The number #1 reason employees quit/checkout – their boss. As a “boss” most of my career I understand the challenge. Not suggesting I’m perfect either. But are you learning from your mistakes? Maybe more importantly, are you actively helping your leaders learn?
Sitting on the Roof – Leading
Very early in my career I worked for a business owner of a restaurant. I was promoted to shift leader then manager. He was opening new stores and was starting to build his management team. I remember one day as he took me aside. He noticed that I had learned all aspects of the business and ran myself in circles being there for all of my crew. While he appreciated my energy he knew that it was not sustainable. He told me something that stuck with me all my career. He said that if I was effectively leading the store. Creating leaders and key members, that the team would run itself. If I could do that he didn’t care if I sat on the roof.
As the Owner or CEO I think one of your primary focuses should be on developing leaders within your organization. At all levels. Continuously. If that’s not in your skill set or your other skills are better applied to different areas of your business…then find someone who is able and empower them to own your companies’ leadership development plan including succession planning. If you don’t have that person on your team yet – then start with finding a leadership coach to help build your skills, your teams, and help identify your leadership development lead.
Two areas to focus on in that role – communications and expectations.
There is no one size fits all approach for developing leaders. While all leaders should have good communication and people skills – some are better at leading people – others processes. It’s important to have that distinction to help clarify the next part – expectations.
- Effective communicator with their team – this includes listening, empathy, yet being clear with your expectations. There is great value in being a strong leader – just do it and be real.
- Attention – people and process require your time. Be Present. Close the laptop, turn off the phone, be engaged in the conversation.
- Building relationships – the foundation of leading is building strong relationship so you can motivate and empower.
- Connecting Emotionally – feelings do matter. One of the most challenging aspect of leading is creating an emotional connection and understanding how emotional connection influence your team. As a Process Owner – how will it make your team members feel to meet the goals of that project? Ask them. Have them write it down and give I to you. When goals are met celebrate and read it back to them!
Next is managing expectations. You can have a strong “connection” with your team but if they are not clear what you expect from them…well, it’s not going to happen. Expectations manifest in three ways – Trust, Accountability, Results.
Let’s look at these, but Flip it – from your teams perspective of or expectations of you.
- Results – be clear on your expectations. CAREFULLY pick your goals, the leader must have direct responsibility to achieve that goal (profit, everyone’s goal – but usually driven by a few key leaders), identify measurable goals, break down into monthly/quarterly milestones.
- Trust – requires you to trust first – employees cannot learn to be trust worthy if you don’t show them.
- Accountability – empower them to achieve, be mindful of micromanaging – big deflator of accepting responsibly, be open to new approaches to solving the challenges – use Results/Goals to get clear
This topic, “Leadership”, may be the most written business topic of them all. Reams of research and methods exist. If you have not heard of Servant Leadership that may be a topic worth investing some time in.
Are you working towards sitting on the roof? What’s your measure of success for a leader?