How to Grow Better Leaders

The quality of an organization’s leadership almost always foreshadows its chances for sustained success.

Leadership and culture are also the most significant factors in attracting and retaining the best talent – ranking three times higher than salary, according to data from Glassdoor.

Therefore, it would be reasonable to expect CEOs and senior leaders to make it a priority to keep their leadership skills honed, and to insure everyone in the company who manages someone else would be comprehensively trained and supported to be the best leaders possible.

And yet, Gallup has published new research finding “one in two U.S. adults have left a job to get away from a bad manager.” Clearly, leaders still have more work to do.

Attitude and commitment

Your attitude and your commitment are key to your team’s success. Believe in them, commit to their success and you’ll become the leader they need you to be; one who develops them and helps them move along in their career.

These are the words of Mike Henry Sr., a co-author of The Character-Based Leader and blogger who advocates for a wholesale overhaul of leadership practices. Here’s a summary of some of his thoughts on becoming a better leader.

Five attitude adjustments for leaders

1. Accept responsibility for your employees

Stop complaining about your employees – they don’t want to fall short of your expectations. They want the opportunity to have more responsibility, so give it to them. Stop telling them what to do, but assist them in working through issues. Don’t let anyone bring you a problem without also bringing a solution.

2. Get clear about the vision

If everyone knows and values the same priorities, they make the same choices, so share your goals and any constraints early and often. Ask others for input and help them envision a successful future. Believe your people will exceed your expectations. Often, when people make poor choices, you’ll find they were solving for a different problem or they were more concerned about avoiding criticism. Adjust the training and your coaching based on individual circumstances to avoid misunderstandings.

3. Tolerate some chaos

Mistakes are inevitable. Operational mistakes are first-time mistakes, and problem mistakes are a result of ignorance, self-protection or laziness. If the employee accepts responsibility and makes the call, then an operational mistake is the leader’s responsibility. Make it right and clear up any misunderstandings that can lead to unforced errors. Deal with problem mistakes immediately before they cause more difficulties.

4. Align opportunities with strengths

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Frequent operational mistakes may happen if you have employees working in their areas of weakness. Take the time to understand your teams’ strengths and put them in positions to succeed. When employee’s objectives also meet their personal objectives their motivation and energy increases. Energized team members push through problems and overcome obstacles.

5. Attack the elephant

Often the elephant in the room (or on the team) is the consistent poor performer. At best, they’re simply someone to be avoided. At worst, they suck people into their energy drain. Coach them, be fair and do everything you can to help them succeed, but when all else fails, help them find another role (in your organization or elsewhere) where they can excel. The rest of your team will appreciate you taking action and will likely perform better as a result.

A different version of this post appeared on OCTanner.com.

Michelle M. Smith

A highly accomplished international speaker, strategist, and author on performance improvement; Michelle is a respected authority on leadership, workplace culture, employee engagement and talent. She’s published and presented more than 1,100 articles and lectures and is a trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful organizations and governments.

Named as one of the Ten Best and Brightest Women in the incentive industry, a Change Maker, Top Idea Maven, and President’s Award winner, Michelle is a highly accomplished industry leader who has worked in every facet of recognition and incentives, both domestically and internationally.

She has appeared on Fox Television and the BBC, and been featured in magazines like Fortune, Business Week, Inc., and Return on Performance; as well as national radio programs, and contributions to the books “Bull Market” by Seth Godin, “Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk,” and “Social Media Isn’t Social.”

Michelle is President Emeritus of the Incentive Marketing Association and Past President of the FORUM for People Performance at Northwestern University. She’s Vice President, Research for the Business Marketing Association and serves on the Boards of the Incentive Federation and the Incentive & Engagement Solutions Council. She was also the Founder and Chair of the Editorial Board of Return on Performance Magazine.

 

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michelle-m-smith-cpim-crp/5/b00/368