Do They Know You Know?

Today I was a part of a local day-long event called Leadercast. It had several good speakers, among whom was Dr. Henry Cloud. He was actually my favorite of the day, probably because he deals in what he calls the “gap” between the business side and the human side of organizations, which is where I spend much of my time as well. He talked about how employees of an organization are affected by the leader attempting to convince them he understands their world, but doesn’t connect. Cloud could see it in the faces of employees in one place as the CEO talked with them. The CEO thought the encounter went well; Cloud told him otherwise.

The presentation made me write down the question to ask myself and any other leaders, “How does it feel to get a request from you?” I thought about how I have felt in the past when my boss gave me an assignment, or asked me to do something. Was I afraid? Did I feel pressured? Did I know he or she would back me up if I had trouble? It was a good exercise to think about that.

Cloud asked those in the audience, “Do they know you know how they feel?” This goes beyond just lip service. Do those you lead know you truly understand how their day goes? He also mentioned my favorite topic: trust. It is a key part of this scenario, and is key to any leader’s success.