I have been discussing my leadership list in depth, and we are up to number four. My list is a response to Google’s research on the qualities of exceptional teams, as described in Project Aristotle. Here is the list with the bullet points that I’ve discussed so far.
Kathy’s Leadership List
- Be present, and show that you care.
- Focus on keeping your mind present during conversations and meetings.
- Use good nonverbal communication to assure people that you are listening.
- Show interest in people’s activities outside of work.
- Maintain appropriate boundaries for personal discussions.
- Enforce and model respect for self and others.
- Watch vigilantly for situations that make a person or group feel a lack of respect.
- Talk to employees and peers about disrespectful behavior in an appropriate setting.
- Behave scrupulously, in a way that always shows respect for others.
- Establish Designed Alliances whenever possible so that respectful behavior is explicitly defined, expected, and required.
- Include others in decision-making as much as possible.
- People like control. Great leaders give others control as much as possible. Autonomy is motivating.
- Meeting people’s personal needs to be listened to, understood, and respected creates positive relationships.
- We make better decisions with more information. People who don’t agree with us can have valuable information to share.
- After making a decision, a leader should share the reasons behind the decision and their feelings about it.
- Inclusive decision-making saves more time in the long run.
- Ensure individual and team goals are clear and in alignment with organizational goals.
- Be consistent, dependable, and positive in your actions, attitude, and mindset.
- Make curiosity your default.
So, let’s discuss number four.
Ensure individual and team goals are clear and in alignment with organizational goals. Leaders can avoid a lot of conflict and create a lot of motivation by ensuring that individual and team goals are clear and linked to organizational goals. Leaders can start by examining their group’s or team’s goals and then asking, “How do these goals help the organization achieve its goals?” In theory, every department, group, or team should be doing something that helps the organization accomplish its mission. So, it’s up to the leader to determine why his or her group matters. Why are they paid? What do they contribute that helps the organization?
Once the leader has figured out how the group helps the organization achieve success, he or she should make sure that every individual on the team has that information. Everyone needs to know what the group’s goals are and how they fit in with organizational goals.
People like to know that they make a difference. It’s motivating to be part of a team effort to accomplish something. We are more content when we feel that we have and provide value.
The next step for a leader is to look at each individual’s job on the team. It’s important to be able to answer the question “How does this person in this position help our group be successful and meet its goals?” Theoretically, no one should be on the payroll who isn’t helping the group and organization reach their goals. Once again, it’s motivating to know how our contributions fit into the bigger picture.
Next, leaders need to make sure that every person is clear about his or her responsibilities. We can’t be successful if we don’t know what success looks like. Of course, a clear and specific job description is ideal. In the coaching segment of my leadership workshops, I remind leaders that they can only expect people to achieve the minimum performance level outlined in the job description. So, it’s imperative that the job description includes the responsibilities and tasks that contribute to the group’s success. We use our personal influence to encourage higher achievement, but people are only required to do what is in the job description.
Lastly, leaders need to ensure that there is no overlap of duties. I often see conflict in organizations that stems from two people each believing that they are responsible for a task or area. It’s important for a leader to make sure that everyone knows what their lane looks like and that they stay in it – unless they are stepping out to help someone else.
Here are the bullet points to remember:
- Leaders must understand how their group contributes to the overall success of the organization.
- It’s important to make sure everyone in the group understands how they, as a group, help the organization achieve its goals.
- Roles and responsibilities must be clear to everyone in the group.
- Each individual needs to know how he or she makes a difference.
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