Posts

The informed team player will help you to be a more valuable leader and organization. Why then does the vast majority have difficulty articulating what their companies most Important goal is?

There are not many things more deflating from an employee than to realize they have been working on the wrong thing for a period of time. However, the reality is this happens all the time.

In this second post on being a team player, the goal is to empower those leading teams to help their teams be the best they can be.

In Chris McChesney’s book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, he mentions that 85 percent of employees surveyed were not able to recall what the companies most important goal were. That is eight out of ten people working hard, but potentially on the wrong thing.

While there may be many variables that lead to this, there is a way to help combat this, by the team member staying informed. When you know what is most important in a company, this helps determine what you put your energy and focus.

1. Expectations.

Team members need their leader to help provide clarity for them. One of the greatest ways to provide this is to give them clear expectations.

Expectations, simply put, is what you expect to get from them; the work they were hired to do.

Gallup has found that half of the employees they have worked with do not know what is expected of them, so giving them clear expectations will put you in front of the pack.

2. Vision.

You can give your team members vision in three different areas:

  • A vision for the organization- Where the company is going.
  • A vision for the team or department- Where the team is going.
  • A vision for the individual team member- Where you see them going in the company.

Vision helps paint a picture of a preferred future and therefore encourages the team to work hard.

3. Time.

Your team members will need your time to stay informed.  A combination of one-on-ones and team meetings will go a long way.

What is important here is that you have a consistent time together where you will cast vision, give feedback, receive feedback, give updates on performance, and keep team members accountable to most important goals.

Keeping on top of these three keys will help your team members stay informed about what is going on in the company.

I would love to hear what are some other keys that can help your team stay informed.

Coaching is something that has helped me with leadership development. In fact, I think it’s something that professionals can’t afford not to have.

There I was stuck. Have you been there? Knowing that you have potential, but don’t understand why you can’t get past where you are. Like me, you have reached out for help only to come up empty.

I was there, but I didn’t plan on staying there, and I don’t think you do either. Instead of hoping something would change, I started investing my money in coaching. Honestly, I didn’t know the results I would achieve, but I knew there needed to be a change. Do you know what happened? A life change happened.

Coaching is becoming a huge industry, and I believe it’s because it works. You can go further faster with someone in your corner.

Coaching is one of the best investments I have made in my life, and I would encourage you to do the same. If you need more convincing here are some more benefits of coaching.

1. Clear Direction.
A coach will typically ask what results you are looking for and help you create a plan to achieve those results. The coach will not make the plan for you, but they will help you discover how to get from where you are to your desired future.

2. Perspective.
A coach is able to offer a different perspective than your own. The reality is that you have some blind spots, so they can help you see what would otherwise not be apparent to you.

3. Increased Productivity.
According to research done by ICF, seventy percent of coaching clients had a boost to their work performance. That same article showed that more than half of those coached improved their time management skills as well.

4. Work/Life Balance.
Coaches can tell when you are off-kilter in your work/life balance. This alone is worth the investment.

A good coach will encourage you to not only grow in your professional skills but give your best to your faith, family, and health.

I have been on both sides of the coaching relationship, being the one coached, and now coaching others. It is something I believe in wholeheartedly.

If you are in a season where you are trying to improve personally and professionally, I challenge you to invest in a coach.

In the midst of running an organization, we can all get caught up trying to keep all the plates spinning. While we are all responsible for our organization, not every area deserves equal attention.

When I was in restaurant management, I always prided myself on my personal productivity. I would go to work, and I would make sure everything was done that was necessary to keep the business going. I didn’t want anyone to ever say I wasn’t pulling my own weight.

There was an issue with this; my primary focus was on the wrong thing. Yes, things were getting done, and typically the business was doing better than when under previous management, but I was missing the thing that needed my attention the most – my team.

You have probably heard the old adage, “teamwork makes the dream work.” The problem is, many leaders fail to take care of their teams and wonder why things are not moving forward. They get their job done but wonder why the members of their team are not operating at their full capacity. We think, “they are getting paid so they are fine.” We fail to realize that people are not vending machines; money alone won’t make them operate to their full potential.

Leader, it is your job to take care of your team. Each member of your team needs someone in their corner that uniquely cares for and encourages them.

But exactly how do we do that? This can differ from place to place, but a few questions may help?
1. Who is my team?

If your organization is larger than a few handfuls of people, you will not be able to personally give attention to each person. In this case, you have to decide who will receive personal attention from you. These can include those who are heads of department, your direct reports, or those you desire to personally develop.

2. How will you care for your team?

You can also restate this, “how will you develop them?” There needs to be a change of perspective to nail this one. Instead of thinking of what is most important in our eyes, we need to discover what is significant in their eyes. Yes, they still need to do their jobs, but when our entire focus is what we can get from them, they will not be as likely to stick around. I heard someone once say, “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Caring for people can include coaching, education, training, public recognition, or private recognition. The goal of this is to make sure the person is uniquely cared for and encouraged. If you are looking for other simple ideas this article from Forbes outlines eleven ways.

3. How will I create space to care for my team?

You can’t just shove things in your calendar when they fit. You have to intentionally and consistently make space for the priorities in your business. Decide how many hours a week you will give to caring for and developing your team. If you are doing one-on-ones you may give a half hour weekly or bi-weekly for your direct reports. You may do a once a month lunch for your team. Whatever you decide to do, it should be part of your schedule.

Someone once said, “the potential of your organizations rests on the strength of its people.” Caring for and developing your people is one of the most important responsibilities you have. And it will have a great return on investment.

If you are just starting with one-on-one development start small. Pick a person or two, and tell them you want to do one-on-ones for the next 90 days. The goal is not how many people you can develop, but giving adequate time and attention to develop some with excellence.

I would love to hear how you are going to, or currently are, caring for your team.

 

The life of a leader can be both exciting and challenging; rewarding and exhausting at various time. Leadership can also be incredibly lonely at times, but it does not need to be.

The first few years of my current leadership position were exciting and lonely at the same time. I loved my calling but soon realized the phrase, “It’s lonely at the top,” had some truth to it.

I fought against the loneliness by trying to reach out to other people. I knew in my line of work this took more perseverance than I expected, as my first few attempts at connecting to others in my role were just me leaving voicemails. I didn’t give up, and it paid off.

Eventually, I found a local gathering of others in my position, who met once a month. Through this group, I realized that leaders need to break away from isolation and have others join them on the journey.

I believe, in order to thrive, Leaders need to invest time in five different relationships.

1. God– If you are passionate about what you do, you may have a hard time shutting down the “Thinktank.” For this reason, and others, every leader needs a daily quiet time.

As a person of faith, I spend this time in prayer, scripture reading, or worship. If you struggle to have a devotion time, this post may help you out.

2. Family – This may sound as if it is a given, but it is not. Leaders who are passionate about their organizations, sometimes do so at a heavy price to their family.

I heard someone say, “Do not trade something that is unique to you (ie.your family), for something that may not be permanent.” Your family is permanent, but your job or business may not be.

3. Your tribe – In his book Tribes, Seth Godin states, “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea……A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”

The group that meets once a month is my tribe. It is helpful to meet with others who can clearly relate to what you are experiencing.

4. A coach– Coaching is one of the best investments you can make in your personal development. I define a coach as someone in your corner to challenge you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Yes, there is usually a price with this, but the return on your investment far outweighs the cost. I personally have had multiple coaches, and have invested thousands of my own dollars, but I believe it was more than worth it.

You can hire a coach that is either experienced in your industry or has the skills to help you reach your desired goals. If you need more motivation to hire a coach, read this article by Forbes.

I have used the services of coaches for years, and now am coaching myself.

5. A friend- This is the person you want to go fishing with, watch a ballgame, or meet up with for coffee. You can talk about a myriad of subjects with this person, or say nothing at all.

You can also share about things that have been bottled up and needed to be shared. An article from the Harvard Business Review tells us:

“Emotional support is equally essential. Like anyone else, executives occasionally need to vent when they’re dealing with something crazy or irritating at work, and friends and family are a safer audience than colleagues. This [support] serves as a much-needed outlet from the pressures of raising a family and leading an organization.”

As you can see, a leader does not need to be lonely. The relationships mentioned can help a leader endure challenges and thrive in their role.

The level of change I have experienced when I have all of these relationships in my life is revolutionary. Prioritizing these relationships not only helps you keep the right perspectives by honoring God and your family with time, but you are also getting the other supports you need to be the best version of you, you can be.

Take out your calendar and give some space for each of these relationships.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Is something else you would add to the list, or are there one of these that you struggle with?

I’ve heard someone say, “The potential of your organizations rests in the strength of its people.”  If this is the case, we should be focused on developing our teams.

I have served in a leadership capacity for over a decade, in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. During the early years of my leadership tenure, I relied on my ability to get work done. While I did a good job at maintaining the organizations I led, they were not moving forward as I was expecting. No matter how hard I worked, I would never achieve my desired outcomes.

Looking back, the biggest issue was that I was not developing or empowering my team. King Solomon said it well, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” Not to be corny here, but I was focused on harnessing the power or me, instead of we. I was not tapping into the true power of the organization and my team.

Fast forward a decade and I have become much more intentional at developing those around me. Here are a few simple things I have learned along the way, which helped to develop my team.

1. Coaching Your Team. I believe strongly in coaching your team. I meet every other week with every individual who directly reports to me for their personal development. I learned this from Building Champions.

They start by completing either a life plan or business plan, which serves as a basis for their personal development. These documents include the goals they have set for themselves in their personal and professional lives. Your job is to encourage them and keep them accountable to achieve their goals.

They send you an email 24-48 hours before we meet, answering:

  • Big wins since our last meeting
  • Challenges/obstacles that you’re facing
  •  Key topics we need to discuss
  •  Decisions we need to make

Team members leave these meetings with an action item(s) to complete. During your next meeting, you can ask them about their progress. This built-in accountability benefits both them and you and helps you to develop your team.

I have used the services of coaches for years, and our team would love the opportunity to come alongside you through coaching. Besides creating a plan for your personal and professional life, we can set up a coaching program for your team.

2. Conferences. Get your team out of the office, and get them into an environment where they are inspired together. Yes, you can listen to podcasts or watch leadership videos at work, but there is something about getting out of the office. Mark Batterson is known for saying, “A change of place, plus a change of pace, equals a change of perspective.”

It amazes me how a team member hearing the same thing from someone else causes them to “get it.” In a conference setting, your team will be inspired to see what is possible and hear from some of the best leaders in your industry.

3. Empowering your Team. If we never give people a chance to step up to the plate, they will never develop their swing. We have to give the eagles in our organizations a chance to fly, or they may simply go somewhere else.

To truly empower people, we have to give away responsibilities and the authority to accomplish them. We may have delegated tasks, creating followers; but often, we have not done the right thing by delegating authority to create leaders.

You may have heard the adage, “It takes teamwork, to make the dream work.” The potential is in your team, and as a leader, you are the one that can draw it out of them.

 

What is one step you can take today to develop your team? Is there anything else you could add to this list?
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

 

Leadership development sometimes seems hard to wrap our heads around, but it doesn’t need to be. There are a few simple things you can do to grow as a leader.

I have been in leadership since the early 2000s but didn’t develop as much as I would have liked my first few years.

In my early thirties, I desperately desired change in the areas I lead. I came to realize that the problem wasn’t those around me, the market, culture, or other things I could have blamed it on. The problem was I had reached my leadership capacity, and everything around me was sinking.

In addition to seeking God, I started to do a few simple things that led to tremendous change.

1. Read. Leaders are readers. Most of us would love to sit down and pick the brain of Jim Collins, John Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni, or Seth Godin. The reality is you can, and for less than you think. For the price of a book, you have access to some of the best leaders in the world.

2. Listen to podcasts. Similar to books, you can learn from the best in the world, but for free. There are plenty of great leadership podcasts out there from some of the best thought leaders in the world.

You can get amazing information on almost any subject through this medium. There are podcasts on spiritual growth, leadership development, becoming a better parent, and so much more.

3. Hire a coach. If you want to go further faster, having a coach might be best for you. There is an investment to this, but the ROI is well worth the cost. I saw tremendous gains after I started using the services of Building Champions.

Andy Stanley once said, “You can be better than everyone else in your field without coaching. But you’ll never be as good as you can possibly be.”

Currently, I have a few one-on-one coaching spots open. We will work together to create a plan for your personal and professional life and hit your desired outcomes.

4. Join a mastermind or peer group. I meet up once a month with those in my industry. There is so much you can learn from those younger and older than you. Like coaching, there is an investment to join many mastermind groups.

The advantage of these is that you can be very frank with those in this group, with a less likely chance of any backlash. There is something special about getting around those who have gone through, or are going through, what you are experiencing.

5. Empower and develop other leaders. When you give away leadership, you not only grow in your leadership but also your influence. You won’t tap into your true capacity until you start to develop other leaders.

Take a moment and think about those around you who you can develop as a leader. If they are a direct report to you, you can empower them by delegating some of your tasks and responsibilities to them. Leading others is one level, but being a leader of leaders is something entirely different. If you want to improve your delegation skills, improve your ability to delegate, you can read my free ebook Discover the Process of Delegation.

I had reached my leadership lid, and without having a hunger to learn more, you may as well. The best way not to hit your leadership lid is to continue to learn because leaders are learners.

Action Step: Which one or two of the steps above do you need to take to expand your capacity? What are some other ways to grow as a leader?

Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock