This is less a blog post and more a reminder for myself of how to lead people, colleagues, and a team, based on a couple of posts I’ve read on LinkedIn this last week.
Work is about People. It’s always about the People. Working with or leading them, these are a few pointers on how to lead them well. Directly or indirectly, at least one of these will be important to you:
- Never cancel your 1:1’s
It’s THEIR time. They can cancel, you can’t. There is nothing more important on your plate than making time to listen to your team and help clear any obstacles in their path. I openly admit it … I’ve been guilty of cancelling a team member’s 1:1 before, and I knew I shouldn’t but did it anyway (sorry). I know how I feel when my manager has done it to me … it sucks. I shouldn’t have done it.
- Never avoid difficult conversations
Don’t “sandwich” difficult feedback, either. Say what you need to say clearly. And leave time to listen to their side. Small, timely conversations instead of waiting for issues to build.
- Make sure you understand the individual and the team
Some people want to progress. Some don’t. Others are more interested in the finer, technical details of their role and others concern themselves with larger, strategic goals. Some want progression, others want to be left alone to get on with it. Everyone looks different. Don’t guess, ask.
- Proactively set up opportunities for your team’s growth
As much as part of the previous entry, growth is different for everyone. Consider the different paths people have taken before they arrived and work with you, the the path they take from here is also different. Talk to them, listen and understand them.
- A good manager does three things
A. Foster an environment (vision, processes, culture, resources, etc) where everyone in the team can be successful at the core accountabilities of their job.
B. Actively remove any obstacles in their way.
C. Create opportunities for each team member to stretch themselves and work closer toward their personal goals.
- If you said you’re going to do something, do it
Simple to say, sometimes difficult to achieve. But do it.
- Shield your team from noise
Telling your team and colleagues everything that’s going on can be as disorientating for them as it probably is for you. Be selective and strategic about what information to pass on – consider categorising information in terms of urgency, priority, need-to-know, nice-to-know, etc. and stick to it. Be consistent in what and when you share things. Give your team space to focus on their job.
- Listen. Really listen
For me, my relationship with a report is important. If I’ve done all the above, the space we have should be somewhere they feel safe. Safe enough to voice concerns, issues, and even dissent. When it happens, pause, listen, and act based on what you’re hearing – listen to hear vs listen to reply.
Let me know what you think, what’s affected you, and what I’ve missed.