How can leaders provide invisible support?

November 5, 2012 Simon Leadership Development

One of the most interesting insights I gained from the 2012 Neuroleadership Summit was Kevin Ochsner’s research suggesting that ‘invisible support’ could be more brain friendly and effective than ‘visible support’.

For many years now I have espoused the principle that the primary function of a leader is to create an environment in which their people CAN and DO perform to the best of their ability. And I think therein lies the value of invisible support. For example:

  • A leader does not have to have a coaching session scheduled – just coach people as part of your normal day-to-day interactions with them.
  • A leader does not have to schedule 1-1s in order to provide people with feedback – try to give people feedback in real time.
  • A leader does not need to ask “what help do you need from me?” – by understanding the needs of your people, you can intervene on their behalf whenever it is appropriate.

I’m sure readers can think of several more examples (and please feel free to add them via ‘comments’).

I think what has happened is that companies and training organizations have built out best practices and processes that encourage leaders to support and coach their people. However, in doing so this has led to many of these activities being formalized to a degree where the support becomes visible and dare I say, somewhat overly structured.

Perhaps the true art of leadership is to apply these best practices without people realizing you are even doing so.

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coaching, function of a leader, invisible support, leader, Leadership,

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