Stacey C. Cunningham
The importance of building a climate of trust, dignity, and respect within your crew cannot be understated. As a leader, it is not enough to merely be visible; you must consciously try to truly see and hear each individual in your team. By creating authentic connections and valuing the uniqueness of every crew member, you unlock their hidden potential. These connections can only be achieved by actively listening and building meaningful relationships.
The Power of Being Seen
Inspired by the leadership of William Perry, United States Secretary of Defense, Mike understood the significance of truly seeing and hearing people. Perry's undivided attention allowed individuals to flourish in his presence. Abrashoff adopted this approach when he took command of USS Benfold, making it his personal goal to treat every encounter as the most important moment. By giving someone your full attention, you show respect and prioritize what is important to them. They cease being just a member of your crew and become an individual whose thoughts and ideas are valued.
Forging Real Relationships
Mike conducted personal interviews with each crew member to foster genuine connections, delving beyond surface-level information. He took the time to learn about their strengths, goals, and personal lives. Through this process, he gained insights into their unique talents and aspirations. This knowledge benefited not only him but also the crew members themselves. They felt respected and appreciated, knowing their hopes, dreams, and loved ones mattered. Mike assisted them in pursuing their goals and aligning their work with a greater purpose.
Harnessing the Power of Knowledge
One of the most significant benefits of building relationships with your crew is tapping into their knowledge and expertise. Mike recognized that the people doing the hands-on work often possess valuable insights that officers may overlook. By actively listening to their suggestions and celebrating their contributions, he empowered the entire crew and improved the organization as a whole. The sense of purpose and accountability that emerged from this community of trust, dignity, and respect propelled the crew members to excel.
To enhance relationship-building, explore avenues for improvement. Encourage open communication channels and create a safe space for your crew to share their thoughts and ideas. Actively seek their input and involve them in decision-making processes. Doing so fosters a culture where everyone feels valued and empowered. Align your goals with the individual goals of your crew members, helping them see how their contributions contribute to a greater purpose. Invest in their growth and development, assisting them in charting their own course to success.
Reflect on your current intentional strategies for building relationships with your crew.
o How do you make an effort to see and hear each individual?
o Consider ways to deepen these connections and foster a sense of belonging within your team.
o Additionally, assess how these strategies align your goals with your people's goals and aspirations. Explore opportunities to create a shared purpose and enable each person to apply their unique talents.
Building relationships based on trust, dignity, and respect is a transformative journey that elevates both individuals and the collective. By seeing and hearing each crew member, you unlock their hidden potential and cultivate a sense of purpose and accountability. Actively listen, forge real connections, and harness the power of knowledge within your team. Let us create a community that values and celebrates every individual, fostering an environment where all can contribute, excel, and achieve greatness.