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Are You Inspiring Your Team Members in Difficult Times? Express Genuine Curiosity and Not Just Curiosity

- By Ravi Kumar V, 13 November 2020 | 4 MIN READ


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Leaders often find it difficult to deal with employees who are reeling from disappointment. They often want to suppress their feelings which adversely affect the rest of the team. Instead, they should come to rescue and coach people to uncover their emotions, to crush the inner self-critic, and to fuel energies of positivity.

Setbacks and adversity are inevitably accompanied by damaging thoughts. Someone who has lost a big account, been passed over for promotion, or performed poorly in quarterly targets is bound to feel frustration, disappointment, or anger.

As a leader have you ever confronted an upset team member, viewed negative emotions as a contagion to contain before it infects the broader team – to throw the sore out of the basket!

Or you see an opportunity in the problem to be solved quickly so that people can return to normal. Leaders in any field of work can learn to help team members channel their negative emotions and turn them into powerful tools for motivating demoralized people and unlocking their true potential.

A coaching relationship can be the catalyst for an engaged or a disengaged employee. As Marcus Buckingham said, “People don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers.” A recent Gallup study found that the #1 reason people quit their jobs is because of bad leadership.

We’re not saying that Leaders have to be friends with employees, but they do have to care: Successful leaders care about their team and build a bond of mutual trust. Compassion and love are components to motivate and elevate the morale of team members. Building a relationship of love and respect is the best way to contribute to someone's long-term success and wellbeing.

When people in the organization are felt valued and cared for, productivity skyrockets. While recognition is essential, there is an additional jump in performance through when you acknowledge.

Leaders get plenty of opportunities to demonstrate care about their team in many ways. It could be a weekly one-on-one meeting, or a daily zoom call, or an annual performance review, each interaction provides an opportunity to show care.  

The DON’Ts

Curiosity is identified as a strong desire to learn or know something. Avoid loose interactions with a curiosity that isn’t effective. Refrain from asking questions like “How was your weekend?”, “How are you doing?” or “What’s going on?” However, there is nothing wrong with these questions, they are typical questions that don’t demonstrate any real care in the other person.  

Instead, ask a question that demonstrates genuine curiosity

“You mentioned your daughter started going to school after 7 months of remote classrooms, how did she do?”

It’s no rocket science to ask a genuine question over a habitual question. However, just by paying attention to previous conversations, you can anchor yourself into those interactions making the other person feel valued. It is impossible to truly listen to someone if your mind or heart is somewhere else.

Leaders must practice demonstrating genuine care for the people they’re working with. Just questions out of curiosity will not work out the equation. First, give them your undivided attention, then ask a recall question to demonstrate genuine curiosity. The best part, whether they ever tell you or not, deep down, they will know you care about them.

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