It’s been an interesting summer, and as always, by doing some powerful listening, I hear some clues to significant problems my clients are having. If I’m on my game, and listening intently, sometimes I can advise my client toward powerful realizations that help them to solve their own challenges and develop lasting strengths that they can use over and over again. Last month, one of my Emerging Leader clients shared with me that he struggled with Communication Skills and People Management Skills and asked me for help in developing both. Fair enough, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. Here is a short synopsis of some of the things we identified to work on.
Your Mentality Is Showing – Too often, new managers focus on the wrong sorts of things, like themselves, their capabilities, or their people’s personalities. Get focused and get the right mindset, immediately out of the starting gate. The world is a place of abundance, and a learning mentality or a growth mentality is much more appropriate for leadership than a scarcity or a limited mentality. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, or the obstacles in front of you and your team, focus on the assets and resources and capabilities that you DO have. Then get yourself and your team aligned around pursuing the skills, resources, and assets that you will need as you grow. Remind the team that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that everyone must work hard, over a long period of time, for anything that is worth having. Remind the team to be patient in earning the growth and progress that they seek, and keep them moving forward.
Improve Performance Steadily – Get your head around how your team is performing currently, and help them by focusing on helping THEM to achieve ambitious results. If your team wins, it follows logically, that YOU will win in the end as well. Communicate expectations and goals to your team early and often. Help the team to visualize what success looks like, and help them to remain focused on long-term success. If you have people on your team who are underperforming, spend some time with them making some discovery and determining the REAL root cause of the problems. In my experience, far too often, leaders assume that underperformance is the result of lazy, lackluster employee effort. The reality of the situation is that 80% of the time, the problem with performance starts with the leadership. If you provide exceptional training, clear communication, effective motivation, and regularly remove obstacles from the path of your team, you greatly enhance their chances of tasting success!
Communication is Crucial To Success – I haven’t been able to figure out a strategy of leading people that doesn’t start and finish with excellent communication. Great communication starts with powerful listening. You must pay attention and really think while you are listening. Unfortunately, your people won’t always have the experience and clarity to tell you what is REALLY going on. Sometimes, they need to thrash around a bit to figure it out. Unfortunately, sometimes your team will have to talk through the problem to determine the real root cause. This is where you will likely do your best and most valuable work. Once you have determined the REAL root cause of a problem, then you can thoughtfully prepare your team to take action on the resolution. Again, this is when you will likely have a significant impact on your team and do some of your most valuable work. Engage in open and constructive conflict with your team to dig into problems and find long-lasting solutions. You will have to maintain a positive problem-solving state of mind, and show others how to engage in conflict in ways that lead to greater teamwork and collaborative problem solving.
Manage Your Team By Walking Around – You cannot lead a top-notch organization from the comfort of your leather chair in your office. You need to develop trust among your team, and there is no better way to do that than by being visible and by being a servant leader who gets out among the people and providing valuable support and helping them overcome challenges and seizing opportunities. Set high expectations, help them to understand goals clearly, and get them moving in a positive direction. You are the one person who can most impact the results that your team delivers, and it starts with you going first and setting a fantastic example. Move around and ask questions and listen carefully, so that you can help the team to develop action plans that lead to the consistent achievement of high performance and team results.
Remember, Emerging Leaders, when your team wins, you win! Your company will never pay a manager or a leader for their effort and time; they only pay for RESULTS! That is a fair expectation and one that you can easily master if you determine that you are going to become a good communicator and people manager. Your value in the marketplace will grow quickly and steadily, if you dedicate yourself to serving the team, and providing great leadership and master the ability to communicate and lead people to sustainable success and results.
Michael is a trusted advisor to business owners, business executives, and emerging leaders, running a business advisory and coaching firm in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Michael has developed a curriculum that allows him to guarantee success in developing Emerging Leaders into High-Performance Managers and Leaders. For more information about Michael and his Emerging Leaders coaching methodology, send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.