going to look like on the other side of all this.
The thing is – your employees need you just as much as you need them, but in a different way!
So what qualities are they looking for in their leader right now?
Here are my top 5…
>> Empathy: Things are harsh – people are tired of being told they can’t do things their freedom has always allowed – pent up energy has built up. Don’t make it just about the business. Your team wants to know you understand their concerns or problems and feel their pain.
>> Commitment: Are you committed to making it work? If so, make sure it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Let your team know you believe in, and are unwaveringly dedicated, to them and the vision. If you want them to give their all then you have to do so first and foremost.
>> Courage: There’s enough uncertainty right now. I’m sure you’re feeling a great deal of it yourself, but now’s the time to exude fearlessness. Your employees are watching how you react to the current situation; they’re going to follow your lead.
>> Passion: Those that are truly passionate about something typically believe in it in their soul and show boundless energy toward this cause or vision. If they’re truly passionate about something they are willing to work tirelessly to make it happen. My experience has always been that it’s been easy to spot someone who’s passionate about something because you can see it in the way they talk, the things they do, the way they express themselves. When you see this in people you tend to want to jump on their bandwagon because they spread the energy and the vision so easily. If you want to inspire your team, let your passion show!
>> Resilience: It’s easy for everyone to complain about everything during this time, but you want to focus on the solutions. Don’t let the negative take over the conversations; flip it so that the focus is on “what can we do to….?” When there’s a negative, include a positive. Rally your team to bounce back and rebuild.
Out of the five of these traits, I believe passion is the top one. If you are truly passionate about your company’s vision, the rest will come easily.
Let me share a quick story with you.
Have you ever been able to watch someone operate when they’re in their prime or near the end of their professional time but still at the top of their game?
Experiencing how they do when they’re doing what they love
Someone who seems unstoppable
A number of years back there was an older hockey player, very well known in the hockey world, who joined the Chicago Blackhawks.
He had been in the Stanley Cup Finals two times already, but never seemed to be on the winning team.
Marion Hossa, definitely an all-around player.
He knew the ice like the back of his hand, both an offensive and defensive player.
A true leader to the other guys on the team throughout.
I remember in those early years he would score and it was like nothing to him, totally expressionless.
He took his job, and his passion, seriously.
Then they won the Stanley Cup
His pride and joy lifting the Stanley Cup was a treat to say the least – 3rd time is a charm.
The next season Hossa came back and he was like a different person, not in the way he played – not in the way he led the team (by the way he wasn’t the team captain or assistant).
The thing that changed was his celebration. Whenever he scored a goal from that moment on, he celebrated.
He had the hugest, happiest expression on his face.
It made a fan love him even more, and we all did.
Marion Hossa exuded the love for the game.
I remember one playoff game when he played the game with no feeling in one of his legs. (Do you know how hard it is to skate up and down the ice when you can only put weight on one leg?)
Hossa was able to bring you into the game.
I would sit in awe watching him, amazed how lucky someone was to do what they truly loved their entire professional life.
The “Big Hoss” made it look so easy.
The thing is, it wasn’t easy, and yet, he made it look so natural – there was no doubt he loved playing.
Can you say the same when it comes to growing or rebuilding your business now?
Does the passion you had when you originally started your business still shine through?
More importantly, do you still feel it?
If you’ve lost your passion or it’s lacking so much that your team members can’t feel it and share it, take action now.