I first started to get excited about leadership concepts way back in the 90’s, when the height of coolness was to own a Nokia and Sex and the City was THE show… yes friends, Sex and the City actually started 20 years ago. The one lesson that always stuck in my mind was “Leadership 101 – make your people part of the process.”
Profound? Perhaps not.
Ground breaking? No.
True? Absolutely and basic truths sometimes get obscured by the bright shiny new objects that demand our attention. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the things that really work wonders. So that’s what I want to address today.
Have you been delegated a task but have not been given any context surrounding its importance to the overall business? Did you have no say on the outcome, or the process to get to the outcome? Was the request delivered in such a way that you felt empowered, motivated and more importantly ready to take ownership of it, together with 100% responsibility for its success and failure? When someone owns the process, this is what happens, which is why Leadership 101 is such an important lesson.
The cliché of business owners working IN the business instead of ON the business applies here. Often the day to day requirement of just getting things done means that being a leader to your team can sometimes take a backseat to managing to simply get through the day. But leading and managing are different, and they deliver different outcomes.
A true leader also manages, but they also do so much more.
How does a leader make someone feel involved in the process? There are many elements that play into this, including being a skilled communicator, having emotional intelligence, coaching, setting high standards etc; however, given that I’ve started the year focusing on the theme of planning, I am going to utilise this as an application of Leadership 101.
A recent blog I wrote suggested collaboration to capitalise on the team’s various strengths. How would your plans be fulfilled if you engaged your team in the actual planning around the plan? Would they have a greater understanding of how their day to day activity impacts the success, and more importantly failure of the plan?
I often find that the business’s big goals are not translated to the team’s key performance indicators (KPIs). If this is also true for your organisation, I wish to challenge you on how that is impacting the success of your business in achieving those targets. How could your team possibly know the importance of them hitting their KPI on the business objectives, if you don’t tell them what they are? More importantly, do they know the consequences not just for themselves but on the whole team and business overall? If you’re thinking, “well Penny’s KPIs don’t link to the broader business goals,” perhaps you should ask the question whether that activity should be done at all! Are we doing things just so we can justify the “busy?”(I’m bubbling up an article about busy too! Stay posted :))
Applying Leadership 101
If you make your people part of the process it creates an empowering scenario where ownership is a given. When you make someone part of the process you’re less likely to be ending the day wondering what needs to change to get your team involved in your journey. If your team are disengaged and under-performing, do they know what they are doing there, other than to just take a wage and pay the mortgage?
How do you make people part of the process? You involve them, as close to the start as possible. Find out how they can contribute. Find out what bits they can take on, what bits excite them, what bits need to be changed to help achieve the goal…. wait… what’s that? Yes I hear you – “Shannyn, this is an idealistic approach – what happens if the suggestions don’t make sense, or can’t be used?” Sure; that might happen, but what could happen if they domake sense, and can be used? What if utilising Leadership 101 enables your team to help get the organisation an even better outcome, quicker and with less stress? Surely that’s worth a try.
- Leadership 101 – Make your people part of the process
- Engage your team in the process as early as possible
- Engage in meaningful collaboration
- Get your team to buy in THEMSELVES
- Make sure your team’s KPIs are linked to the outcome of the process – even better if you can ask them how they want to be tracked and measured (did I mention Leadership 101?)
- Check in – is it working? If it’s not, engage the team in what they need to do to change things so that it can get back on track.
How do you apply Leadership 101 in your organisation? How and when do you engage your team in the process? Get in touch.
Tags: Business leadership strategies teamwork