Being a manager or leader is a 24/7 proposition. There's very little if any down time. Yet to be an effective manager and leader, you need to be on the look-out constantly for opportunities to improve and enhance your own performance and that of your team. How is any mere mortal supposed to do all of this?
Be smart. Be strategic. Be realistic. Identify just one thing at a time to enhance. Just as Curly, in the movie City Slickers indicated, the secret to life is THE one thing each of us believes is essential. So pick just one leadership "thing" at a time to enhance. Don't overcomplicate it. Don't buy into the theory that it's wise to throw as much onto your team as they can tolerate to test their mettle. That's just asking for chaos and for your team to burn out. Be smart. Be strategic. Be realistic.
So pick just one thing. Identify one leadership skill that, if understood and implemented regularly by all of your managers, would generate real benefit.
What basic skill would help them and their team members? The skills you identify don't need to be sexy; they need to be key skills needed by your managers to help their team members. Basic skills such as the following are great ways to enhance leadership skills - one step at a time:
- Say "Thank You." Encourage your managers to acknowledge the contributions and positive behaviors of their team members regularly. Often team members only hear from their managers when they do something wrong. Why not communicate regularly to enhance those relationships?
- Communicate status. Coach your managers in how to share information on a regular basis to help team members understand things such as: How is the company doing? Is the company meeting its targeted goals and objectives? What challenges are anticipated? Share with your team members information that allows them to better understand why the ebbs and flows of pressure and workflow occur. Share information with them so they can be part of the conversation -- and part of the solution.
- Ask for input. Teach your managers how to comfortably and regularly ask their team members for their input, ideas, and solutions to problems. Though this sounds basic, if team members haven't been asked before, they're hesitant to speak up and won't trust their managers' sudden interest in their ideas - so they won't offer any. It takes time. It requires building trust. It requires solid leadership. But it produces incredibly strong, collaborative teams who solve problems and produce more.
Identify just one thing. Identify just one leadership skill that would help your managers and help your team members. Identify just one leadership skill that will help you help them. Be smart. Be strategic. Be realistic. It will take time and it will be met with resistance - by managers and team members alike. However, that's part of leadership and it all starts with just one idea at a time.
Copyright MMXI Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.