Easy? Most leaders would say leading is anything but…easy. However, specific knowledge and skills, shared early in one’s leadership or management career, is something all leaders say would have made their jobs easier! In fact, just this last week we’ve received more than a dozen calls from leaders requesting coaching for the skills they need to succeed in 2016. Some have been newly promoted. Some recently received performance reviews, where a need for new skills has been noted. Some simply know they need to be better leaders, but what does it take to lead and how in the world do you make leading easy? First, you learn these skills:
Leadership communication is much more than just talking. It goes beyond sharing a message and striving for clarity. Most leaders with some tenure behind them will tell you that communication is more about employees getting what you said than picking apart what you’re going to say to them. It’s about knowing who you’re leading, how they hear the words you use, the delivery method you choose, the directions you give, and to whom. To become a better leader and make your leadership communication flow even more easily, assess how often they ask questions. (Never, Sometimes, Often) Then, determine how often you have to repeat yourself. (Never, Sometimes, Often) Then, take a close look at your agreement with this statement: My employees, bosses, and co-workers seem to really get and understand me. If you’re answer is anything less than “OH YES!” then to make leading easy, communication is a skill you want to address.
Ask any leader if he or she has taken a personality profile and the answer will likely be a resounding yes. (if yours is no, here you go: Take the CORE Snapshot) There are tons of personality assessments out there and the one I just shared is simple, quick and free, but still means nothing if you don’t know how to use the data it provides. To make leading easy, you have to know what to do with the label an assessment gives you. Leaders who know who they are, how they operate, at what level of stress they’re able to effectively operate, and who those they lead believe themselves to be, can see the big picture. They can see how differences on the team have value. These leaders can assign projects based on natural skills and attributes, develop skills based on what motivates members of the team, and coach to more effective behaviors much more easily. To make leading easy, you must know more than the mere label or score from a profile. If a leader doesn’t know how to use emotional intelligence (EQ) data for anything more than making a label for those you lead, then this is a skill you will need to succeed.
Whether a leader is practicing delegation, time management, or prioritization, each concept boils down to the need for effective boundary creation. In one recent coaching conversation, I heard an executive complain of not being able to get her own work done because of frequent interruptions. This is a boundary issue. Another coaching client told me he was unable to stay focused on one thing at a time because something urgent was always distracting him. This is a boundary issue. Whether you close the door, teach an assistant how to protect you from an unnecessary phone call, or determine what mistakes you’re willing to live with when you delegate a new skill to an employee, these are about setting boundaries. Leading becomes easier when you train employees to respect boundaries you set and when you actually set some, to begin with. To make your leading easy, set time aside that is not to be interrupted. Teach that employee a new skill and then give them the space to practice and make yourself unavailable for a time so they can figure out a solution. If boundaries are something with which a leader struggles, employees will constantly leave that leader feeling as if their position is actually one of professional juggler.
Leading could be said to be a simple position, but to say leadership is always easy…well, that might provoke hesitation. Can leading be easy? How would you answer that question? If you’re current feeling is one of frustration and you wish there were a better way, let’s connect and talk through what you’re trying to do. A business coaching guide on the side can streamline your new skills and individually identify the areas in which you might be struggling, but don’t have to. I’d love to talk with you and invite you to call our office at 1-866-382-0121 for a complimentary coaching consultation. It’s a new year, so let’s work together to create that new and improved leader in you!
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!