Saturday, April 13, 2024

Nancy Geenen Says Connecting With Leaders on a Human Level Creates a Trusting, Empowering Work Culture

Nancy Geenen.  Used with permission.  All rights reserved.
Accomplished entrepreneur, author, leadership coach and strategic facilitator Nancy Geenen spent many years “trying to be someone else, in so many ways.”

What she discovered in her journey is that when a woman leader connects with employees on a human level by being vulnerable and inviting in-depth conversations without judgment, other differences are not as significant, and the leader builds trust as people feel more comfortable being themselves.

Here are Nancy's 5 key thoughts about how a leader showing vulnerability and accessibility can create a trusting, empowering work culture:

  1. Being accountable and permitting others to hold everyone accountable. “Invite that open, honest, and vulnerable communication that is built on trust,” Geenen says. “And if you behave in a way that’s unreliable, own up to it.”
  2. Asking for advice and committing to do better. Geenen says it’s common for team members to have numerous ideas about how a leader can improve their leadership skills. 
  3. Knowing your people and letting them get to know you. Geenen says it’s a leader’s responsibility to model relationship-building. 
  4. Being empathetic, not judgmental. Geenen says when check-ins with employees are done with a mindset of positivity, curiosity and empathy, not judgment and criticism, it earns the team’s trust because they feel seen, heard, and supported.  
  5. Showing you care. When a leader directly pitches in to help one of their teams, be it problem-solving on a complex project or customer-service issue, or performing a tedious task like changing the toner in the copy machine, it establishes common ground with the workforce, showing the leader has humility and sincerity. 

These are among some of the many golden nuggets Nancy shares in her book, "The Advantage of Other:  A Leader's Guide to Building an Equitable, Dynamic, and Productive Workplace."

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