Leadership is all about inspiration. You need to inspire your team to action. You need to inspire your team to want to embrace the first principles and core values that you embrace. Those are the things that sustain a team of People through adversity and hardship. You have to equip everyone on your team for success in every situation, every day of their career.
If you’re not yet considering that People Management is your biggest priority, you need to embrace that concept now, before it’s too late. We believe that when you get the People Management right, you and your team will find your way to the Winner’s Circle. It’s the strength of the People on your team that makes the difference, in business and in life.
Prepare your People to compete in the arena, in the field of commerce. Practice them until they can play at game speed and achieve the right results consistently, and you’re going to win an awful lot of victories and championships. If you’d like to raise the level of your People Management game, read on, my friends…
Treat Your People Like They Matter
You need to decide whether you’re going to treat your People like adults and like People worthy of your respect. I strongly advise that as your best option (heck, it’s really your ONLY option, if we’re going, to be honest about it…) and when you do it you will notice what a positive difference it makes. Over the years, I’ve seen again and again the damaging effects of a leader who treats their People like they are children who cannot be trusted.
I’ve seen too many leaders treat their team like the team is beneath them, and not worthy of trust and respect. Employee associates are treated like respected professionals and adults generally reward their managers by behaving like adults and trying to deliver their best work and meaningful results.
Associates who are treated like children generally decide that they’re working for the wrong boss, or in the wrong department or company, and these days, they leave or worse, they quit quietly, and devolve into conducting themselves like slackers because they’re treated like slackers. Obviously, there is really only one approach that works, right?
Treat your People like they are full, complete, worthy, and trusted at all times, unless they prove through their conduct that they are not worthy of your trust. If their conduct slips below the line, give them the right number of chances to get back above the line with their behavior, or let them find work at your competitors as quickly as you can. Expect the best from your People, and you’ll almost always get it.
Listen, Listen, Listen and Understand
The best leaders are terrific listeners, and they don’t just listen, they listen attentively and actively. I remember the words of my father who told me during my young and impetuous years, that I was given two ears and one mouth in correct proportion, on purpose. He further encouraged me to use them in the same ultimately wise proportions, which turned out to be some pretty terrific advice. Thanks, Dad! As leaders, we should probably talk only 20% of the time, and listen 80% of the time. If we do that, in those proportions, we’ll usually hear what is being said, and also will notice what is not being said. We’ll also notice body language, and tone of voice, and be thinking about what REALLY going on, and what’s REALLY the message.
As leaders, we need to encourage our associates to share their best ideas and opinions with the team, and to focus more on the ideas than the person whose idea it might be. As leaders, we need to encourage our teammates to respect and listen to the ideas of others and to embrace the best ideas they can find, rather than advocate for the ideas of a certain person.
The best ideas should win! Ensure that you and your team are listening actively and understanding the ideas that are being shared by your colleagues, and be sure to communicate that you understand what they’re saying and acknowledge their contributions so that they’ll feel psychologically safe and keep the great ideas coming.
Never forget that every human being wants to belong. One of the very best ways we can signal to others that they are members of our tribe is to listen attentively to them and to understand the ideas that they are hoping to share with us. Understand, and then move forward to acknowledging and valuing their contributions.
Business Is Business, Personal Is Personal
Be wise. Business is business. Don’t allow yourself to ever make feedback personal in a negative or offensive way. Likewise don’t ever allow yourself to take feedback that was intended as a business conversation as a personal attack. Focus on being proactive and positive whenever possible. Leave the punishments behind when possible. Focus on the correct behavior and outcomes, and not on the personalities. Restrict your conversations with underperforming teams and People to their choices, their behavior, and the gap between reasonable expectations and disappointing results.
Help your People to realize that they need to do likewise and avoid letting their emotions get in the way of keeping business discourse on a business level and keeping personal conversations out of business meetings as appropriate. Get in the habit of reminding yourself that when you receive criticism it most likely didn’t come from a personal attack perspective and don’t let yourself over-react in the heat of the moment. Let’s keep business conversations business-like, and keep personal conversations personal.
The Word Is Priority
Look it up in the dictionary. The word is singular, as in, “ I have a priority, not as in, I am juggling dozens of priorities…” As business people in this modern age, we are starting to blur the lines in a good many areas. We struggle to keep things in their proper place because we want to have it all, we want absolute perfection, and we want it NOW! Each of us as leaders needs to prioritize or we’re going to struggle to get the most important work done. We tell ourselves we cannot say no to any request. We tell ourselves we have to answer all of our emails, our text messages, and our slack messages instantly. Ok, fine, you want to be responsive, that makes sense. But at what price? What is the compromise that you’re saying yes to and what is the priority that you’re saying NO to while you’re being responsive?
Get this straight, human beings can multitask. I’ve seen others do it successfully, hell, I’ve even done it successfully from time to time. But it’s absolutely exhausting, and it’s not sustainable for very long. Think in terms of a priority, not many priorities. You probably must keep many priorities straight, and you need to get them all done in the end, but you won’t get very far, very fast, if you constantly try to work on eleven priorities at once. Work on the most important one, and get it done. Avoid distractions and disruptions and get another one done next. Then place another one on your plate and get it done. While you’re at it, teach the People on your team to do the same thing.
Teach them and coach them to prioritize. Please encourage them to have one priority right now, not many. Teach them to work on the big things and to let the little things wait. Teach them also to let the 2nd most important big thing wait until the 1st big thing is done and handled. Keep it in perspective and keep your priority singular as often as possible until it’s time to move #2 up to #1 and start on it. You’ll be much more effective and your People will appreciate you modeling the example and supporting them while they follow your lead.
Another day and another episode in our series about People Management Skills. This is the third in our series of blogs about the best practices of People Management. We hope you take value away from today’s article. Furthermore, we hope you’ll come back for the next few weeks to learn much more about People Management. Whatever you do, please consider making People Management one of your top priorities, if not your very top priority. Elevating to the top of your industry won’t happen without becoming an outstanding People Manager.
Becoming an inspirational leader without becoming a gifted People Manager won’t happen. You can do it, and it will make a profound difference in your career and more importantly, in the employment of everyone within your reach. Let that sink in a bit. Yes, you are in a position to have an outsized impact on all of the people in your sphere of influence. A positive impact. A life-changing impact, perhaps. Are you willing to accept the call to action? You can do it.
Michael is a Master Coach who has been developing Executives and Emerging Leaders for many years. Michael’s Coaching and Consulting firm have five coaches who work with clients all over the world, assisting them in developing their leadership acumen and their Executive Presence. Michael’s team of coaches is located in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, and Minnesota, and the firm works with Business Founders, C-Suite Executives, and Emerging Leaders.
Michael and his coaches work with fast-growth companies, often in the technology industry, and his team helps them to narrow the gap between their current state, and where they would love to be in a tremendous future state.
If you’d like more information about Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting visit the website at www.michaelbeachcoach.com, or contact us at email@example.com. Michael hosts a podcast about Leadership and how to develop Emerging Leaders, called “What Are YOU Doing?” and you can find it wherever you listen to podcasts or on Michael’s website.