If the two-word definition of leadership is “Meet needs,” then you have frequent opportunities to be very explicit about that mission by taking three seconds to ask some variation of:
“Is there anything I can do to help you with that?”
This was referred to in a previous post as the “cherry on top” of feedback, but it warrants a separate, focused mention.
There are many variations of this phrase you can use:
“Can I show you how?”
“Would you like help?”
“Should we come up with a system?”
“What if I send you a reminder?”
“What do you need to make sure that happens?”
If any command, criticism, new instruction, corrective feedback, or problem identification is immediately followed by this willingness to help, you provide safety and assistance for those you serve.
Some critics may argue that helping people will only make them less independent, but I disagree.
We don’t have the space here to get into Blanchard’s Situational Leadership, but empowering people by working with them to solve problems, and teaching them to do so on their own, will lead to greater independence and better relationships in the future.
If you’re correcting punctuality issues, offer a reminder alert.
If you’re addressing sloppy work, offer a model – or a proofread of a rough draft.
If disrespectful body language in meetings is the issue, offer a code word or gesture to remind them that they’re falling back into old habits.
Try this for a couple of weeks, and see what happens.
Is there anything I can do to help you with that?