Your leadership is needed now more than ever.
As we continue to hear about senseless shootings, political unrest, new health concerns, and a rise in burnout, we’re reminded that psychological safety is key in order to be a supportive and effective leader.
We’ve created a list of our top 5 suggestions on leadership traits that will help you engage with your staff in a way that creates psychological safety.
If you’ve already been building these skills over the years, that’s great. Keep doing what you’ve been doing!
If you’re new to this, take a look at our list below and see what works for you.
To be a supportive leader, it’s important to make connections with people on your team. This HBR.org article discusses the importance of both individual and group connections.
Throughout the article, you’ll see suggestions for how to speak to your team, including some scripting like, ‘I’d like to take a quick minute to acknowledge what’s happening. I’ve certainly been distracted and concerned by it. Who else feels the same way?’
To be a supportive leader, remember to stay curious and open. It’s okay to let your team know that current events are distressing for you and then to inquire how they’re doing. Asking something like, “What would support from me look like?” is a great start.
As we mentioned in our Curiosity is Key post, when you’re having these types of conversations with your team, remember to sit beside them and let them know you’re in it together.
The research is clear – to be a supportive leader, it’s important to be empathetic and think about what others are going through. Think about what they may be going through. Listen, don’t try to solve it, and let them know you’ve heard them. You could say something like, “I’m sorry this is hard for you.”
Did you know, that people who have empathetic leaders are more apt to be engaged, feel included, and have a better work/life balance? This Forbes.com article discusses these and some additional research findings.
As we mentioned above, it’s important to acknowledge what the other person is going through without trying to solve it or make them feel better. This is what’s known as emotional agility.
In this TheAtlantic.com article, psychologist Susan David says, “What’s clear in the research is that a workplace that helps people work with their experiences is going to be more effective.” She goes on to say that when we don’t allow people to work with their experiences, “we also create a situation for individuals that is psychologically unhealthy and undermines the organization’s ability to learn and function more effectively.”
To be a supportive leader, it’s important to validate what your team member is going through.
When people are distressed, they can often feel alone. As this HBR.org article notes, “by validating someone’s experience, you’re not only saying ‘I see you,’ you’re also saying ‘I believe you,’ which can bring comfort during a challenging time.”
As you connect with your team about these challenging times, try to remain curious, empathetic, emotionally agile, and validating, to their experiences.
Let us know how it goes. We’re here for you.