I was just promoted into a role where I now supervise other people for the first time, so what do I have to keep in mind?
StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)
The basics of leading well have not changed since the beginning of human time, and are not likely to do so anytime soon. The lessons of Leadership 101 are not optional for any leader and yet, so many talented, smart people are struggling because somehow they skipped important steps or were pushed up before learning and integrating the BASICS of good leadership. The havoc that results from ignoring the basics cannot be overstated.
The problem is… the individual star player/performer often arrives on the job without the skills to be a star coach. Excellent leadership is the exception not the norm. Sadly, it’s more often by luck, than by design, that we have any good leaders at all.
The great news is that each of us who lead other people can make a big dent in this dysfunctional paradigm, and SHIFT it. Here are SEVEN BASICS that I hope will inspire you to become the leader your people deserve. I chose these because they are so foundational and yet, often forgotten.
1. Focus on what matters most and not on what matters least. People matter more than things. Values matter more than vision. Vision matters more than strategies. The end does not justify the means when core values are violated.
2. Reward what you want and not what you don’t. This is such a basic stimulus response no-brainer, yet leaders continuously fall into the trap of rewarding and giving attention to what they don’t, like giving a poor performer flexplace just to get them out of their hair instead of dealing with the performance issues.
3. If leading other people isn’t fun for you, don’t do it. Leading requires managing relationships well and people are messy. If you aren’t interested in the complexities of managing people including dealing with their conflicts, giving constructive feedback, and inspiring them, then leading people may not be for you. Do what you really love instead. You and they will be much happier.
4. Treat every person with dignity. The Golden is ‘treat others as you wish to be treated.’ That’s about fairness and our common humanity. My Platinum Rule is, ‘treat others as they wish to be treated.” That is about demonstrating empathy and that everyone has their own needs, personalities, experiences, motivators, and fears. Good leaders learn what those things are for each person, and pay attention to them.
5. Make time to think. If your calendar is littered with meetings you don’t want or need to attend, change it. If you are caught up in the ‘tyranny of the urgent,’ stop it. Over scheduling means you aren’t making time for thinking, and when you aren’t thinking you cannot lead well and do the things that are truly important – including developing your people and yourself.
6. Listen – Listen – and then Listen some more. If you are not listening, you are not leading – period. Notice the quality of your listening and dialogue skills. Yes, it is important that you share what you think and feel with your people. HOW you share, and how you truly listen to others’ ideas and concerns will help define your leadership.
7. Model what you expect and want from others. People are watching and listening ALL the time to every single thing you do and say. Your values, your behaviors, and your actions (including body language) send powerful messages to those you lead. You will receive your own words and actions in return from them – so consider what you model very carefully.
If ALL you do as a leader of other people is to pay attention to and deepen your skills within these basics, you will do well indeed.
About the Author
Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through AskRoxi.com, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.
The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].