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Be A F.I.T Leader

It is Monday morning. You woke up before the alarm feeling very refreshed. You are filled with excitement and looking forward to the day. You feel energised as if you able to run a full 42 km marathon. You feel F.I.T.

Suddenly, it dawned to you that it really is Monday morning and the first person you will be interacting with at work is your leader. Your motivation and energy plummeted. The smile on your face begins to fade. You don’t want to deal with your leader so early in the day. Now, you are not sure whether you have the energy or motivation to run even 5 km.

Our relationship with our leaders have such a big impact on us. That one person can make or break how we feel about our work and our workplace. Studies have shown the deep co-relation between leadership and workforce engagement. In fact, it is said that the top reason for employees leaving organisations is because of their boss. McKinsey & Company in their The Great Attrition article says 54% of employees leave because they don’t feel valued by their managers. Having worked with different leaders in nine different organisations in the region, I can attest to this. As such, I would like to share with you the three main elements that are important for a leader.

The first is FUN. Being a fun leader here doesn’t mean being a cheerleader and having activities all the time. Fun here is like being in a team sports where you are the coach and your team is in the field. They are energised, motivated, competitive with strong desire to win the game. However, your team is not always aligned. Arguments and disagreements happened. Your team sometimes disagree with you on your strategy and they are not shy to say it to you. At the end of the game, if the team wins, you celebrate and if you lose, you acknowledge each other’s contribution. There is a sense pride that you all did your best. That’s what fun is all about. A sense of team camaraderie and team purpose. So, as a leader, it is imperative that you not just facilitate a conducive work culture, but strive to bring the best out of your team.

According to a Boston Consulting Group’s survey, being a leader in today’s world needs a combination of 3Hs i.e. Head, Heart and Hands. Head is to strategise for the future, Hands is to execute the actions and Heart is to inspire and empower. This is where being an inspiring leader comes in. Inspiring is not just about giving motivational speeches during town halls. It is about walking the talk. It is about a leader who has empathy and who listens to her team. Not only that, it is about a leader who has good self-awareness. I knew of a leader who was the head of a health facility during the beginning of Covid-19 crisis where not much is known about the virus. The situation at the facility was very dire and there was a sense of helplessness amongst the employees. However, this leader stood out. She displayed deliberate calm and focused optimism. She went to the ground and spent time with the employees, partners and also patients. She allowed herself to be accessible as she knew that she needed to be seen. Her solid presence inspired the team to shoulder on and helped them to look ahead. That is the epitome of an inspiring leader.

The final element is Trust. Ask yourself these questions. Does your team trust you to have their backs? Are you a leader that follows through on commitments? Do you give constructive feedback at the right time? Are you able to accept feedback from your team? Action speaks louder than words. So true, we trust leaders who walk the talk. We will feel a great sense of engagement and commitment when we see alignment between the walk and the action of a leader. As leaders, it is by default that you mean what you say and say what you mean. These factors create trust, loyalty and your team will stick to you through thick and thin.

Great leadership requires a fine mix of all kinds of skills to create the conditions for a more engaged, productive and happy work environment. Wouldn’t you want to be working with a leader who is fun, inspiring and trusting? If your answer is yes, start with yourself. Be a FIT leader.

If you want to know more on how to further develop your leaders, do contact us.

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