Checkmate – How to Become a Better Leader in Four Moves 2

Leadership Cycle Coloured 2Whether you are in a management position or play a leadership role in your organization, the challenges remain the same. New leadership skills are required for the workplace of today and for the forseeable future. Success in managing or leading others is no longer dependent on your technical abilities alone. Soft-skills, your ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others, build collaborative teams, problem solve, resolve conflict and deal with difficult people and challenging situations better, now plays a more pivotal role in your success and the overall success of your organization and your people.

I believe to be a really great manager or leader you need to master all four disciplines of my “Four Step Leadership Development Model” (c) . The work environment is changing and you need to adapt to keep pace with those changes. You must have exceptional people skills and be able to bring people together, communicate often, teach others what they’ll need to know and then learn to get out of their way and let them do it. Don’t get left behind – learn to manage and lead the 21st Century way.

Congregate: “To collect into a group or crowd; to come together into a group, crowd or assembly.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Your success and the overall success of your organization begins and ends with your ability to bring people together. If you can’t connect with others on an emotional level, then you stand little chance of assembling a cohesive team. You are only as good as the people around you. Each individual is a vital link in the chain. Get to know your people for more than the job that they do. People like to work with people they like. Successful managers and leaders know how to develop those all important relationships and build collaborative teams.

Communicate  “To convey knowledge of or information about; to cause to pass from one to another.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Communication isn’t just something – it’s everything! If you can’t communicate – you can’t manage or lead others. I can’t think of a more valuable skill set for managers and leaders to have, than the ability to communicate effectively up, down and across the organization. If you can’t send the message and have it received the way it was intended – then what you said means absolutely nothing. The words you choose and how you go about saying them can be the catalyst for action or inaction. 

Educate “To train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession.” – Merriam Webster Dictionary. I don’t believe there is any such thing as common sense. The only thing common about common sense, is that it’s not very common. We should call it “Life Sense” because it seems the older we get, the smarter we get. We aren’t born knowing what we need to know, to be able to teach someone else what they need to know. I believe having the ability to teach someone else is a learned behavior. Successful managers and leaders are great teachers and coaches.

Delegate “To entrust to another; to appoint as one’s representative.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. If you fail to delegate you are robbing your people of their opportunity to grow. Successful managers and leaders understand that they aren’t the end all and be all. Successful managers and leaders understand that they must give up control to get control. Resist the urge to micro-manage others. Your ability and willingness to delegate effectively are essential to freeing up your time, so you can carry out your duties and responsibilities as a manager or leader.

Any time is a great time to start a new beginning. Which one of these four disciplines; congregate, communicate, educate or delegate will you need to improve upon to be a more effective manager or leader? Don’t get left behind – you can become a better leader in just four moves.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Excerpts from Brian’s soon-to-be-published workbook “Leadership Lessons from a Reformed Control Freak – The Art of Managing and Leading in the 21st Century(c)”. Brian is available for keynote speaking or facilitating training sessions on a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, time management, problem solving, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better and developing the leader in you. To find out more visit http://briansmithpld.com

Leading From The Back of The Pack 4

Geese in Flight (2)

Geese in Flight (2) (Photo credit: Johnath)

What do great Leaders and Geese have in common? They both give up control to get control. They both let others lead from time to time. Great  leaders know they don’t have to control everything all of the time. They don’t have to have all of the answers all of the time. They just have to surround themselves with people who do know – and then get out of their way and let them take the lead.

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere” – Ronald Regan

Let’s pretend for a moment that you’ve decided to give up some of your duties and you’ve decided you’re going to delegate some of them to those you feel are capable of and are willing to take on more responsibility. Think of all the tasks that you do and list them on a piece of paper. Now look over your list and circle the ones that only you can do. If you’re being completely honest with yourself there will be some things on that list that you haven’t circled. Those are the ones that you are going to give up.

“Never learn to do anything. If you don’t learn, you’ll always find someone else to do it” – Mark Twain

If you don’t delegate some of your duties and responsibilities you’re robbing your people of their opportunity to grow. If you don’t delegate some of your duties and responsibilities you won’t have time to step back and think about where the organization needs to be and how you and your team are going to get there. You need time to step back and see the big picture and have an idea where all the pieces are going to fit. If you don’t trust the people around you to do the task on their own – then why did you hire them in the first place?

“I’ve got an ego and all that, but I know I need help. So I hire the very best people” – Ross Perot

It’s important that you show trust and confidence in your people. Remember not to get too hung up on how they go about doing the task. Yes – you can give them some pointers here and there – but keep in mind that most people want to put their own stamp on things. The end result is not open for debate. Company standards must be maintained – but how we accomplish them can be. The key to great leadership is about “inclusion” not “exclusion”. Great leadership is about including others in the decision-making process. It doesn’t have to be just your way. The more that you allow your people to have input – the more likely it is – that they will want to come along.  The more likely it is that they will want to follow you. – 🙂