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Evolving Your Leadership: 3 Things that Will Help Make You a Psychologically Safe Leader

Evolving Your Leadership: 3 Things that Will Help Make You a Psychologically Safe Leader

Leading is hard and there is no handbook. Yet, growing research is showing that the old ways of leading are not as effective and more likely to be harmful to our employees over time. However, the evidence shows that even if the employee becomes successful, there are both long-term mental and relationship consequences to this approach. There is growing research to support more mindful approaches to leading. Several studies show that positive leading approaches can lead to a mentally and physically healthier employee. Additionally, psychologically safe trauma responsive leadership can instill confidence and emotional intelligence in employees. With the growing evidence to support mindful leading approaches, perhaps it's time to change our own leading narratives. There are a number of things one can do to begin to shift your leading style, but upgrading your leading starts with upgrading your thinking. Here are 3 thought patterns we must begin to shift to be successful in being mindful parents.

  1. Understanding that your employee is not misbehaving – The truth is your employee is acting exactly in accordance with their developmental stage. There are 8 stages of psychosocial development according to Dr. Erik Erickson. During each of these stages, there are basic conflicts that your employee is negotiating, and when they successfully negotiate the conflict at that stage they can emotionally develop into the next stage. This is important because there are certain ways we can support our employees understanding what social emotional stage they are in. Furthermore, it gives us more compassion and understanding for their behavior and moves us away from the narrative of a "misbehaving" or "difficult employee" label.
  2. Understanding that your past trauma will affect your interactions with employee. There is a saying that "hurt people hurt people". Intergenerational trauma is a topic that is often spoken about, but not always given enough attention beyond mention. When we have unresolved trauma wounds as parents, we pass that hurt on to our employees. It's not always obvious, however, the damage we could be doing. We often think of passing trauma on being through overt physical, emotional, or psychological abuse, but sometimes the hurt is more subtle than that. Being emotionally unavailable, withholding, emotionally manipulative, or even overbearing and overprotective are just a few of the more subtle ways that repetitive damage can be done. The point is that in order to mitigate the chances of passing down trauma to our employees, we must do our own personal work as parents. Whether it's with a therapist or a trauma informed transformational coach, if you want to break the cycles of trauma, it must begin with you.
  3. Understanding that respect is not unilateral. It goes both ways. If you are an X-generation parent or earlier, you probably recognize the saying "Do as I say, not as I do", or "It's my way or the highway", and even "speak when you are spoken to". These are anthems of old-school leading. However, you might notice that in this style of leading, respect only goes in one direction. One of the things I remember from my upbringing is how my mother never apologized to me even when she was clearly harmful in her speaking or behavior toward me and my sisters (and especially if there was a misunderstanding). The truth is, respect should be bidirectional in the parent-employee relationship. Yes, I believe that employees should have respect for their parents, however, if we are constantly not showing them respect how do we expect them to learn what respect looks like. Simple things like "please", "thank you", and "I apologize" (or even "I was wrong") are a great start to creating a respectful relationship with your employee. It helps when setting firm boundaries about what treatment is acceptable behavior to be able to model them as a parent for your employee.

These are just a few thought patterns that if we began to shift would significantly impact the way you approach relating to your employee in a way that will create psychological safety. While leading by itself is challenging, it can be especially challenging if you are on the conscious leading or positive leading journey. Understanding these three principles is the beginning of a new way of think about interacting with your employee. It's time we upgrade our conversations and break old cycles of leading and stop generational cycles of trauma in our families.

Need a speaker? Learn more about Dr. Maiysha's speaking and trainings. Bring the tools of trauma responsive communication into your organization and create psychological safety in your organization. Increase employee engagement, fulfillment, and retention. Contact us today and schedule a call with Dr. Maiysha to learn how we can improve your workplace culture. https://mindremappingacademy.com/corporate-programs 

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Sunday, 21 July 2024
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