No one is right every time, has the answers all the time, or is is strong at every moment. But as leaders we often feel like we should be. A good leader isn’t afraid to show weakness or doubt. In fact, if done in the right fashion and at the right time showing doubt or weakness can be an effective way to rally your team. It’s part of being transparent and can go a long way towards building a strong relationship with your employees.
I’ll never forget when the CEO of a company I worked for sent an email out to the entire company at 3am telling us that he couldn’t sleep because he knew the economy was getting rough and that we needed to find ways to increase sales and decrease spend. He very openly told us that he didn’t have answers but that he needed our help. That small gesture created a huge movement. Every single employee did their part to help him solve our problems and it was moving. From the VP level employees down to our janitorial staff everyone focused on those two things: increasing sales, decreasing spend. Employees put up a board where they could ‘brag’ about money they’d saved the company and over time the board filled up with items like “used our credit card points to buy paper and pens”, “found a grant to pay for our recruiting campaign”, “re-used my water cup for two days”.
Why were employees so eager to help? Because our leader showed that he was human. He asked for help, empowered the employees to come up with solutions, and gave them the opportunity to make a difference. That’s powerful stuff.
“Even the toughest leaders have moments of fear. It’s what you do with those that make the difference.” Trish McFarlane
Marisa is a leadership coach, management trainer, and motivational speaker on all things Culture and Engagement. She has helped lead the culture and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. Today Marisa consults, coaches, and leads seminars for organizations looking to increase productivity by focusing on management training and employee engagement.