It’s a big question triggered by an engaging and fascinating conversation I had recently with a friend I see rarely. How do we engage as leaders to make change. And it’s a challenge for everyone…regardless of your level of responsibility or experience. The ultimate leadership test, measured in our ability to rally a diverse group towards a common goal. It’s you, plus others.
On this day, the conversation focused on this very conundrum…the challenge we face of “you + others.” Here’s what I know as a leader. You need to:
Manage EVERY day…Be engaged
- Be accessible.
- Be a student of the business. Don’t assume you have all the answers.
- Create an environment that engages your teams.
- Build Trust with your teams AND the executive team.
- Live up to agreed upon values and hold others to them.
- Business status: Flash Report, Monthly Financial Performance and Strategic Plan/Dept initiatives.
- Solve small issues before they become big…manage conflict productively.
- Insist on alignment with strategic plan and current reality.
- Get commitment within and across departments.
- Service orientation to the field and departments.
Make accountability real…focus on results
- Be clear on roles, goals and deliverables
- Define success and drive work plans to make it happen…finish what we started.
- Thank people for contribution.
- Debrief progress & learn out loud.
And secondly for our teams, can we help them see “The Big Picture”. People will naturally become more passionate about their work when they clearly understand they are part of something bigger than themselves. As a leader, you must be able to answer the five questions team members commonly ask (and they are asking these questions – whether you hear them or not):
- Where are we going? (Strategy)
- How are we going to get there? (Plans)
- How can I contribute? (Roles)
- What is our progress (urgency/accountability)
- What’s in it for me? (Rewards)
Leadership is not for the faint at heart. But the results can be rewarding. As we wrapped up our conversation, it was fun to see the action plan unfold. Can’t wait to hear the update and compare notes. Can you?