How to Lead Through Moments That Matter

How to Lead Through Moments That Matter

What is a Moment of Leadership?

Have you considered what might change within your team if you focused on moments of leadership as opposed to training on “how to be a leader?”

What’s a moment of leadership? A human moment. A moment of caring and connection.

What if we started developing leaders around moments in their experience with people? What if we built discipline and habits around powerful moments that anyone in a leadership role can focus on and practice?

Leadership is not something you can learn in a class or training session, but it is an ongoing practice that the best leaders are constantly looking to elevate and improve – an opportunity in each moment.

A Leader’s Impact on Employee Experience

There is one thing we all have in common when it comes to moments that matter: We all have the same number of moments today, tomorrow, and each and every day ahead. 86,400 moments.

Let’s challenge every leader who impacts people at your organization, every leader who has an influence on another living, breathing human being where you work to take a moment and reflect where can they elevate their thinking, their action, and their impact.

We know that employees don’t leave companies – they leave horrible leaders, or leaders who are not thinking about an “employee’s experience” but rather about merely managing an employee’s work.

Can you think of a leader – right now – at your organization that really must go because of the negative impact they have on the employee experience at your organization?

Leadership Moments That Matter

Moments of Caring

Caring is a moment that matters to people…

Have you ever asked in an interview for someone being hired into or promoted into a people leader role a question such as, “Do you care about people?” Of course, they are going to say yes. But how about following up with, “Tell me about a time where that caring elevated a person’s life or work experience.”

That’s when you really know they are committed to people – the entry point for anyone impacting the people in your organization. If they don’t, they are not seeing what’s needed in a leadership role right here, right now. 

One must care and have the desire to lead, manage, coach from a perspective of elevating people and have a high level of commitment. If you do, people start to come into focus. Once that happens, your employees start to see and feel that are cared about. They think, “My leader wants me to be performing at my best.” Suddenly, people aren’t leaving horrible managers, but rather saying, “I want to work there” or, “I want to be a part of this – because I am seen…”

Being seen – being recognized – being supported – being given opportunities – being challenged – being given the freedom to be myself and add my greatest value…

Where does all that start? It’s not from the latest HR program or leadership training, but rather from smaller moments and practices that work both in life and at work, practices that people in HR roles can influence and role model in their organizations. And keep in mind, location doesn’t matter when it comes to strong people practices and beliefs – Moments can happen in the office, on a Zoom call, in the car.

Every moment that matters touches one or more of The 8 – our philosophy about people – and they all work together to elevate your people practices and elevate the employee experience.

Moments of Gratitude

Gratitude is a perfect example of a moment that matters. Building a gratitude practice and discipline in your organization can impact people in such meaningful ways as well as impact the bottom line.

But what is gratitude and why is it important? Let’s start with what it’s not: It’s not a “thank you” – although use those two words at every opportunity. It’s not written in an email – although surprise people with something written that they weren’t expecting right now.

Gratitude is a heartfelt exchange, a commitment, a caring that is not transactional, but transformational. Gratitude elevates a moment. And it builds momentum towards the next moment. Bottom line: Gratitude strengthens relationships.

What stops us from expressing gratitude? The number one answer is usually time. Remember those 86,400 seconds…how many can you spare for gratitude? How many can your leadership team spare for gratitude? It’s in your control. You decide how many of them matter. You decide the effort you want to give to each moment.

Lack of gratitude is one of the biggest obstacles to personal progress in my opinion. Gratitude makes or breaks a leader. Can you afford both personally and professionally not to invest some time towards gratitude?

Gratitude is an internally generated capability that allows an individual to create and discover unlimited meaning and value in every situation and relationship in life.

  • Internally generated – You own and control it.
  • Capability – You can learn and grow it.
  • Unlimited & In Every Situation – It’s like the air that you breathe.
  • Life – A lifetime of appreciation – when you appreciate you increase the value of something or someone…

What are the rewards of gratitude practice? What do health researchers say about gratitude? It will impact your well-being.

  • Existing research from the US National Library of Medicine supports an association between gratitude and an overall sense of well-being.
  • A gratitude study by National Institutes of Health found subjects who showed more gratitude had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus (the part of the brain controlling a huge array of essential bodily functions) and increased levels of dopamine (neurotransmitter chemical in brain associated with positive feelings).
  • Psychological research has found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits including physical, psychological and social.

So, if science says all that, it’s a moment that matters and should be a part of any leadership development practice.

If the world is wobbly, gratitude can provide stability.

Let’s now look at another moment in the employee experience…

Moments of Personal Values

Strong organizational values have an impact on talent attraction and retention. What if we transitioned focus from the organizational to the individual? Just as an organization’s values that are used well and kept alive set an expectation – this is who we are, this is what differentiates us, this is how we will make decisions – organizations can discover those truths about the people working with them. The same things are true about an individual.

Those moments of alignment create lasting bonds between people and organizations.

If you know my personal values as HR or my leader, you know:

  • What sets my expectations and how I will interact with people
  • What differentiates me and makes me unique
  • What makes me care and what I will commit to

Why do people leave organizations other than because of poor leaders? When I feel my values aren’t in alignment with a company I work for or leader I work with. Is that a bottom-line impact with a cost associated with it? You bet.

How can you make personal values discovery a part of your interview process, your onboarding process, surveying, your offboarding process and other people touchpoints?

How could you build an even stronger relationship with me by knowing my values? The values of others you work with?

It’s a moment that matters. I am passionate about putting some of my 86,400 seconds there…I hope you will do the same.

What are other moments that matter from your leadership experience?

For more leadership insights and stories of moments that matter, listen to this blog post in its original podcast form in Episode 10 of Culture(&): The Future of Workplace Culture.