I’ve had some real jerks for bosses in the course of my career. From what I hear talking to other people about their experiences of leadership and management, this is not uncommon.
There are plenty of unpleasant people out there who make it to the top.
But that bad behaviour is not always down to someone simply being an ignorant boatface. A lot of that behaviour comes from fear.
Fear of being found out a fraud, fear of being in over your head, fear of failure.
This may seem counterintuitive- how can such a mean-spirited, harsh $%#&* be afraid of anything? …
Well done for making the commitment to improve your leadership and your team’s performance. It’s Day 30, and you’ve covered a lot of ground.
I’ve saved the most important lesson for last. This one is about showing humility in your leadership. Let’s look at what that means for you and your team.
This is what humility as a leader looks like in practice:
Setting out the values of your team is one of your most important and urgent actions. This is essentially about agreeing what is important to you all, and setting expectations of behaviour and performance.
One of the most impactful values is creating a shared view about how teammates should treat each other, including the leader.
Set crystal clear expectations around this early, and you will build a strong and capable team that can weather almost anything. It will also save you loads of hassle later.
This usually goes wrong one of two ways:
The effects of the physical environment can be quite insidious. We can often be negatively effected by our physical surroundings without even realising it.
We get used to what’s around us and stop “seeing” how things really are.
Or we are so busy or focused on what we are doing that we don’t realise how the physical condition of where we are working is impacting on us and how we are working.
Don’t fall into this trap. Step back and look again with fresh eyes. Talk to your team members.
Good managers realise the importance of the working environment on the performance and productivity of their teams. …
Just because a person is sitting in their chair it doesn’t mean they are being particularly productive.
And just because someone is not sitting in their chair eight hours a day or more, it doesn’t mean they aren’t highly productive.
Different types of work require different types of human time to get it done.
Sure, you may have some roles in your team- a receptionist, a customer service representative, or the widget machine operator- that require a person to be in a certain place for a certain amount of time in order to fulfil their duties.
Apart from those static roles, changing the way you think of timekeeping in your team is a great way to boost productivity and improve performance. …
Last time we explored how important it is for everyone in a team to feel seen and heard. It’s part of the job of being a good leader to make sure each team member feels valued.
What if someone feels so valued they think it’s time to ask for a raise?
You might feel awkward getting that first raise request. Your first instinct might be to say no because money is tight, or because you don’t think you have the authority to say yes, depending on your situation.
It’s important not be caught on the back foot when your first raise request comes through. You need to be prepared and know exactly how you will respond. …
No matter how small your company or team is, unless you are a solopreneur you will be relying on others to do the work that keeps it afloat.
They are your most valuable asset. They deserve your time, and giving them your time returns value to you.
People need to feel seen and heard. The more you can be in touch with the people who report directly to you the better you as their leader will be able to get the most from them.
If anyone has some good ideas, or is picking up problems early, or is becoming dissatisfied with the job, getting in regular one to one time is essential for learning these things early enough to do something with the information you get. …
Being a leader is challenging work. Being a leader who is making an effort to do better and to be better can be especially tough.
You can easily start to run out of steam, get disheartened, and totally lose the momentum.
Bear in mind that everyone has good days when they are fired up and it seems everything is possible, and bad days when it feels like everything is wrong and getting worse.
You can learn to ride those bad days out and get going.
How do you know if things are really that tough or if you just have an empty tank? …
There comes a time as a leader when you realise you are just digging yourself and your team further and further into a black hole of poor performance and bad culture.
Your team is miserable. Nobody is doing their best work. Every day feels like a struggle. Maybe your company is even at risk.
So many things are wrong or at least feel wrong that you begin to wonder if it’s even possible to get the team back on track and improve not only performance but the culture and atmosphere.
Leaders tend to do one of two things in this…
A fearless (or even good) leader is not someone who can do it all themselves.
Unless you are a solopreneur and must be your own go-to person, make it a priority to identify someone in your team who has this most valuable skill to complement a leader’s role.
There are people out there who are great at sussing out a knotty issue or a big problem early, as soon as it starts to raise its ugly head.
But that’s not all.
Having someone who is good at paying attention to dysfunction, inefficiency, or looming problems can save you lots of headache or even disaster later. …