I learned very early that my response as a leader to others matters greatly.
One time, I was at my desk and someone came in to tell me a problem. Truth is that I was having a horrible day. This was another problem from a long day of problems and I was exhausted. So my reaction was to just flop my head down onto my desk. Not only did this person slowly back out of my office but it took a while to repair the trust that they can come to me with issues. Lesson learned.
Another time, I was struggling with addressing a challenging individual within the team. I felt judgement and frustration from lots of people that I wasn’t doing anything about the issue. My response became “would you give me some credit?”. That didn’t solve anything. I didn’t feel better. They didn’t feel better. They started discussing elsewhere and again it took a while to repair the trust and perception that they should never offend little ol’ sensitive me. Lesson learned.
It doesn’t matter how much you are doing as a leader that goes unrecognized and unappreciated.
It doesn’t matter how much crap you deal with as a leader.
It doesn’t matter if you already heard it – or sick of the topic.
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t ask for the information.
It doesn’t matter how you feel in that moment.
What matters is that people are sharing. Your first response should always be “Thank you”.
I’ve been frustrated and hurt by others as the leader and as the employee. They both suck. However, as a leader, your bigger role of coach has to win out. Personally, I’ve found there is time to discuss/clarify/explain the rest but the most important thing is to keep the communication flowing. It’s your responsibility to reach out, to listen, to accept, to adapt, to teach, to support and to forgive. But shouldn’t the employee do the same? Absolutely, and it begins when they follow your lead. If you don’t exert the effort, how can you expect them to?
How do you respond?