This fourth article concludes our Leadership in the Workplace series. To reiterate what is the foundation of this series – great leaders can indeed be made. By focusing on a few basic traits, it is possible to develop leaders who are the backbone of a strong business.

The previous articles addressed how to cultivate meaningful relationships, building trust, fostering positive workplace values, and coaching and motivating others. We wrap up the series with a trio of related topics to take your leadership skills from good to great – clarifying issues, conducting better meetings, and strategizing for improvement.

Leaders are responsible for creating and fostering the workplace environment. All the articles in this series address some aspect of crafting a positive, engaging, and fulfilling workplace. The leader’s role is to regularly set the stage for success through all the cycles a business naturally takes.

All businesses face issues, things that challenge forward progress toward the established goals. Leadership requires the ability and skill to address issues head-on as soon as they occur.

 

Clarify Issues

  1. Create a committee clearing house to identify, define, and prioritize team issues.
  2. Carry a small notebook to jot down information, opinions, and ideas you hear from the team.
  3. Identify a personal mentor or coach who you can meet with regularly to talk openly about leadership issues.
  4. Establish a feedback group to get insights into your leadership style and behavior.
  5. As you gather opinions and viewpoints on an issue, make sure you get a diversity of ideas from diverse people.
  6. Stop on occasion and identify those things that you feel are working well and those things that are causing stress.
  7. List the major issues that you have confronted over the last two years. Is there a pattern? Is there a type of issue that keeps emerging?
  8. Keep a log of the time it takes you to handle an issue. Determine if you are handling issues in a timely and efficient manner.

Meetings are what some might call a necessary evil. Yet meetings should not be the time suck they so often are in many businesses. Take disciplined steps to make meetings a better experience for all involved.

 

Conduct Better Meetings

  1. Develop a list of things that you can say to let meeting latecomers know that tardiness is unacceptable.
  2. Complete the following metaphor: “My style as a meeting facilitator is like ______.”
  3. At your next meeting tell the participants that you are working on one or two meeting facilitation skills. After the meeting ask the group how you did with each.  Ask for suggestions.
  4. Identify three to five adjectives that define your style as a meeting facilitator.  Then, ask selected team members to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a meeting facilitator.  Any Patterns? Similarities? Surprises?
  5. At your next meeting stop midway and ask the participants how the meeting is going.  Ask for suggestions to improve your meeting facilitation.
  6. Establish an assessment group and identify ways to keep meetings focused and on track.
  7. Make a list of ways to replace meetings with other forms of communication.

Leadership is the constant pursuit of excellence, making your business the best it can be for employees and customers.

 

Strategize for Improvement

  1. Work with a small group to create a “stop doing list.”  These are procedures, actions, or policies that are outdated, cumbersome, redundant, or annoying.
  2. Set a few minutes aside each day to reflect on how things are going professionally.  You may want to ask a few team members to reflect with you.
  3. Make a point to recognize team members who successfully implemented positive change.
  4. Make a list of procedures, functions, and/or policies.  With a committee of key players, grade each from A to F. Then talk about improvements.
  5. Make a point to talk to numerous team members one-on-one and ask them the following two questions: “What is quality?” and “How do we achieve quality?”  Take notes.
  6. Review your current process of delegating.  Then develop a list of guidelines for the delegation of tasks.  Ask yourself how you can do it more effectively.

I routinely work with the C-suite to develop leaders. While not all employees have the ability or desire to lead, leadership can be honed in those willing to pursue the greater good. Use these closing tips to constantly keep your company’s vision in mind.

  1. Hold informal “round tables” to discuss the future of your team.
  2. Keep a professional journal in which you focus on four aspects of visionary thinking: needs, wants, desires, and dreams.
  3. Write out the “best case” scenario for what you want your team to become.  Give it to your team and ask for responses and additions.

John C. Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership has so many concise and clear thoughts on leadership. This one sums up what has been addressed in this Leadership series. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

 

By Christine R. Spray