Monthly Archives: February 2016

Leaders: Does your team really know you?

getting to know youHow can your team get to know you? Is it through emails, team talks, and presentations? It’s all of those and more. Is it by observing you in action? Yes, that too. How about from the results you drive? That’s an important one. If you had to pick the most important way for your team to get to know you what would it be? The answer is all three together.

Your team needs to feel connected to you. Your team needs to see that you are consistent. And your team needs to be convinced that if they follow you they will be successful.

Connected. Are you available and approachable? Your team should hear you and see you on a regular basis; and not just on stage – although that’s a good start. How about meeting with them in person. Of course you are in meetings with people on projects, but are you talking with them about them? The best interactions are the regular, “How’s it going?” talks where you ask questions and they ask questions and you keep your connection strong.

“The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.” – Robin Sharma

Consistent. Does what you say match what you do? Your team needs to know they can count on you to back up what you say. Remember even though you are the leader, you are still part of the team. Only commit to what you can deliver, and deliver what you commit to. People will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold – but so does a hard-boiled egg.

“In any team sport, the best teams have consistency.” – Roger Staubach

Convincing. Does what you say and do lead to success? What you say and what you do will lead to some result – make sure it’s a good one. This is the ultimate expression of getting to know you. Some might say you are what you celebrate.

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein


Dig deep enough before making decisions

decisionsDon’t make decisions based only on where you are; make decisions based on where you want to be. Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is quoted as saying, “We are not a product of our circumstances, we are a product of our decisions.”

Your circumstances do play a part in your future, but only to ground you as you decide what to do next.

Jonathan Schaeffer, the creator of computer chess programs, calculated that there are 197,742 different ways that the players in a chess match could play their first two moves. When you expand that to the first three moves the possible outcomes becomes 121 million. In chess, as in life, your decisions don’t end when you first decide, but continue through each step as you evaluate what’s next.

When faced with choices, before you decide, commit to settle for nothing less than knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Today we have the ability to receive more information than at any time in history. Take care to evaluate what you know before deciding where to go.

“It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within – not without.” – Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot

Invest the time it takes to be the best. How long should you think and evaluate options before you decide? It depends on the potential impact of the decision and the level of experience you have in the area. A greater chance of impact and a lesser degree of experience require more time. Stay with it until you feel that you have the ability to make the best decision possible.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”– Albert Einstein

Pay attention to how the facts fit together. The first step in decision making is a knowledge of the facts. Next comes an understanding of why the facts are what they are. Most important is to obtain the wisdom to apply what you now know and understand to make the best decision possible. This comes from broadening your view through other people and other similar decisions that have been made.

“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” Marilyn vos Savant

Profit from your analysis. You will never have all the answers needed to make a perfect decision. Don’t let that stop you from asking as many questions as reasonable to make the best decision possible.

“I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.” – Arthur C. Clarke

How are you doing? Read the signs.

read the signsDo you have to wait for someone to tell you how you’re doing to know how you are doing? Not if you read the signs along the way.

“Elaine, kudos for a job…done.” Seinfeld television show fans know that this is what the character Elaine heard from her boss when he returned from sabbatical to find his company in disarray after leaving her in charge. He said this right before he demoted her. Should she have seen the signs? Of course, this was a sitcom where the setup to this punchline was obvious – and funny.

Are the signs in real life as obvious as the signs in a sitcom? They are if you know how to read them. Here are three areas where leaders need to be successful and the signs that you should look for along the way.

Is your growth working? The world is constantly changing. Customer needs and methods to deliver these needs evolve at a rapid pace. How can you and your team be part of a changing organization in a changing world if you are not changing with it? If the only activities you participate in are those that you already know how to do well, then you are not growing.

The signs that you should look for to know if your growth is working are 1) The openness to consider new ideas before the final idea is settled on 2) The opportunity to pilot new processes before the final process is put into place and 3) The willingness to claim success when you learn what not to do because you tried something new.

“If you aren’t making any mistakes, it’s a sure sign you are playing it too safe.” – John Maxwell

Is your leadership working? We know that leaders deliver results through the people they lead. The success of the team depends on the success of everyone you lead. Personal and business success are both important and must be achieved together.

The signs that you should look for to know if your leadership is working are 1) The results that your team delivers on a consistent basis 2) The ability of each member of your team to do their best and 3) The desire for people to want to be on your team.

“Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily even if you had no title or position.” – Brian Tracy

Is your teaching working? The best leaders have teams that can execute on the vision without anyone telling them how to do it. The most important measure of success of leadership is the success of your team when you are not involved.

The signs that you should look for to know if your teaching is working are 1) The plans that are designed that are not just a repeat of your ideas 2) How often you are genuinely impressed by the ability of your team to accomplish things you couldn’t do 3) The pride you feel when your team goes further than you have

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, the children are now working as if I did not exist.” – Maria Montessori



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