Less management and more leadership

“ If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

That above is one of the most beautiful quotes ever, from Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Which allows me to be rude and nasty in my next line: Stop treating your employees like sheep, stop the micromanagement! and start building a team spirit where everyone feels like a CEO, everyone feels valued and responsible for the company growth. Encourage them to bring their best ideas, to speak up if they see something that needs to be fixed and to strive for greatness instead of doing just good enough.

One of the easiest way to spot a green manager is to see how they handle authority. Are you trying to demonstrate supperiority? Are you trying to talk most of the time? Well, maybe is time to start listening because your team members can lead your organisation to excellence.

Master the culture of love in your business:

Shout as loud as you can when praising your team, and be short and discreet in moments of bring attention to mistakes. Team spirit is hard to build but easy to hurt. No one has ever become inspired by having a negative talk.

Always dig for reasons to applaud. Never scratch for excusses to gossip. Send an email around about how disapointed you are with x or y, and everyone will go home with empty hearts and zero motivation. Instead of assessing them with a magnifying glass start evaluating yourself. If you have ever done any of the following start by improving yourself:

  • Hold a meeting to criticise or complain about the ones in the room? Instead use their time wisely, and avoid the meeting unless you are going to talk about their great achievements, to inspire them and invigorate them.
  • Weep and complain about other people, teams or clients? If you are going to talk about someone’s mistakes, start with your own mistakes first.
  • Listen to reply and show your authority? Be a good listener: Listen to understand their points and improve yourself.
  • Use the shit sandwich to give feedback (or even worse give no feedback)?Instead ask them for two things you could improve and leave them with one thing you love about their work. Bring a smile to their lips and soon they will give you hundreds of things to love!
  • Micromanagement, fear, carrots and sticks? The lack of enthusiasm or low productivity is not cured by asking people to log 100% of their time, using fear or punishment. It is cured by inspiring them and arousing an eager want to take action.

A real leader is not worried about showing their knowledge or proving their authority. Be the best coach by helping every team member to shine, and give them the support to perform at their best. In short use these 3 rules:

  • Don’t criticise, condemn or complain
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want to do better

If you are doing all the above right…

Then go further and hold an All-Hands in your orgnisation, where every attendee feels invigorated (the celebratory aspect), empowered (the alignment piece) and educated (the Q&A part). If you are not familiar with the All-Hands format, this is quick description to hold the first one in your organisation.

All-Hands structure:

Section 1 (20% of the time): Put People first and celebrate their accomplishments

a. New hires and anniversaries: show a picture of every new hire and welcome them to the company, give them the chance to talk about their background and why they joined the company. Also recognise anniversaries to all your loyal members.

b. Values and kudos: Don’t let the values of your company to be words in a paper. Recognise the people who exemplify those core values with examples of how they demonstrated that value, give them kudos and maybe fun prizes.

c. Accomplishments: What are the top accomplishments you are most excited about? Bring the teams involved to the front to applause, take a bow, or get a collective prize.

Section 2 (60% of the time): Drive alignment around mission, strategy and priorities.

a. Start with WHY: Remember them about your purpose as a company, how what you are building will make the world a better place. Why are some people and organisations more inventive and successful than others? Because they are all aligned by having a clear WHY in their minds. There is a story of a team member asking their line manager, “Why are we doing __________?” Well, to make profit they replied!. Sure, there is a strong WHY in the founder and the top levels but is that message clearly communicated across your organisation? It is so very important to remind people of the “Why” behind your company on a continuous basis.

b. Strategy: Describe what is our winning aspiration as an orgnisation and how we can achieve it. Use top-level metrics to show the progress to the winning aspiration so everybody is clear on how to do better and help the organisation’ objectives.

c. Initiatives: Highlight the more important initiatives in the organisation, their progress and how this will help the overall strategy. This will encourage team members to bring new ideas and take action.

Section 3 (20% of the time): Q&A

a. Pre-asked Questions: Team members should be able to submit their questions ahead, if there are too many questions you can use a vote system so people can vote for the top five to be answered in the event (with the other questions answered by email).

b. Impromptu Q&A: This is literally open mic time, where anyone can ask a question that was sparked by the preceding discussion. These can be some of the most insightful and hard-hitting questions, and your organisation will learn and grow from them.

Thank you for reading this article… I hope at least one manager in the world feels inspired to create a happier team and transform the culture in their organisation. Please share it and let me know in the comments, any ideas or suggestions I can incorporate into this article to make it better.