setting goals

Missing the Boat on Leadership Skills

16 May
by Bridget DiCello

When you promote your best performer to a leadership position:

  1. Good things happen if they have been ready for the next challenge and maybe even a  little bored or burned out by the routine work they are so good at doing
  2. Bad things happen if they love the work they have been doing and you just added much work (the management) they do not like
  3. Negative repercussions occur when they have no desire to coordinate and lead the efforts of others and/or have no leadership experience, inherent skills or desire to work directly with employees
  4. The biggest challenges occur in the form of company stagnation and mediocrity when they do not possess the inner desire to develop other people and access their potential

Here are some skills that are very often missing as you promote or hire someone to management that you may need to purposefully work to develop:

  1. Communicate expectations effectively.  A manager must clearly formulate their expectations, and verbalize them in a way that makes sense to the employee.  The employee needs to be paying attention, and verbalize back what they have heard.  A head nod means the expectations may not even have made it to their ears, much less their brain to process, voice concerns and in the end – agree to do their best.
  2. Accountability – You can’t hold people accountable to what they didn’t agree to.  You must find a way to measure what you hope to hold people accountable for.  And then you must have the tough, but effective conversations when expectations are not met.
  3. Delegation – In order to effectively delegate, the manager must transfer ownership of the task.  This requires setting the expectation (see above), obtaining genuine agreement from the employee, setting a timetable and following up (see accountability).
  4. Engage in productive conflict –  ‘“Yes” employees’ appear agreeable, yet don’t produce.  Silent employees hope you will go away so they can continue doing things as they always have.  Strong, solid performers honestly believe they know better.  Quiet, undiscovered employees require conversations that push them, and probably the manager, outside their comfort zone.
  5. Setting goals – Managers are often good at accepting the goals set for them.  However, it is never as powerful to work towards something you feel you must do to keep your job than it is to engage the manager in conversation about their goals for their department or area, match those with the company goals, and include goals to help them professionally develop.  And, write them down.  What do your managers see as possibilities in their department?
  6. Project completion – Getting from where you are to where you want to be cannot be accomplished simply by working really hard and wanting to get there.  Ambitious goals require a plan that takes into account where we want to be in three months, and counting back to what we need to do each of the three months, this week and today; and do that daily.
  7. Coaching team members – probably the critical skill most often lacking – but assumed to exist in charismatic and inspirational leaders.  Coaching is having a series of conversations with an individual in order to connect with them, assist them to engage in their professional development, and to be able to discover their potential and accomplish more that they or you thought they could.

What professional development do your managers need from you?

Plan for Consistency in 2012

04 Jan
by Bridget DiCello

When writing goals, the focus is on what we want to be different, how things will be improved and the areas we want to tackle in the upcoming quarter or year.  However, it’s important to not overlook what you really want to remain consistent.  Things that have enabled you to be successful this year and in the past might be taken for granted.

Doing the same things and expecting different results is the accepted business definition of insanity.  But more than that, doing the same things and expecting even the same acceptable results may be a lot to ask.  Things change.  People change.  Things do not stay the same.  People are not machines and consistency must be purposefully planned for.

What are the core components of your success that you need to remain consistent in 2012?  What is it about your approach, your systems, your customer service, your processes and your values that are the keys to your success?  Do you know?

When writing your goals for the upcoming month, quarter or year, take an inventory of what you consider to be your keys to success, identify the most important components, and determine what it is that will ensure continuity.

What is it that has brought you success?

  • If it is a single key employee that makes things happen, cross-train others.
  • If it is the way a process is running, document it, create checklists if necessary and ensure your team knows how important how they are doing things really is.
  • If it is the connections the owner, managers or key employees have nurtured, pinpoint the key activities that make those possible, should a key person take on a new role or need to leave, or you wish to increase the results you are achieving.
  • If it is your management team’s ability to make good strategic decisions, determine what makes that possible and expand the number of people with these capabilities.

If you want consistent success, the components that have made you successful need to be purposeful and routine.  If creating processes or systems is not in your nature, you need to task someone on your team with those skills with the role of pinpointing and systematizing those key components.  Otherwise, when a part of your success begins to slip, you try to play catch up, which may distract you from the new and exciting goals you have set for the future of your team.