We’ve all had the manager who sucks any inspiration out of us and drags us through each day by seat kicking and bullying us into submission to try and achieve some ridiculous goal they’ve set because they want to earn their bonus and feed some greedy shareholders even more than their monthly exorbitant pays…. Those managers who wouldn’t know how to lead a march through a one way street, and would struggle to change their style because that’s even more scary than leading a team into destruction…and when their valuable staff leave they say it’s because they were idiots…
I’ve had those conversations with managers, I’ve seen, first-hand, managers destroy people’s lives without batting an eyelid because of a desire to gain for self.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you must lead without any selfish reasons- as Phoebe from friends told Joey- “there is no such thing as a selfless act”…she’s right. Even giving money or food to someone is still selfish because it makes you feel so good!!
No that’s not what I’m on about- what I’m saying is that to be a truly inspiring leader you need to put others first and you second.
You need to make time with them more valuable than anything as their problems if not addressed will escalate to become your even bigger problems.
Ten steps to become more inspiring:
1. Learn to face them- listen to them and give them all of your attention, even if it’s a tough conversation.
2. Set clear expectations- get the whole team together if possible and get them to set out their expectations of you and what they think you should expect form them and what they expect of each other. This becomes your map to success as a team. Review it regularly- especially if new members join the team.
3. Make regular, consistent dates with them and keep them- weekly, fortnightly, monthly whichever works for you. Don’t fool yourself that a 6 monthly or even worse annual one on one (otherwise known as a ‘review’) will inspire…nope.
4. Learn to find things they can do better and get them to come up with them themselves first, so that they’ll want to improve and aren’t being told to- whatever they confess they own.
5. Nip it in the bud- whatever it is- nip it. Others will find it reassuring that you are onto it and don’t let poor performance or behaviour slide- it’ll make everyone want to work harder for you.
6. Keep it about them. Don’t make it about you, or anyone else in the team- keep it about them- their life, their work, their performance or non-performance. Don’t get distracted by other ‘noise’.
7. Make it seem like you knew –to stay one step ahead of the team and not get shaken. Anything that happens make out that you already knew and that it’s no surprise or not too big a problem to handle- they’ll feel reassured that you aren’t shaken easily. (you can sit in a corner and rock later- at home)
8. Find the right people to confide in- and the right people are NOT your team. The right people are your peers or your managers. Staff will always use your personal trust as a power play over others- trust me I’ve seen it over and over. And even if you don’t think they are- others won’t respect your having ‘favourites’ it makes life impossible for others in the team to be honest and open with you or your ‘mate’ and it makes life difficult for your ‘mate’ too.
9. What you focus on is what they will. If you focus on problems they will. If you focus on sales- they will. If you focus on ‘filling the productivity board’ with activity- they will. I’ve spent time with companies who have a whiteboard to map sales results- yet the whiteboard didn’t actually have a ‘sales’ column…so the staff were expected to map how many calls they’d made and not the actual results- their productivity was high but their results were terrible-what you focus on they will.
10. Seek out the good. Remind them how much you appreciate them and what they do. Put notes in their drawer, leave a card saying you noticed that ‘extra mile thing’ they did today.