Every position tier requires a different kind of supervision. Front line staff need ongoing monitoring, in the moment coaching, and direct supervision. Experienced staff still need prompting, oversight and frequent consultations to keep them on target.
So what do leaders need?
Leaders are unique unicorns — they are clever, creative and enjoy the path of reaching a goal. Our main job as a leader managing other leaders is to simply give them the metric and support them in developing their own way of how to hit their goals. Keep leaders outcome based and let them figure out their “how”.
The key is figuring out the right metrics and then simply holding a line. Conversions? Customer Retention? Turnover rates? Billable Hours? Labor Costs? Net Margins? Define those first.
Numbers don’t lie.
Numbers don’t lie. Stop asking your team what problems they are experiencing and start instead focusing them on…
How do you know if you have the right leader? By how do they respond to the expectations of goals, ownership and accountability. Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Goals. The most important thing. Do they know what they should be producing in the next 30 days, 6 months, two years? These outcomes should be clearly outlined and focused on extensively during each strategy meeting. Are they motivated to hit their goals and actively working on it with a sense of urgency? Ultimately, do they consistently hit their goals as you have defined them? If so, you have the right person.
- Ownership. Does the leader act with the understanding that the details matter when hitting goals? Are they trying to actively improve their department and piece of the company? Do they take each error as an opportunity to improve the system? Do they care more about their position than anyone else does?
- Accountability. Do they feel the awesomeness when they hit their goal? Do they feel the pain when they don’t? You have to create an environment where those things are both happening immediately and intentionally. It isn’t a question of perfection, it is ultimately a question of “Do they respond correctly to the stimuli?”
When things go wrong, I guarantee that every question you ask will be related to these three things. Focus on the metrics and watch HOW they respond to the pressure. Let your unicorns rise to the top.
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Working as a leader for a start-up is not for the weak. It requires a “rare unicorn” type of leader to see it through…
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