Category Archives: Leadership Development
We are in the time of year where we’re forced to consider many intersects of our work and personal lives.
End of year projects, budgets, and tasks getting resolved that overlap the increased activity of family, friends, and festivities. Not to mention time for shopping, winter chores, and cooking for the myriad of get-togethers in both home and office.
And yet leaders look to set themselves new goals and generate some excitement for the coming year when they are typically the most frantic and busy.
So how does a leader re-energize themselves? Here are 7 simple ways in no particular order to help us get ready for the coming year:
Relax. Block out some time for yourself. Have a quiet coffee shop break, or take a longer drive home to see the holiday lights. Book some quiet time for yourself and shut off your device to allow your brain and body to rest and alleviate tension. Sleep in at least one morning.
Reset. The coming year is a great psychological gift. Use it! What happened in the past year can either carry on for the new one or be a lesson to improve – it’s all up to you. Celebrate completed goals and write off those fallen short as object lessons, or use them with new focus, or replace them altogether.
Restore. This is a great time to clean and organize your office and home. This act of restoring order to a chaotic and frenetic year not only is symbolic, but allows you to operate in a calm baseline. Apply this to other areas – teams, goals, celebrations, etc – and return to the real cause of what you want to impact,
Reconnect. We can’t squeeze everyone in during this time, but sometimes reconnecting with old friends or colleagues and tell them how much you appreciate them can go along way in refocusing your relationships. Phone calls work best, but texts or social media messages can go a long way to start the ball rolling.
Refresh. Look over your core values and mission for yourself and your company. Read it every day for the rest of the year. Then make a “to be” list for WHO you want to become, not what you want to accomplish. Focus on character building and influence rather for the year to build yourself and others around you.
Remind. Look at past failures and vow to learn and never make them again. Look at your goals and build ways to make them a reality. Dream big daily and keep a clear vision for what you set out to do in your life.
Recharge. This should always be the last point. Once all other areas are tended to, then you should recharge. Or, more properly, re-Charge. Charge forward with new perspective and a healthier attitude for the coming year. Don’t wait until January 1st to do so; get a head start so it becomes more than just a New Year’s Resolution. Make it a habit early so as to instill a better chance for success in the long term.
While this is a great time to be others-minded, use the last couple of weeks of the year wisely for yourself. Enjoy the holidays, and the process to continue to grow.
Generations ago the typical work week as Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm. Needless to say that model rarely if ever exists today.
Most workplace environs run beyond the old school work week. Banks have been open Saturday mornings for many years. The service industries of retail and restaurant have grown past blue law Sundays and even run 24 hour operations (such as McDonald’s and Wal-Mart). The trucking industry has been on the go around the clock for decades. Healthcare facilities need 24 hour care workers, and electrical workers need to be on call for many hours at a time due to storms.
And thinking more long term, many companies span time zones and countries, making a leader’s task of connecting with their people more challenging than ever before.
In order to be an effective leader, you cannot stay within the confines of a work timeframe that is comfortable for you, especially when your people look up to you. The best leaders find ways to reach out and impact their teams during times that it is not convenient for themselves, in order to tie together the people who work in these expanded time workplaces.
Here are some real-life examples of how effective leaders work across today’s round-the-clock and/or round-the-globe organizations:
- They know their job is to serve their employees and put personal convenience aside for that end.
- They use the old and still effective management-by-walking-around method to physically be at those places or shifts to connect with those teams.
- They set aside some of their work for off-hours and ensure their working day is in support of the mission-critical actions of the organization.
- They show up unexpectedly on a day off or holiday to lend their support.
- These leaders work long days to connect with second shift or come in extra early to meet with the 3rd shift and break down those silos.
- The best leaders will often travel to remote locations to ensure culture permeate the local area and that they feel connected to the homebase.
- They use technology like Zoom, Skype, and other online platforms to host meetings and live discussions.
- They make those team building conference or person-to-person calls at 2 am to reach that team across the globe.
- They don’t see their role as having arrived and not needing to put for the extra effort. They see their role as having greater scope and responsibility and needing to extend themselves even further for the organization to succeed.
If you’re company extends across shifts or time zones, you have opportunity today like never before to effect a winning culture and connect with your people. Leaders will make the effort, managers and supervisors will not.
Many leaders have either one of three approaches to influence people to perform certain behaviors.
They either Assume, Ask, or Affirm. And based on how they use these can yield a variety of differing results from their people.
Approaches that Assume will either:
- Assume ill intent or poor performance
- Observe without all the facts
- Believe once told the training is complete
- Can be presumptuous
- Closely associate with top-down, “do as I tell you” managing styles
- Deter trust form your people
- Alienate engagement and connection
Some creative ways to use Positive Assumption:
- Assume good intent
- Trust people want to generally do a good job
- Know that people are willing to learn and grow
- Believe your people want to share the vision
Asking approaches vary in these ways:
- Asking to find fault
- Coupling with a condescending or condemning tone
- Impersonal if phrased incorrectly
- Puts people on the defensive
- Hides true motives of the question
An effective leader Asks in these ways:
- Prefaces questions with reasons and transparency
- Asks as a favor, not a command
- Inquires for understanding and facts, not dirt
- Asks to fill a need, not carry out a duty
The Affirming leadership approach has these challenges:
- Being too nice and not talking straight
- Leading people to not face reality of course correction
- Can give false sense of security and lead to complacency for entire teams and organizations
It’s best to couple the Affirming approach in the following ways:
- Trusting in the right values and vision that align with the core
- Believing in the skills and abilities of the individual(s)
- Confirm shared vision and goals
- Recognize clear understanding so all parties on the same page
- Lead others to the feeling of accomplishment during the process
While there are many camps that prefer one way or the other, it all comes down to approach and dynamics from the leader. Any style, managed poorly, can have an adverse effect. But with the right understanding of your people and how to influence up, you can use virtually any approach to a positive effect while keeping intact the mutual respect and drive for your teams.