9 May 2021|Latest Posts, Psychology
By René Murata. Being treated like an outsider can really impact your confidence and self-worth, which can hold you back in your career. As a woman working in a male-dominated industry, I know this better than many.
I have been screamed at by bosses and overlooked by my colleagues on too many occasions to count. But, as someone who has all too often felt belittled by those around me, I have never been one to look down on the people I work with. And now, as the founder of two of my own successful businesses, I understand that the very differences I was once scorned for are actually my strengths.
I carry that knowledge over to my teams and clients, too. I recognise that everyone I work with is unique and talented in their own way, and so I want their talents to shine. It’s not always easy to work with contrasting personalities and approaches. But, if you find a way to make it work, you’ll get the best out of those you manage.
Lead With Compassion
Many people believe that running a client-facing business boils down to power dynamics and chasing money. But, I can tell you from experience that leading with compassion is the real key. In fact, one of the best pieces of business advice I can give you is to put gratitude and compassion first. If you don’t, you run the risk of making people feel unappreciated.
Trust me when I say that a workforce made up of people who feel like outsiders will never perform at its best. If you take an inconsiderate, heavy-handed approach to management, the people who work for you will more than likely hold themselves back. Innovation, efficiency, and progress will suffer in such an environment.
So, always think about what your employees might need in order to thrive. Encourage and empower their strengths. Recognize they are human and may make mistakes. Address mistakes with compassion and curiosity in place of blame, shame and guilt. Remain positive, ask questions to find out where the misstep occurred and then help them fix the problem. Nurture rather than scold, and your employees will feel appreciated and thus more confident.
Speak as Equals
It’s similarly important that everyone in your business is spoken to as a valued human being, an equal, whether they’re your clients, your suppliers, or your employees. When people are valued and they know it, you’ll get much more out of them.
Not only does this improve communication, it opens up the potential for increased connection, and thus, collaboration between colleagues. New, exciting ideas are more easily sparked if you’re open to what everyone in the room has to say. Not to mention the fact that people will be happier when you foster this environment of open communication.
Active listening is another great technique if you want to improve the communication in your workplace. By giving people your full attention and showing them that you’re listening, they will feel much more comfortable speaking freely. Successfully integrate techniques like these, and you’ll be well on your way to a smoother-running workplace.
Empower Individual Strengths
Everyone on your team will have their own strengths. So, just as speaking to everyone as equals is important, giving equal weighting to what each person brings to your business is valuable. Uncover and encourage people’s unique talents, empower them to shine, and you will find that your business excels in areas that you never expected.
However, you also need to remember that everyone has weaknesses, too. So, don’t begrudge someone for the areas in which they struggle. Rather, let the varied skill sets of the people on your team complement one another, and remember that no one person can do everything perfectly.
Make the Best of Difficult Situations
Entrepreneurship is not easy. There will, inevitably, be bumps in the road that both you and your team will feel. But, it’s important that you don’t let the pressure of the hard times negatively affect your managerial style. Taking your frustrations out on the people who dedicate their days to your business is never going to solve anything.
When one of my businesses was facing financial difficulties, the temptation was to keep the problems to myself. But people know when you’re not fully honest with them. So, I opened up and shared some of the issues. In doing so, my team and I were able to work towards a solution together.
Determined to remain positive and with the future of the business our top priority, we made changes where we needed to and compromised on the things we had to compromise on. Thanks to the hard work and dedication we all put in, the business is stronger now than it has ever been.
Embracing Difference in Business
Ultimately, a person who feels like an outsider will not excel as they should. Whether they pass up opportunities to speak for fear of being ignored or they keep making mistakes because they know they can’t reach out for help, employees who feel undermined will never fulfil their potential.
At the end of the day, a business is only as successful as its employees are happy. So, when you see people for who they are, and treat them with respect anyway, everyone benefits. The simple acts of gratitude, listening attentively, celebrating strengths while also acknowledging weaknesses, and really nurturing your employees, the business as a whole will be far stronger in the long run.
About the Author
As the owner and CEO of two businesses, CEO Essence and Risk Integrity Safety Knowledge, INC, Transformational Leadership Coach René Murata knows a thing or two about guiding with both purpose and compassion. Working to encourage more women to speak out and take charge, she hopes to show that collaboration and cooperation definitely do have a place in decisive leadership. René Murata has only ever had one boss that was a positive role model, while many others sought only to belittle those they managed. But she knows from experience that in order to get the best out of people, you need to listen well, communicate effectively, and understand the power of your words. Now a Transformational Leadership Coach, she teaches women how to incorporate the best of the masculine and feminine energies in leadership, using a methodology that seeks to empower both manager and managed.