I’m beginning to think these are some of the most empowering words a leader can hear — or speak.
I was recently talking with a supervisor about a situation in one of my classes. We discussed strategies for dealing with it and I was already feeling good about the plan when he emphatically added, “Hey, Angie: I’ve got your back on this.” I had never doubted his support, but I still felt so much stronger and more confident to hear those words, knowing from experience that they were true and he would indeed back me up.
Most supervisors give lip service to supporting their subordinates. But too often, it is professed but never acted upon when conflict actually surfaces and hard words need to be spoken or actions taken to back up what was communicated in principle. Instead, the subordinate is left hanging out to dry — leading to hurt feelings, loss of trust between the supervisor and team member, and self-doubt and second-guessing in future situations.
Do you know who has your back? And do those under your leadership know that you truly have theirs?