We live in technology driven times today. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Language and Data Analytics are driving our behaviours. Our life is so intertwined with technology that sometimes we tend to ignore our own Human Intelligence, Human Insights, Creativity and Potential. As a leader,
when your engagement statistics are also being collated by technology (the data is getting driven out from the electronic surveys), you may feel disconnected from what is really happening. Interpreting the numbers may be complicated and it could become overwhelming to actually engage your teams. Data is good and you may seem to have the need to motivate your team but may not know where to start.

Many leaders struggle to motivate individuals to bring their discretionary energies to work and achieve their full potential. So what can one really do? One of the answers is human connection.

Human connection can inspire others to be human, brimming with hope, ingenuity, and camaraderie. With my experience of working with multiple leaders, I have created a five-part framework HUMAN provides you with a clear path to engage your team in an effective way!

Let us briefly look at the five elements:

H (Heeding Yourself)

A journey to become a great leader begins with Self-Awareness. In one of the studies conducted by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations on & “What Predicts Executive Success?”, they studied the leadership styles, backgrounds and track records of 72 senior executives at public, venture-backed and private-equity sponsored companies with annual revenues ranging 50M$ to 5 B$. Their study concluded that, “The executives most likely to deliver good bottom line results are actually self-aware leaders who are especially good at working with individuals and in teams.”

The first element of this framework suggests to explore a bit more about yourself, and recognise where you are, and where you want to reach with regards to your feelings, behaviour and attitude. To understand yourself, you need to be truthful and honest with yourself.

Here are some questions to reflect on:
a. How trustworthy you are?
b. Do your team members confide in you?
c. Do they share their problems/challenges with you?
d. How do you demonstrate commitment to your role?
e. When there is challenge at work, what is your focus?
f. How caring are you?
g. How resilient are you?
h. How about do-say ratio?
i. How often do you take feedback?
j. How often have you worked on feedback?

U (Understanding)

Once you become self-aware, your perception and ability to know others will be different. You may believe that you already know all that you need to know about your team, but do keep in mind that whatever you may know is about your perception of them and that a gap exists between your perception of them and their expectations of self. The second element is an attempt to bridge this gap. A objective way of learning more about your team members will ultimately help you become more connected and successful. Familiarity begets mutual respect and is essential to build the Trust. Jack Welch said that for leaders to achieve success only two words matter, Truth and Trust. If your team trusts you they will share the truth with you and you will be able to make decisions in time.

Start building that trust!

Here are a few questions for your to reflect on:
a. How much you know about your team’s:
b. Professional aspirations
c. Personal aspirations
d. Values they operate from
e. Their preferred frequency of feedback
f. Their development preferences
g. And overall their stories…

M (Messaging)

Messages connect the team with you. Messages are used for conveying strategy, plans, results, and sharing and receiving feedback. Once you know yourself, know your team members; this will become easier. This element is about how you communicate with your team, and how you plan and send the messages. Messages need to be tailored based on your understanding of the individual, so this builds upon the previous elements. Cost of lousy communications is more than 4 B$ in America alone according to a study done by Josh Bernoff. If the parties that are communicating are not in sync a lot can be lost in translation. All of us must have come across this famous “Project Management- Tree Swing” cartoon! It is essential that you develop your messaging to have a team that thinks in sync!

A few questions here to reflect on:
a. How does your team generally feel about your meetings?
b. What kind of words do you use for establishing trust?
c. How do you make sure that your team feels aligned to the big picture?
d. How does your team know that you are aligned to big picture?
e. How do you make sure that you come across as an authentic individual?
f. How do people feel about your feedback conversations(when you share & receive feedback)?

A (Acknowledging)

Being acknowledged has a singular impact on us. It helps our motivation tremendously. While acknowledging may come naturally to some of us for others it may not. It may also depend on factors other than individual traits such as culture etc. While in some cultures it may be a norm to acknowledge, and appreciate, it is not necessarily universal. Gallup says that employee recognition is the key factor for creating engaged workspaces. The cost of recognition is low, and the impact is very high.

A few questions to reflect here are:
a. How many times do you genuinely appreciate your team members’ behaviour or contribution?
b. How do you feel about acknowledging people?
c. What motivates you to acknowledge?
d. What stops you to acknowledge?

N (Nurturing)

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you
become a leader, success is all about growing others.” - Jack Welch

You must now consider how to develop your team’s skills and make them more efficient, productive and successful in their current role as well as help them develop for future opportunities. It requires a mind-set shift when leaders not only think about their own development; they start thinking and
working towards the development of their teams.

While all of the elements of HUMAN, will help you grow, get better results and respect from your team, your peers and management, the Nurturing element if executed properly, is the one that will get you the most respect from your team and will yield the most results in the longer term.

A few questions to reflect here are:
a. How often do you have development conversations with your team?
b. What motivates you to do that?
c. How do you make sure people take interest in their own development?
d. How do you make sure that you are developing yourself?
e. What stops you from investing in your own development?

HUMAN Leaders Outshine Others

The teams led by HUMAN Leaders are equipped to respond to changes quickly and simultaneously on multiple fronts. Such leaders use the full potential of their teams and do not create unnecessary dependencies on themselves. They empower the teams and help them grow. Every challenge for such a team is an opportunity to learn new things and further become a stronger team.

Manbir Kaur is an Executive & Leadership Coach (ICF-PCC) , a conversational intelligence (C-IQ) enhanced skills practitioner and a Positive Intelligence Coach. She is the author of ‘Get Your Next Promotion’ and ‘Are You The Leader You Want To Be?’ (This book was nominated as the 5 best business books for C K Prahlad Business Book Award 2019).

She helps you achieve balanced and sustainable growth for yourself and your organization by facilitating alignment of aspirations, purpose and actions. She is passionate about helping leaders and teams bring more humanness in their mindset and actions. She is also passionate about helping people own their growth and help them reach their own potential.

To develop authentic leaders in the world, who live life successfully and joyfully.

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