Business As Usual By Stuart Friedman
Great Leaders Inspire Their People To Go Beyond What They Think Is Possible
April 10, 2012 – We are now officially in the second quarter of 2012. To date, are you on plan, ahead of plan, or where you want to be on an annualized basis? Congratulations if you are. If not, it’s not time to fret (at least not yet). There is still plenty of time to “right the ship.”
Regardless, whether on plan or off, it’s time to assess your situation, evaluate each individual on your team and his or her performance to date, implement corrective action, and discuss appropriate modifications to behavior necessary to ensure successful achievement of goals . . . and to go beyond what they think is possible.
Great leaders understand there are three basic motivators for employees, and that money isn’t number one. Workers are motivated by respect and working with people they like. Happy employees need to feel their work is important and, especially with today’s “Y-generation” workers, they have to feel empowered and independent. People don’t like to be micromanaged. Doing so chokes creativity and is just another example of “business as usual.”
To be successful, you and your team need to execute to the best of your respective “true” abilities. As leader, you need to engage in the success of your people by getting them “into the game,” feeling energized and inspired to do their best. You also need to help them stay out of the “negative realm,” which means you need to eliminate your own negative ways of being, thinking and speaking.
Below are some ways you can lead by setting an example that empowers your people to go beyond what they think is possible:
1. Don’t whine, gripe or boast – Don’t just talk about a problem. Come up with a solution and present it to those who can do something about it.
2. Leave something for you – Take on projects that contribute to your organization’s strategic outcomes and your own heart-felt desires, while assigning activities that provoke inspiration to others.
3. Improve bad relationships – If you have a bad relationship with someone, ask what you can do to fix it. Clean your “messes” and guide your team to do the same.
4. Share – Leverage your work with someone in the organization who can help you in different, specialized areas. But don’t try to do it all, especially when the work does not align with your natural tendencies. Nobody gets medals for taking on work and then failing to get it done. Consider delegating or enlisting the help of others for whom a particular project or activity is consistent with their natural tendencies.
5. Get feedback – Elicit feedback from other leaders: your peers, boss, anyone whose opinion you value. Do so consistently, showing you genuinely want to improve. This behavior will become contagious with your team!
6. Tackle lower priority value activities first – Get the stuff you don’t like done first (usually items that do not align with your natural tendencies) knowing that you’ll always get done those activities that come easier and more naturally because they take no extra effort to complete.
7. Encourage teamwork – Discover the unique abilities of your team members, then include team members on projects in ways that optimize their contributions, maximize collaboration, and are consistent with their natural tendencies.
8. Have fun – This is self-explanatory. Find the fun. “Whistle while you work!”
9. Pursue work/life balance – What balance means to one person can vary significantly from what it means to another. Balance does not necessarily mean you spend 50 percent of your time at work and 50 percent of your time with family and friends. Balance implies a level of personal versus professional activities that gives you a sense of achievement, self-worth, energy and inspiration so you are recharged by everything you do and feel fulfilled.
10. Align body and soul – Keep your physical, mental and spiritual health in check.
11. Enjoy your family and friends, and get a hobby – Spend time with people engaged in activities that help rejuvenate your body and soul. Stay away from people and activities that put you in a negative realm.
Knowingly making these leadership choices to set an example for your team will inspire both you and them to go beyond what you thought possible so you can achieve the results you desire. It’s your choice!
Stuart Friedman is president of Progressive Management Associates, Inc. He is a business visionary who helps his clients get their companies “Unstuck!” He guides organizations through cultural shifts by getting people aligned to strategic outcomes. He is a leading consultant, speaker, coach and author. Friedman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)