Leadership Advance

Leadership Thoughts for Life Long Learners

Archive for the tag “team member”

You Might Be A Nag If?

We have all been guilty of eavesdropping in on a conversation at a restaurant or a coffee shop.  The other day I was guilty of listening in to a conversation between two individuals.  From all appearances it was a manager or employer with an employee.  The main mode of operation from this individual was to take out a microscope on everything that the employee had done wrong.  Mind you, I believe clear communication is important and there comes a time when you need to sit down and communicate effectively and clearly as to what the expectations are in the relationship.  This conversation did not feel like a clear communication moment from leader to team member, it felt more like the leader was “nagging” about every little thing the team member was doing.

While it may feel like human nature to nag for performance enhancement, it rarely…. if ever actually works.  The moment a leader begins to nag is the moment the leader ceases to lead.  There are many reasons why I believe nagging does not work in leadership, here are just a few:

1.  Nagging focuses on what is going wrong as opposed to what is going right.

2.  Nagging makes the assumption that the team member knows what to do and how to do it.

3.  Nagging takes the approach that the leader does not value the individual over the task.

4.  Nagging is more about lifting the leader’s ego than actually moving the team forward.

So, if nagging doesn’t work, what does?  The best way to change behavior is to focus on inspiring change.  Instead of focusing on what is wrong, focus on what the individual is doing right and then transition to raising the bar where they are falling short.  Inspire your team to BE more so that they can DO more.  Leaders will many times skip the human “being” (inspiration) of people and focus on human “doing” (the task).  For example, it is much easier for me to love when I have been loved, it is much easier for me to forgive when I have been forgiven.   So…… LEADER, how does your team view you?  As an Inspiration or a Nag?  Hopefully this blog INSPIRES you to be the Leader your called to be.

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Self Fulfillment vs. Self Development

I was reading John Maxwell book, “15  Invaluable Laws of Growth” and was deeply impacted by what he stated in the Law of Contribution.  Maxwell differentiates the difference in living a life focused on Self Fulfillment vs a life focused on Self Development.

Self Fulfillment – thinks of how something serves me.

Self Development – thinks of how something helps me to serve others.

Self Fulfillment – feeling good is the product.

Self Development- feeling good is the by-product.

I do not know any leader that would not list one of the goals of their lives as desiring a feeling of self fulfillment.  Yet, according to these definitions we realize that living with the focus of self development is a much deeper and generous claim.  I have no doubt fallen into the trap of desiring self fulfillment at different times in my life.  Yet, when self fulfillment becomes the goal it sabotages the culture you work in.  The insinuation is that there is a defining moment when we arrive.  The moment we think we have arrived we begin to lose our grip on the progress we have made.  When self development becomes the aim, we never buy in to the mindset that there is some elusive “arrival” and we focus on consistently getting better as we progress forward.

 

 

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Yesterday I was struck yet again with the fact that many of the best lessons we learn in life come from ordinary things.  I had such an experience yesterday while I was getting a haircut.  As I made my way to the chair the stylist asked a question that causes stress to rise in just about any guys mind, “How do you want your haircut?”  The answer to this question is the same as every other time; I desire my hair just how it is, just shorter.  Then the stylist asked how much hair I wanted her to cut…. a half inch… and inch?  So, in the best way possible I gave her some pointers and she told me she would cut it and then I could take a look at it and let her know what I thought.
When a few moments were completed she turned my chair around for the final REVEAL.  I looked straight into the mirror in front of me and checked out the front of my hair.  After a quick perusal I looked in the mirror as it reflected an image of the back of my head from another mirror.  The stylist then asked me a question that stirred my thoughts, she said, “Is this what you were thinking?”  In that moment the stylist was looking for me to evaluate the work she had done and give her feedback as to whether everything was exactly how I desired it to be before I left.  To be honest, she really didn’t even need to ask me for feedback because if it didn’t look right I would have immediately said something and had her fix it.  I have to live with my haircut- it affects everything about me, so feedback is not just crucial it is necessary.

This leads me to a simple thought, you wouldn’t even think about getting a haircut, or dressing in the morning without taking a glance in the mirror to get some perspective as well as some feedback as to how you look.  Feedback is crucially important to our confidence.  If feedback is that important, why do so many organizations never create a feedback loop into their culture?  Many organizations operate by a leader casting  a vision of some compelling future and then handing the task of creating that future in the hands of everyone else.  The problem with this is that it leads both parties frustrated.  The leader is frustrated because what is created never ends up looking like what they had in mind and the team players are frustrated because they create something based upon their interpretation of what the leader said, not necessarily what the leader visualized.

I am challenged to become better at creating a feedback loop in the culture of the organization I lead.  Providing feedback is not only important to the overall stress level of the organization, but it will also be a game changer to build confidence in the culture moving forward.  As a leader are you providing feedback, or are your expectations of others performance based upon a dream in your head and not an idea which has been properly communicated with sufficient feedback along the way?

Four Considerations About Delegating

Leaders learn to delegate.  The truth is, while all leaders delegate, I have come to realize not many do it well, and even fewer feel as though they are good at it.  The flip side of the coin is that there are many leaders that think they are great at delegating, but when you dig a little deeper you recognize they are not delegating effectively.  If delegation is done properly it can produce incredible results.  Delegation can maximize the leaders time, it can broaden their influence, and it can aid in producing incredible opportunity for those the leader surrounds himself with.  A few quick thoughts to consider as it relates to delegation

First, many confuse delegating a project with dumping a project on someone else.  Some leaders pride themselves in being incredible at delegating, but when you dig deeper you will discover those they are “delegating” the project to feel as though the leader is dumping unwanted projects on them.  Nothing will build distrust between a team member and leader faster than when the leader dumps what they do not want to do on someone else.  Shifting something you are responsible for onto someone else is not delegation.

Secondly, delegating without releasing your team member to actually do the work necessary is not delegation at all, but it is a sign of a control issue.  If a project is something you delegate, you must be willing to release the team member to do the hard work, but also you must be the first to praise them for the work when it is done.  A true sign of delegating without releasing is if you try to hold your team member responsible for what goes wrong with the project, but you are the first one that desires all the praise if things go well.

Third, delegation without authority is a recipe for failure.  If you delegate a project you must empower your team member and give them the authority to actually accomplish what you have asked.  You can not delegate a project yet not give the authority required to actually accomplish the project.

Last, delegating without clear expectations and timelines is not true leadership.  Delegation requires the leader to set the tone, expectations and timelines for those he is delegating a project too.  It is unfair to hold a team member responsible to timelines and expectations which have not clearly been communicated by the leader.

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