Independence Day is upon us in the United States and many will celebrate with fireworks, social gatherings and plenty of barbecued food. It is a joyous time as we honor those who helped create a country of freedom and choice. Along with having the many opportunities, comes a great deal of responsibility and expectation. We need to be open to different points of view and be willing to hear all sides of an issue before declaring our stand. But what is most fascinating about this process is that once you actually behave this way, it becomes a way of life naturally.
The same is true for any team or organization. When individuals embrace a free workplace, they incorporate behaviors and actions that exemplify freedom and choice. A free work environment evolves that respects each person no matter their position. An open flow of communication is the oil that keeps the team going smoothly. Yet this all must begin with the leadership.
Here are five leadership traits in a free workplace:
This is a word thrown around a lot without a real understanding of what it means or looks like. Accountable leaders honor their responsibilities by being dependable, reliable and truthful. They model accountability by meeting deadlines and telling others when and why certain projects cannot be completed on time. Accountable leaders own up to their mistakes and don’t blame others.
Whether it is a big or small team, a for-profit or not-for-profit organization, at the hub of any free work environment is trust. Leaders cultivate trust by:
- Doing what they say they will do
- Being vulnerable about their abilities and knowledge
- Asking for honest feedback
- Getting to know more deeply the concerns and interests of others
- Being present
3. SHARED AND CLEARLY COMMUNICATED VISION
A free workplace knows where it is headed at all times and every person is clear about the direction. In addition, leaders include team members in deciding on the vision. Input from leaders at all levels is welcomed and encouraged. Signage with the organization’s vision is placed in highly visible areas for everyone to see and use as their north star.
4. RESPECTFUL LISTENING AND SPEAKING
When leaders cultivate a climate of freedom and openness, people listen to one another to understand what is being shared. Every team member sees the value in every colleague. Survival is based on respect.
- Listen without interrupting
- Clarify what is heard without judging the content
- Use positive language that is both direct and specific
- Be understanding that each person has their perspective and is deserving of being heard
5. ADVOCATE FOR OTHERS
We know that in a free society we need the support of others to make things happen. To gain that connection, leaders freely give credit to others and generously share the accomplishments of team members. In a free workplace people are not threatened by the success of others but rather empower individuals to shine. Networking is a way of life as it affords new work opportunities and innovation.
Let freedom ring in our work worlds! Let’s build organizations that are respectful of differences and develop kindhearted leaders.
What leadership traits help you create a free workplace?
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