The age old leader’s challenge…when I see new leaders take up their role they do one of 2 things- they become everyone’s best mate, or ‘bestmaters’ or they become dictators.
I understand why they do both- bestmaters need to be liked and therefore don’t want to feel alienated from their team, and dictators fear losing control – making them look bad – so they use extreme control measures- often fear.
Neither are as effective as the middle ground…the pendulum really does need to swing back to centre where your staff feel like you actually like them and value their presence in your team, but know that the buck stops with you and therefore if you need to you will have the tough conversations with them if they’re not performing or could perform even better. That’s what makes a powerful leader.
Most managers will agree with me when I say that managing staff can be like running a kindergarten…in management you get to see staff sometimes act like kids, have tantrums, throw their toys around, bully others, storm off and sulk. After all we are all just kids in adult’s clothing- so expect this. I guess then, you’ll understand why at our Leadership workshops we talk about this quite openly and teach a simple leadership model to understand how to get the pendulum in the middle.
If you look at any good parent they have love at the centre of their parenting, then expectations/boundaries followed by consequences followed by Action or Follow Through…do the same in your leadership practice.
- LOVE YOUR STAFF– no, don’t go kissing and touching them- it’s illegal ha ha… just let them know you genuinely care about them and their well being. Be committed to this. Demonstrate it by making time with each of them regularly (no, not every 6 months at some kind of review!!), but weekly, fortnightly or monthly will all work- only if you make the date and stick to it. Prioritise it so they feel important, and don’t be late to it.
- SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS– Have some time with your whole team with a whiteboard/flip chart and facilitate them through these questions- they’re GOLD! Let them answer each question- write everything up on the board/flip chart. Then negotiate at the end what you can all agree to. This will build trust that you are open to what they want to say. It doesn’t mean it’s right, but don’t shoot them down when they speak or they’ll never tell you what they need, and that just leads to demotivated staff who think you don’t care. Ask them: What do you expect from me? What do you think I expect from you? What do you expect from each other?
- From this SET CLEAR GROUND RULES, covering the consequences if anyone breaches these expectations. Get them to tell you what they think the consequences should be- eg. “So if someone is late to work what do you think I should do?” Make these Ground Rules your team charter that you and they will hold dearly and live by.
- FOLLOW THROUGH with this agreement- if they breach your expectations, hold them accountable by getting them into a one on one chat, and addressing the under performance/issue.
Next blog will be on How to have a Great One on One…so watch this space!! If you can’t wait til then give us a call about our Great leadership One, Two and Three workshops on 0800-832647.
Happy, powerful leading folks.