“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren G. Bennis
As a young person in a leadership role I often times find it hard to create balance between being “fun” and being the “boss”. This is one particular role that helped my co-author and I become as close as we are. She is openly more down to business than I am and that allowed us to run a tight ship. Over the past year I have learned a lot about myself and my associates.
I have put together a short list of things that I find helpful on a weekly basis. Sometimes we have associates, friends, or children who are stuck in a rut and need a little TLC. I hope you find these reminders helpful as you maneuver whatever role you’ve taken on:
- Honesty/Expectations: Good leaders always lay out the expectations of projects, cleaning, behavior or what have you. …and they do this honestly. It’s unfair for someone to come into a role or position believing it is (or you are) something that isn’t. I find that most people who fail to do what is asked of them do so because they are not properly educated about what is expected. You, as a leader, need to be held accountable for the outcome. However, you cannot hold someone accountable for something that they were not shown or told. Create a detailed map of your expectations and you are more likely to get the results you want.
- “Get on the bus”: This is a phrase I like to use when I’m hiring new associates, training new associates, or even checking in with more seasoned associates. The bus leaves the station without a lot of children, players, and employees. The morale of the group is often times low when people get left behind. This is as much of a “push” for them to do the right thing as it is a way for you, as the leader, to pick them up and dust them off. The road to winning is a two way street and everyone is expected to do their part. If you set the proper expectations for your team, you can ensure that everyone will be “on the bus” going in the right direction. When someone gets a little distracted from the goal that is when you have a “get on the bus” discussion. This allows you to figure out why this person is about to miss an opportunity to be a team player and hopefully correct the problem.
- Check Ins: Most people are uncomfortable bringing problems to their leader/boss/manager/coach. It is much easier to squabble among all the other team members to get their opinions than it is to face the issues head on. I use check ins fairly regularly as a way to get a feel for how each associate is doing in my building. If they are struggling with procedures, policies, or have any other questions, the “check in” is a great time to level the playing field and allow both parties to speak freely. Not only does this demonstrate your willingness and ability to put each associate first – it shows them that you are approachable and happy to help. This is also a good time to do any “call outs”, good or bad, in attempts to right the ship and get people on track without the rest of the team knowing.
- Fairness: Lastly, I have found that above all else that fairness matters. Whether it is between pets, children, managers, bus boys, or who does the nightly cleaning – fairness matters most. If the leader is not willing to clean the toilets how can they expect anyone else to? Lead by example not by pointing and instructing. Dig in the trenches with your people and show them that they matter and that their happiness matters. People will work harder for someone who sweats with them.
These are just a few of the things that I find myself wishing I would have known before stepping into the role that I now have. Most of them seem pretty simple, and they are, it’s just important to keep working on them. Nobody is perfect and it’s important to let the team know that you’re all striving for the same goal of betterment.