One of the foundations of being a relational leader is having warmth. Warmth is about approachability. It’s about being a leader who is approachable to colleagues and employees. This is important because it reduces a ‘fear response’ in an employee.
David Rock, in his neuroscience research, found that when people create a non-threatening environment, they are able to think more clearly and come up with more creative insights.
When you’re warm as a leader, employees will be open to coming up to you and speaking with you more honestly. Warmth also creates a casual environment. Tom Peters, one of the leading world-class consultants, says that a casual environment in the workplace is one of the greatest competitive advantages of a business.
In a nutshell, warmth is when a leader is genuinely open and shows positive intention towards others.
Here are four ways you can show warmth to others:
1. Realize that people are doing their best with what they know. (Sometimes what they know is questionable, but they are still doing their best with the knowledge at their disposal.)
2. Understand that human behavior tells us that people’s intentions are always positive. Even when they do something in a negative manner, 99% of the time, their intention is positive — whether it be for them to save face or to help.
3. Give the benefit of the doubt.
4. Appreciate the people around you in a specific and timely manner. Don’t just jump down their throat when they do something wrong. Take two minutes out of your day to appreciate the other person. (I teach what’s called the 2-Step Appreciation: the 2.0 of showing appreciation.)
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