A friend of mine recently lamented how she unsuccessfully went in to bat for a team member to get a much-deserved pay rise.
“I feel like I let him down, and I’m scared he’ll now leave the team,” she told me.
I reminded her that she did what most leaders don’t: she listened to his concerns and intentionally acted on them. ie she acted in service of him.
It sounds obnoxiously simple, so much so that I questioned whether this is even worth sharing, but this idea is surprisingly rare. While some decisions and outcomes might be outside your control, making people feel seen and heard is within your control.
Oftentimes people want to feel genuinely seen, heard and understood more than they want a decision changed.