Leadership and vulnerability are two words many might believe to conflict with one another, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As I have highlighted in previous topics, leaders are humans with thoughts and feelings. They need an outlet for communication and connection that is accomplished through sharing their thoughts and feelings with others. Sometimes our outlet for sharing is through family and friends, and sometimes it is with mentors or colleagues. What matters most is that you feel safe and establish some framework to temper your expectations during and after sharing.
We are all sharing about what’s happening around us, we may not be focusing on it, but we’re discussing it. If you’re hoping people won’t ask about something because you feel uncomfortable talking about it, it’s probably something you need to think of a strategy of how to share.
Ask yourself these questions when you’re preparing to share with someone:
Consider who you will choose to talk to when you have a problem you need help solving. If feasible, this may be the time to consider members of your inner circle or team who are “D” or “C” task-oriented behavioral styles. They are naturally wired to focus on information for decision-making and compliance. They will help keep you focused on finding a solution, and less on the emotions surrounding the problem. This type of communication can be advantageous when you are up against a timeline.
If you are struggling with internalizing an issue, this may be the time to seek out an “I” or “S” people-oriented behavioral style. Their natural strengths are communicating and empathizing. They will provide you the opportunity to “talk it out” in a nurturing space, and help inspire and encourage you to overcome whatever challenge you’re facing. Sometimes this is all leaders need to recharge and get back to work.
Sometimes, as managers and leaders, we find ourselves in a position where we may feel hesitant to share our inner thoughts or feelings about a specific situation. Maybe we fear to cause team members more stress or unnecessary concern. We can spend more time debating whether they can handle certain information instead of trusting they are equipped to respond appropriately. Or perhaps we are unsure of how certain people will react to different types of information. For this reason, knowing the DISC styles and Behavioral Attitudes of our team is crucial because you’ll already be aware of the dominant fears, motivations, and values, and can adjust your approach to meet both your needs and the needs of others.
If you’re avoiding asking questions because you believe they’re not easy ones, I can guarantee you, people are thinking about asking you those questions; sometimes, it’s easier to be open and share. You don’t need to be super-human to be transparent and genuine. Now is a time you need to be honest and share your concerns or strategy. Trust that you have hired the best team to help you through the tough times.
As you read in my previous blog, I shared that I needed somebody I could count on to encourage me daily. Understanding the behavioral styles of your team and support network will allow you to intentionally communicate on a personal level and achieve the best outcome based on your needs at the time.