I’ve read some of Daniel Goleman’s work regarding Primal Leadership, and the over-riding thought seems to be, “The fundamental task of leaders is to prime good feeling in those they lead.”
One of the reviewers of Goleman’s book on Amazon wrote, “You may find yourself jumping up and down screaming, “Yes! Yes! Yes!,” to the book’s persuasive demand for better leaders, but you’re inevitably left whimpering, “Now what?””
So, the question is, how do you prime good feeling in those you lead? In other words, how do you inspire trust?
What I’ve discovered in 40 years of management, most of those being an avid student of Dr. Peter Drucker, is that the quickest way to “establish good feeling” with those on your team is occaisionally spend time with them, one on one, ask a few direct questions, and then “listen” to what they have to say. By letting them know that they, and their ideas, are important to you, does a great deal to promote a healthy relationship. (By the way… the same things applies to a healthy marriage.)
My favorite question, that I call the “magical 5 words” is: “What needs to be done?” When asked it can have amazing results. But don’t be surprised that when the first time it is asked, you get the “deer in the headlights” look. Because it is rarely asked, most of the time people are told what to do. But when they realize that what they think actually matters, and that somebody on the other end is listening, it engages their thinking on a higher level and has a synergistic effect on the entire team.