One of the more overlooked aspects in leadership is helping to remove as many obstacles that get in the way of your people succeeding.
A leader can only take an organization so far. It’s the collective, magnified successes of the individuals and teams within your organization that determine the overall achievements of the company.
In order to make your people more successful, a leader should do everything possible to ensure barriers to success are removed. Here are some examples of how leaders can clear away obstacles that hinders their team.
- Ensure processes and procedures run smoothly. Many times an employee can’t do their job effectively because of barriers that get in their way to accomplishing certain steps. These can include long procedures, tech issues or too many redundant or unnecessary steps in a routine. When processes and procedures have priority over workflow, employees will loose faith in those processes whenever it prevents them from succeeding in their work.
- Hold leadership and team members accountable for actions that create toxic cultures and hinder synergy. Have you ever had a person who holds things up or never changes because – they claim – they don’t want to do the extra work, or that it takes too much work to change what they do? Or the leader who won’t accept any new ideas unless it’s their own? This type of team or individual self-preservation is selfish and does not allow success at any level, more often than not leading to diminishing returns. Leaders must ensure that all in the organization, including themselves, have a clear vision for knowing what the overall mission is and how they help or hinder any progress towards it.
- Spend more time and money on proper training to level up your people. Many studies reveal how little resources are spent on training, and when they are allocated, how ineffective it is. Investing in your team is never a waste of money, but it needs to be effective. Sending people to conferences, online learning and other training programs need to be aligned as to how this will enable their people to succeed at their jobs. Training should always be a process of leadership and their staff working to identify what is needed to make the workplace more impactful and successful.
- Consult with all levels of the organization to identify that impede goals. Line level and field staff tend to know more about the impediments that get in the way of their work. And while good leaders generally have a pulse on those barriers, most of the time when brought to their attention the leader will admit to their employee that they were unaware of those issues. Building an open and accepting forum in which barriers are identified and resolved by every level of the organization will enable the company to move quicker and not have a blind eye or deaf ear to the real obstacles.
- Remove bottlenecks and unproductive routines that take away from mission critical focuses. Administrative committees that need multiple meetings to approve the next corporate initiative can greatly hinder the speed in which your staff can stay relevant in the marketplace. Long buying processes instill a lack of confidence in your company’s supply chain. Endless drafts to ensure that branded messaging is just right can frustrate your marketing team from being first to publicly message a new concept. If your internal bottlenecks result in a lack of speed, this will negatively impact the ability of your people to do their jobs with confidence or speed as well. Make sure all processes are necessary and expedient while ensuring they still accomplish any branding, purchasing and approval standards, but ensure those standards are mission-critical at all times.
In today’s world speed is not the only thing that matters. The ability of the entire workforce in your organization to be successful is solely the responsibility of the leader. The confidence in your people to accomplish much because they are able will transform your business and create more successful results and more engaged and committed employees.
Take the extra time to remove the obstacles and clear a runway for your team to lift off to greater heights of success.
“The key to becoming successful is to work harder on yourself than on your business” – Jim Rohn
Working hard on your business means putting in extra time, overcoming obstacles and having an exquisite knowledge of your industry.
But when we consider the above quote from noted entrepreneur and leadership expert Jim Rohn, we would have to apply what those success traits mean for working on yourself as a leader.
In that regard, ask yourself:
- Do you take extra time to read, examine your opportunity areas, self-develop?
- How hard to you work on mastering yourself, overcoming your weak areas, admitting you can get better?
- How much knowledge do you have of your shortcomings, of what others know about you, and what can make you more impactful as a leader?
If you’re not sure the answers to these questions, it means you most definitively need to start working harder on yourself. And if you know the answers, you most assuredly are already spending that time wisely in self-development,
Spending time working on your own self-development in making yourself a better person as well as a leader always pays dividends that will more than be realized in your business.
Work smarter, not harder, by working harder on yourself.
Engagement. Connection. Alignment.
Every organization covets these traits in their people, yet few organizations can claim to have this in the majority of their people. In fact, most companies have a gross disconnect within their teams.
Obtaining desired behaviors and emotional quotients in your employees doesn’t not require driving engagement or connection down through leadership to the ranks. It instead requires a bubbling up of this culture from the staff up to leadership by laying a strong platform in which people voluntarily get on board. In order to build this foundation, you need to identify any points of disconnect and root them out.
There are three core reasons why staff have a disconnect within the organization.
DISTRUST. A lack of trust in leadership can stem from any point. Trust erodes quickly and the leader(s) who can ensure every touch point is an opportunity to build trust will create a core basis on which everything else is built. Examples of behaviors that undermine trust are:
- Poor communication, hypocrisy, and management not sacrificing as much as the staff.
- So will lying, favoritism, unfair internal hiring or personnel practices, body language, and lack of commitment.
- Inequity or unfair processes that don’t apply to everyone.
- Information given only to a few, or those who ask.
- Opportunities to learn or advance that aren’t widely known.
BURDEN. When staff are required to do more with less, employees feel like they’re the dumping grounds for jobs management doesn’t want to do. Reduction of resources, layoffs, and demands for more productivity without the needed – or less – support all factor into disenfranchised people. Being a leader who makes processes and systems work more efficiently so your people can will stave off overworked feelings. Other examples may include:
- Phrases such as “The staff can do that, they have time, they can be more productive” and such communicate that they are deemed a commodity and not valued as a person.
- Companies that require, or expect, their staff to take work home, work late hours or mandatory overtime, required or expected to not willing to sacrifice anymore of their comfort or work-life balance.
- Broken systems that create more work, or barriers, or stress.
UNDERVALUED. One of the four basic needs is to feel important, or at least valued. Staff that don’t feel connected to the overall mission will start to contribute to another mission – their own. A wise leader will make their people feel appreciated and make sure the following don’t occur:
- Management that takes credit for work.
- Skewed or uneven work-life balance.
- Lack of praise, thanks, or even base recognition.
- People having no voice in matters pertaining to the work environment, management practices, work systems, or applications thereof.
Any of these three reasons being present in your organization will make your team fractured and give cause for great talent to contribute … elsewhere. By not only preventing these behaviors but also building those positive actions that enable buy-in, you can keep your people more fully connected in your company.
Give your team many reasons to trust. Ease any counterproductive burdens and give them resources to succeed. Show how much they are worth to you as employees, as people. Then watch them go to bat for your organization.