Thanks to everyone who contacted me directly to share their thoughts after reading part one of my essential leadership tips. It’s a tough job being the boss huh?! Many of you said if you’d known what you were walking into, you would have run as fast as you could in the other direction; tongue in cheek of course. But there’s a hint of truth there that reminds us that not all people make good leaders. In fact, many struggling leaders realise that they were more successful when they weren’t managing a team.
For example, how many times have we seen a top sales person promoted into a management role only to have company sales drop and staff turnover increase?!
Look, if being a leader was easy then everyone would do it, but it quite frankly is one of the toughest gigs there is. Being on your ‘A-game’ day in, day out, no matter what is being thrown at you professionally or personally, is no small feat. It takes resilience, it takes a whole lot of empathy and it requires you to lead by example all day every day. So why do we do it? Because we believe we can make a difference!
This weeks questions are designed to explore what all strong leaders need to know about their team members and why it makes a difference.
1. Do you know what the core motivator is for each individual person within your team?
Each and every person in your team is unique; whether they’re doing the same job as the person sitting next to them is irrelevant. Each person has a button which is unique to them, and when pushed will motivate them to achieve more than either of you ever imagined.
For some people it might be money, for others a sense of purpose. For a job well done, a motivator could be public recognition or time off to spend with family. Whatever the core motivator is, it is an incredibly powerful tool which you can use to empower someone to achieve, what they may have felt was, the unachievable.
2. Can you name two things that each of your team members like to do outside of work?
Every person in your team has interests outside of work. Whether it’s family, cooking, sports, travelling, seeing bands, attending dance parties, painting, studies, social causes, the list goes on and on. What they do in their personal time makes them happy so why wouldn’t you want to bring those interests into your work environment?
Of course, you need to be authentic in all your interactions with people. If you’re not, they’ll see right through you and you will no doubt experience some awkward moments. Coming from a place of genuine interest is essential. If you can’t, or simply don’t want to, then you’re probably not reading this anyway. For the rest of you, I know you want to be the best leader you can be, so take a genuine interest in people, find a way to incorporate their outside interests and watch them flourish.
3. When one of your team members is struggling at work, do they feel comfortable telling you?
People are not robots! Whether you have hundreds of people reporting into you or a small team, you must remember this. No matter what pressure you’re under from your boss to deliver, creating an environment where people are comfortable telling you they’re struggling at work is critical to your success. When people are struggling they’ll be feeling very overwhelmed, so it’s your job to uncover what’s wrong and do what’s needed to fix it. Ask yourself whether the person has the right amount of permission to do their job or whether they’ve been provided with the right amount of training. If you answer yes to both of these questions, you can safely assume the problem might be more personal.
If it’s personal, not everyone will feel comfortable confiding in you, but acknowledging that the problem exists and giving the person the right environment to work through it is critical to helping them get things back on track. Simply listening without judgement, or letting someone go an hour early to attend to the problem, is sometimes all it takes to turn things around. The important thing is they feel comfortable telling you, knowing their job won’t be at risk, and that you genuinely want to help them get back on track.
Being sensitive to the needs of others, being empathetic and giving support when it’s needed, makes you a strong leader. If you see these things as a sign of weakness you couldn’t be more mistaken in my opinion. Building a team who knows you’ve got their back during the tough times is critical in lowering staff turnover, for maintaining high performance and for creating a positive and upbeat working environment. I’m a true believer that what you give out you get back, so if what you’re getting is a whole lot of grief, then knowing the answers to these three questions is a great way to start turning things around for the better.
Have a great week everyone!
Director - Creative Recruiters
m: +61 413 453 563
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