While most people are busy creating their avatars with Facebook’s new feature, I found myself creating an avatar of a different type for myself!
Having a lighter schedule this week, I’ve finally had the time to do the one thing I’ve been wanting to do but had to put off – To hire a content writer to grow my team.
As I sat attempting to craft an “avatar” for the ideal team members that I want to build my A-Team with, my business coach turned the question on the head when he said, “Have you ever asked yourself why should people hire you as their leader?”
This question triggered me to reflect on deeper questions, such as:
Who am I to be the leader that people want to follow?
What do I bring to the table as a leader?
Have I been a good boss to even begin with?
What is an Avatar… Really?
To help myself craft the avatar of boss that I want to be, I did a quick check on the meaning of “Avatar” on Dictionary.com. It led me to see so many different definitions.
For me, the most meaningful is #2: “An Embodiment or Personification, as of a Principle, Attitude, or View of Life.”
Great definition! Question is “How can I be the embodiment of the principles, attitudes and views of life of a great leader?”
Talking of embodiment, I am reminded something that happened in my business recently.
Am I The Avatar Of The Kind Of Leader That I Would Want To Join?
I had tasked my virtual assistant, who’s based in the Philippines to project manage a training program for an education institution. She had to liaise between the client training coordinator and the freelance trainer that we’ve proposed for the program.
A slight miscommunication had led to the client’s instructions not properly communicated to the trainer. However, the trainer reacted with anger and blamed my assistant for not having communicated properly. I had seen the email correspondences and I felt the trainer had been too harsh in how he reacted.
Sensing something was off that afternoon, I spoke to my assistant on Zoom to understand what really happened and how she was feeling. She apologised profusely for making the mistake. Having understood the full situation, I accepted the apology from her, so matter solved right?
To me, NOPE… The real issue wasn’t solved yet…
After speaking to the trainer to understand his side of the story, I had to take the chance to let him know that much as I’d love working with him, I just cannot let it pass when people treat my team member with disrespect.
Professionalism, Respect for others and Empathy are core values of our company, and if they disrespect my team member, they are disrespecting me. We do not work with people, no matter how talented they are if they do not embody these core values.
The trainer apologised to me and my assistant, and promised that he would manage his emotions and mind his communications in future.
That incident had a profound impact on my assistant.
She shared with me that she was very affected when she received the harsh email. It reminded her of how, in her previous virtual jobs, she had been often scolded and called “stupid.” She felt unappreciated, and she’d come to expect that this is the norm for virtual working arrangements. However, with me she not only felt supported, she felt that respected and appreciated.
By any stretch of imagination, I am not the perfect leader, I am still a work-in-progress working towards the avatar of my ideal self. The story not only helped remind me of my core values, it also inspired me to think further about who I am as an entrepreneur and human being. What can I provide to my team members besides a job and salary?
More often than not, it is not just the monetary factors that keep people engaged, inspired and want to stay. It is the intangible factors like growth opportunities, respect, significance, appreciation and the opportunities to make a difference that matters.
Challenges of Leadership in a Pandemic and How You Can Craft an Avatar of a Great Leader
Being a leader during pandemic times can be very taxing and difficult.
My leadership communications coaching clients have share with me that on top of coping with the pressures of keeping businesses afloat in tough economic times, they also have to grapple with a myriad of challenges brought about by working from home, such as:
- How can we onboard new hires and make them feel a sense of belonging?
- How can we maintain productivity of employees working from home?
- How can we sustain the team and company culture?
- How can we communicate difficult news with empathy and compassion?
I believe that in order to meet these needs, leaders will have to take a step back and reflect on themselves by asking questions like:
- Why should my team members hire me as their leader?
- Who am I to engage, influence and inspire my team members?
- If I were to craft an avatar of myself as a leader, how can I better embody the Principles, Attitudes and Views of Life that I want my team to follow?
For more on Leadership Communication During the Covid-19 Pandemic, you can read my previous article here.
Playing with Facebook Avatars can be fun, for a while. I believe once the excitement fade, people will stop getting intrigued by it. Instead, if you’re looking to develop yourself as a person of influence, then I’d encourage you to dig deeper, uncover your values and create the more important avatar of who you are, what’s your brand and why people should follow you!