The Danger Of Not Being Aligned With The Realities Facing Your Followers – Episode 110

LFL 110 | Followers


Due to the 2019 pandemic, the entire world had to face a new reality and a new normal. This also meant that leaders need to find a way to align this new reality in relation to their followers. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau talks about how leaders need to align their behaviors and expectations with the new realities that everyone is facing. This is especially in relation to the new trend of working from home. How do we deal with this? As leaders, how do we become empathetic to the needs of our followers while driving productivity all the same? Find out more in this episode. 

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The Danger Of Not Being Aligned With The Realities Facing Your Followers 

Ithis episode, were going to talk about alignment as it relates to followers and leaders. Specifically, were going to talk about how leaders need to align their behaviors and expectations with the new realities that are facing those that they want to follow them. Let’s get into it. lot of the work that Ive done in terms of organizations, Ive seen this in ramping up, especially where organizations are trying to get people back into a more normalized work environment. What were starting to see is there can be some real tension that is starting to build up. That’s because I believe that there are many leaders that are unaware of how their behaviors and expectations are not aligned with the new realities that are facing those that they need to follow them. 

This is based on behaviors. If we think about all the different things that are going on within the life of an employee and not to say that this isnt within the life of a leader as well, somebody thats leading a team, but there were many different things. We talk about work, home, and the line being blurred. I would suggest that its not even a blurred line anymore. That line has been blown up. It doesnt exist. In most people now working remotely, there is no line anymore. Work and home are the same place which can add their own stress. Financially, many individuals might be challenged with the security of their job. How secure is their current situation, their spouses, or their significant other? Maybe theyre with a company that is challenged themselves in regards to how the new realities of the economy were in has impacted their business, and theyre now needing to look to reducing overhead? 

Being able to recognize other people for what they're doing is important. Click To Tweet

Ive worked with several organizations where Ive been asked to come in because theyre going to be reducing their employee size and working with individuals to help them transition out of that, as well as working with those that are left behind managing. How do you help them to help those that are still around to have a sense of security and navigate this? I know one of the episodes that I spoke to before was around resilienceThat is something that were going to see more of the need for understanding how do you develop resilience? Some other areas though that were challenged and we can think of individuals or people that have children at home. Their bandwidth has been stretched in terms of Wi-Fi. I know it has at our house, but also some of these individuals now are almost substitute teachers as well for their kids because theyre working remotely. 

If you throw that into the mix, it adds another level of stress for individuals. Also, one of the things that we dont hear much about is grief, that individuals are grieving right now. This isnt about being weak and thinking, “You only grieve if you lose a loved one.” From an outside appearance, you can be the most rugged individual, but I guarantee you, theyre still grieving. Thats going on. It looks different in what were grieving could be different. It might not have been able to go to sporting events. That was a huge outlet for some people, and not having that ability to go to a sporting event has had a significant impact on them. Whether they know it or not, it certainly has. 

Social events over the summer. People that have not had an opportunity to socialize, do cookouts, and outings with friends on larger scales. Those things play into it. People that love musicals, plays, or concerts, not being able to go to those impacts us. Not being able to travel, not being able to go to restaurants like you used to before because of all of these concerns, wearing masks, and separation that even when you go in there, theres a different feel to it than you might normally have in terms of casually deciding you want to go out for dinner at the last minute. If we go back to work for a minute, we can think of new hires and how difficult that is. 

If you think of trying to onboard as a new hire, how difficult that can be in terms of understanding the culture, what’s expected of me. That provides a lot of stress in regards to a new employee coming onboard and an organization that doesnt have that same connection or ability to onboard the way they would have before the pandemic. All of these things play into the new realities that are facing all of us. If we dont recognize those, align our behaviors and our expectations on those that are experiencing those things, were going to run into problems. Either disengagement or engagement that Ive seen where its unproductive. It’s disruptive engagement, but both are challenging. 

The question is, how do we deal with this? From an alignment standpoint, there were a number of behaviors that we can start to look at. Congruence is one. Am I in alignment? Is our company in alignment with our values? This is a great time to dust off the values and take a look at them and say, “On the decisions that were making, how were treating our employees, how Im interacting with employees, how is it in alignment with our values? 

LFL 110 | Followers

Followers: Many leaders are unaware of how their behaviors and expectations are not aligned with the new realities that are facing their followers.


If were saying our employees are our most valuable asset, what are we doing? How are we supporting them if its around collaboration or integrity? Those are in our values. How are those playing out right now? It is an important time to take a look at our values, like if youre out in the ocean and youre in rough seas, youre looking at your GPS to find out where your coordinates are, to get you to where you need to go. This is the same thing. Your values and your mission in this environment allow us to get back on track. We can use those as an opportunity to say, “How am I behaving? How are the decisions that Im making and the interactions that Im having? Are they in line with what our values are?” 

Next is around appreciation and recognition. I did a workshop with a healthcare provider with a team. One of the individuals was talking about how another person on this team that at the end of every day, this person was going out of their way to thank this individual for the prep work that they were doing on the rooms that they had to go into. This individual said, “This is the first time that Ive been with a group that theres been that type of appreciation. We overlook the little things and how important that can be because this took ten seconds for this person to say this. It was sincere. That mattered to this individual. In this time, the realities that were in, being able to recognize other people for what theyre doing is so important. 

We need that. Next, we can think about connections and creating a sense of belongingness, even from a distance remotely, and how important that is for people to feel as though they are still part of a team. I had a question and it was talking about, “How do we maintain our culture remotely? I say, “It’s very difficult to do that because you need to be in connection with people.” We need to be with people and its about behaviors that create the culture, not the words that we say our culture stands for. We need to get a hold of that. How do we create belongingness? Reaching out to people periodically, not on a specific schedule, but reaching out and asking people how are they doing? What do they need? That creates belongingness and an in-group. 

What somebody says and what they really might mean might not be the same thing. Click To Tweet

We need more of that nowadaysYoull hear through many of the presentations and podcasts that Ive done where I talk about the research around belongingness and how important that is. Listening is extremely important. I was in a workshop around conflict with a large organization where we are talking about how do we listen, especially when were challenged that its about listening for understanding, as opposed to listening to undermine. 

There are a number of different ways that we can demonstrate our listening. Through Zoom with our eyes, its watching what other people were doing if were seeing them on the screen. It’s also important to listen with our ears. What are people saying? The tone of voice, the words that theyre using, and then facial expressionsWhat are they doing on the screen that we might be able to pick up on that its out of alignment? What theyre saying and what theyre feeling is not the same thing. 

Two that I think are even more important in this environment where we have less facetoface is listening with our mind, what somebody says and what they might mean might not be the same thing. A lot of people are dealing with a lot of stress and tension. If somebody is saying something out of frustration that they dont mean, theres something behind that. This is about pausing and rather than we react or we respond. We take a moment to think about, “What else is going on here?” It leads to the fourth type of listening that we can do. 

This is about listening with our heart or listening with compassion. This is about listening to other people the way that we would want them to listen to us when theyre talking to us that, “Im truly trying to understand where youre coming from. There was so much need for this now and the importance of it because people are facing a whole different set of realities. If we truly are listening to whats going on, were going to make a greater connection with people and better communication. 

Empathy stands by itself here. Demonstrating empathy to other people of thinking about the things that are going on. Were all facing things that weve lost. Maybe it was a graduation that we didnt get to go to, a birthday we didnt get to celebrate, grandparents that arent able to see their grandkids, a trip that was canceled, and we dont know when thats going to happen. We all have these things going on. I was talking to one of the organizations that I was working with. She was talking about a nurse within the group that she had made plans with her to go on vacation to a Caribbean Island. 

The director was struggling with this yet also was challenged with the idea that she said, I know that this person is struggling right now because this person had two cruises that had already been canceled and had a wedding that had been postponed all because of this. This person was at their wits end and was struggling so much emotionally.” You need to step back and realize that somebody is going to act out in the way of like, Im going on vacation and you can write me up if you want, but it speaks to the need for people to have some sanity in their lives or diversion when many things have knocked on their way, and we need to be empathetic to that. 

Lastly, it is around clear expectations. What do we need from them each other? How are we going to navigate this situation? If theres ever a time where we need to be even more clear in regards to what the expectations are, its in this environment where people are torn in different directions to have the ability to understand exactly how were going to navigate this new reality successfully. It’s important. “What do I need from you? What can you expect from me? Even down to the meetings that we have. Oftentimes, we will see if those meetings are not organized well in terms of the time that the meeting is going to start. When its going to end that we stick to that timeline? That, “Here are the agenda items for this meeting, so we all know what were going to talk about. 

These are our little things but very important things in terms of setting clear expectations. We need to do that. If were going to align ourselves back with the new realities that are facing those people that we are expecting to follow us. This is about inspiring, empowering, and compelling those to follow us. That happens through our actions. When we look at inspiration, its about the, I want to. Ive behaved in ways that you say I want to follow where youre going.” You get whats going on right now. The empowered part is the employee that says, I can do this. I have the support, direction, materials, and the resources that I need to do this. 

LFL 110 | Followers

Followers: On the decisions that we’re making, how we’re treating our employees, and how we’re interacting with employees, how is it in alignment with our values?


Lastly, the compelling part is that, I want to do this. I will do this. Im committed to this thats because of the way youve treated me throughout this whole process. You have influenced me in a way that Im committed to what were about here. Im going to follow through on what I said. Not because Im afraid that Im going to be punished or penalized for not doing it, but internally, its because I want to do this for you, for the team, for this organization, Im going to do this. 

I hope this has been helpful to you and valuable. It’s something that I continue to see as a theme here around a challenge to become aligned with how I behave and what I expect as it relates to the new realities that were all facing. Those things need to come into alignment. Things have changed. As I continue to say on the posts and on social media outlets that I present to, “We can do better. We need to do better.” hope you were able to go out there and take a look at your own behaviors and expectations of those that are around you. You can ask yourself, “Are they in alignment with the new situation and new realities that were in?” Until our next episode, I hope youre able to go out there and rise above your best. Peace. 

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