INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
Research has identified one particularly profound ingredient of workplace culture (in terms of its impact). It makes your organization:
• 3.4x more likely to be rated as a best place to work
• 3.3x more likely to retain high-potential employees
• Perform better financially
So, what is it?
Compassionate accountability is building relationships, while getting results. Conventional wisdom says these two things are at odds, but they don’t have to be. It’s about getting the balance right. Too much on accountability and things turn toxic. Too much on compassion and performance/productivity suffers.
The key lies in redefining the word compassion, so that it includes accountability. You show compassion not only in classic ways, like validating and showing empathy, but also when you help people demonstrate their value, ability, and responsibility. And how do you do that? By holding them accountable.
You further balance compassion and accountability when:
• You set high standards, ask for commitments, and point out shortfalls. It’s okay to do all of this – just be certain to separate the behavior from the person.
• You resist the urge to finger point as you drive for accountability, instead seeking to genuinely understand.
• You use failures not as a blunt force instrument to drive further accountability, but as energizing learning opportunities.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
It’s an easy trap to fall into. “Must…keep…climbing… the…org…ladder.” Been there. No judgement whatsoever for anyone who’s all about that. But may I share my biggest career lesson?
A career is not always a ladder to climb. It’s not always a series of promotions that feed the dream (someone else’s dream?) of upward mobility. A career can also be a river to ride, taking twists and turns, flowing over and around obstacles in its path, winding until it reaches its pre-ocean pit stop, the delta, a basin of land that’s also…the symbol for change. Then, onwards to its final destination, an ocean of possibilities lived.
See YOUR career journey as unique, not having to follow some typical path, always subject to change, always leading to possibilities. Career happiness and success is what you say it is.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
After last week’s advice on avoiding the biggest feedback mistake, I received multiple requests for more help on the topic of feedback – so I’m fast following. Here’s an essential tip for when you have to give constructive feedback or criticism. When you do, remember this:
Everyone wants to talk to an ally. No one wants to talk to a critic.
So, the key is to come across as an ally, a partner in improvement, even as you’re giving constructive criticism. Halo the discussion with empathy, coming from a place of wanting to help. After signaling the issue you want to discuss, get invited in to share more by saying something like, “Can I give you more detail and help you think it through?” Doing so clearly signals you’re passionate about being of service, which is exactly as it should be. After all, telling people they’re missing the mark isn’t the same as helping them hit the mark.