About two months ago I had a meeting with an old friend of mine which I hadn’t seen for a long time.
In our conversation he told me that he had just completed his college studies, in the field of psychology and he was expecting his bachelor degree to start his job as a Psychologist.
Since I was very happy to meet him and to congratulate him also at the same time for his accomplishment, I urged my friend to go and celebrate it with a glass of wine.
During our conversation my friend mentioned that while waiting for his degree, he was working as a pizza delivery for a well-known multinational pizza company, in order to cover his expenses, something he also did throughout all the period of his studies.
In our conversation he also mentioned his employer and I asked him about the working conditions and the cooperation with his employer and company. Throughout our discussion my friend also mentioned a case that I found as an exceptional example of leadership, taking into account the different position (formal and informal leadership) and role that my friend and his employer had inside the company.
The case was, that one day he had to deliver an order, where the customer tried to pay with his credit card, which the pos machine (credit card machine) that my friend had with him as a payment method, couldn’t accept it.
Finally my friend delivered the order after consultation with the company's central store and he returned again the other day to the customer to complete the order’s payment, where he faced the same problem again, ending up taking the responsibility to pay the amount owed by the order from his salary.
That was a reaction that I consider to be the behavior of a real leader, taking on and acknowledging the responsibility he had to deliver the pizza without finally being paid and without completing his job. He continued telling me that the next day the company manager invited my friend to his office to wish him a happy birthday. However, together with his wishes, the manager stated that he would himself cover the amount of the order and will give him also an additional amount of 5 Euros as a tip.
The manager told my friend that he recognizes the solvency and he expressed his appreciation towards my friend for his responsibility and their good cooperation until then and in particular recognized with high self-awareness, that my friend showed leadership style and responsibility for his action. However what is also very important, which highlights even more the act of his manager at the same time as a great leader through his own position and role, is that he asked my friend not to discuss this issue for covering the payment of the amount by himself, with his other colleagues.
Trust, empathy and creating relationships
What do we observe here ... two significant leadership behaviors from different positions and roles within the same company. At the same time 2 very significant examples of empathy and responsibilities, each taking on and recognizing the responsibility they showed as well as the engagement, trust and organization’s mission that requires attention to interpersonal and social processes. Trust requires comfort amongst team members and willingness to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or need for help. When there is no trust, there is fear of conflict - which is the next dysfunction. Without trust, people don't engage in productive debates.
Trust requires that you approach situations with sincerity, kindness and openness. It has been observed that outstanding team leaders begin by giving people the benefit of doubt. They begin by assuming that people will make the right choice. If you want people to trust you, you must begin the process by assuming that people are trustworthy.
Real Leaders provide emotionally rewarding experiences that are shared among members of a group, promoting stronger bonds and fostering personal fulfillment and they know how to connect with their people.
To summarize, you have to pay attention to certain key issues as a team leader. You're managing not merely a technical system, but also a social system. As a team leader, you have to attend to a number of key factors; shared understanding of goals, positive work climate, right processes, effective conflict management, constructive voicing of concerns and issues and relations of trust.
The most effective leaders understand that leading involves listening and learning, and they encourage feedback from people around them to work on their weaknesses. Self-awareness, one of the key characteristics of high Emotional Intelligent, is a quality that can distinguish a good leader from a great leader. If you don’t know who you are, if you don’t know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you will have a hard time gaining people’s trust and growing as a leader.
Companies will have to invest even more in their people, to have a deeper level of communication and understanding, because the root of business is relationships, and dialogue is the basic unit of work in an organization and healthy relationships must be at the heart of every company.
An inspiring Leader put people first and he/she enable people with the right capabilities he/she needs to succeed.
Exceptional Leaders faces forward and marches confidently, assuming their troops will follow them because they trust their troops and themselves. Moreover they are confident enough to hire people they can trust and let them do whatever they do best with a minimum of oversight.
Finally, especially due to current situation with the global pandemic, I believe we need more anthropocentric values inside organizations.