Love Language Leadership
Busy day in the Frantz household. Jackson was busy researching global unrest while Colin was working the phones, dispatching the Avengers to areas of need. They were on a “church high” and wanted to save the world from bad guys. As I sat watching their intensity (yes that is my blue cast foot), I came away impressed how two imaginations combined in a way that shows team work in its simplest form.
Later in the day Jackson and I had some one-on-one time and I wracked my brain on what a one-legged dad could do to entertain a rambunctious 4 year old (a few years from beer, wings, and sports). I decided to engage his imagination that he showed earlier with his brother. After a quick haircut we went to Target, grabbed some Sharpies, and construction paper. We then set up shop at Starbucks… where luke warm hot chocolates were the choice.
To further set the context of our day, one must understand that I promised the boys that I would build them a fort instead of a swing set when I could walk. Jackson has been obsessed with what the fort would contain. So I decided to listen to his deepest thought until I heard the magic words “I think that’s all daddy”. After an hour and several drafts our finished product looked like this:
It was a refreshing way to begin (I think of Sunday as a beginning) a week after the previous week saw talks of a wall, immigration bans, protests, and so on. My interactions with my boys made me think of how important team work is, but as head of household, how vitally important it is to lead with humility, even when emotions kick in.
Last week in my “Managers Book Club” meeting, my managers and I spent an hour talking about good and bad managers and how we could be humble leaders in a high-stress field. The conversation with my team had an educated balance, but the same core lessons as my conversations with my son. The lesson learned, that I want to share with those of you still reading, is to be IN the moment but not CONSUMED by the moment, aka self-awareness.
So what makes a good boss per my team? Authentic, clear, good communicator, and a good listener. We drove the conversation around performance evaluation time (’tis the season). A good boss gives authentic feedback, not just a pat on the back. He knows how to speak the love language of every employee on his team. She knows how deliver feedback that is precise and gives opportunity to improve and celebrate successes. A good manager drives accountability without fear mongering, no matter the heat of the moment.
A bad manager conversely does the exact opposite. Passive aggressive, everything is a fire drill, bad communicator, and employs the “one size fits all” communication style?
What type of leader are you?
Are you sure?
I will close with this example of how many team responded this week to adversity. We had a department wide issue that caused me to have to pull the “fire alarm”. Instead of pulling the alarm and running, I mapped out a plan before pulling. I addressed my senior managers first, laid out the problem, how we got there, what the end goal needed to look like, and we built a plan. AFTER the plan, we carefully pulled the “alarm” with a call to action email laying out the problem, the game plan to address it, and the accountability expected of each of the 19 managers. We then came together as a management team and put the “love language” plan together at a micro level to address the 115 employees.
By the end of the week we had steered the ship away from the iceberg and toward the shore. My managers made it succeed, but it succeeded because the egos were left at the door, all sleeves rolled up, and we spoke each other’s love language until the problem was resolved.
Will you join me at home and at work in practicing emotion management and speaking the love language of those entrusted to you?