In business, it's inevitable that we're going to end of being in charge of people and there are many different ways to lead.
But the most difficult task is understanding just how you become a good or even great leader or mentor. It's incredibly difficult to understand what you need to do and even more difficult to put yourself in each of your employee's shoes to really understand what they think and what they need.
Now in addition to their needs, you all need to understand the needs of the organization and make critical decisions on what the best route is for your team based on both aspects. You're not always going to make decisions that make everyone happy and that's okay.
Leadership in and of itself is ultimately putting your pride aside and learning that you need to be both confident and repetitive with your team. The repetitive nature of getting people to do tasks by reminding them constantly or checking in with them ultimately builds a system and moves people into being used to doing it.
Your pride and ego need to be put aside in order to make the best possible decisions without getting emotional with your team. You must be able to articulate your points and ask questions in several different ways to ensure that each person on your team understands what they need to do and even more importantly why.
If your team understands the why and the larger implications they will be much more likely to rally behind a big project or initiative. If you leave them in the dark they're more likely to not care due to not feeling connected to what you're doing.
Emotions have their place in certain scenarios, but as the leader and the person your team looks to for support, guidance and a rallying point you cannot join in on complaining about your life, how hard things are or, being negative or you invite that environment into your team dynamic.
You need to be the one they look to as the shining star that can be the catalyst to move them forward.
Now organizing people to stay on task on a day to day environment is not simple. But what I find most effective are two strategies:
- Daily 15min huddles where you talk about the goals of the day, needs, and concerns
- Bi-weekly (or twice monthly) meetings with your whole team.
You can do one or both of these to ensure you are always on point with your team.
If you do 15min daily huddles this is where you ensure you have constant communication, tasks are assigned and completed and talked about the next day so it leaves little room for slacking off and it rally's the team for the day. Do not let these drone in for more than 15min or people will begin to hate it.
Keep it short and keep is concise and allow everyone to provide input and you'll see the biggest benefits.
For bi-weekly meetings, you organize your whole staff or department to meet on the same time every month. We combine ours with pizza Friday so everyone has something to look forward to afterward.
In these meetings, you organize a plan of action for the next two weeks, relevant long term plans and assign tasks for the periods between meetings. You also allow your staff to communicate with each other about frustrations and issues they may be experiencing and talk with those who are not staying on task about why they cannot stay on task.
For the people who constantly miss deadlines and cannot stay on task I would recommend meeting with these individuals in a 1-on-1 environment and ask them why, what they think needs to change for them to do better and create the understanding that you're there to support them, but you're also intent on keeping the team working smoothly and the team is only as strong as the weakest link.
Do not drag it on if they make excuses say they will improve and don't do anything or simply don't listen. These kinds of people are not ready to make the commitment required and will end up putting you in a difficult place when they quit and blame you down the road for their shortcomings. I talk more about this in my Sometimes you have to let people go video
I often say that your employees are the single most important and the most critical aspect of your business. Treat them that way by being a leader who works to understand them, but stays firm to the goals and needs of the organization's long-term strategy. That strategy should NEVER be at the detriment to your staff.
Want more info on leadership and being an effective leader? Check out my recent video on how to be an effective leader and manager