A leader sets the stage for their team to be successful. It is up to each person to create that success. There are steps leaders can take to lay the groundwork.
Recent conversations with clients have had a familiar ring, the need to increase something in their team. The something ranges from engagement, productivity, common sense to development. What I find interesting about this statement is the sense of ownership and lack of power the leader expresses to make that increase happen. After all, isn’t that how we as leaders are measured? Yet we cannot seem to make engagement, productivity, etc. happen to the degree we think it should.
We carry around with us many assumptions and expectations on how leading is manifested and how we want the work to be done. When those assumptions are challenged, a frequent reaction is to assume incompetence or lack of drive from the individuals involved. If, however, you take time to truly assess the situation, you will likely find the person does not have the training, experience, or support they needed to do the job well, to be engaged or to develop. As one client realized, “It’s their job to make it their mission to be successful here, but what can I do differently?” This leader uncovered the essential truth – there is common ownership and power to increase engagement, productivity, etc. A leader can’t make it happen. A leader can create situations and offer training and support in a way that brings out the engagement, the desire to succeed, or develop their skills in the individual.
What can you do differently?
What might you be doing discourages engagement, etc.? Examine your behavior and interactions:
How good are you at really listening?
What is the quality of the questions you ask?
How much do you tell versus show?
How well do you accept and integrate other approaches, ideas?
What is your skill level for delegating and setting expectations?
Learn what you can about the person:
What do you know about their values?
What do you know about their strengths and what they think their strengths are?
What energizes them?
What do they think they need to work on? Or want to work on?
To get to the answers will require several conversations. Ata minimum, is it an opportunity to test your assumptions and your process for knowing your team better.
As you have these conversations, you lay the ground work of co-creating the path to increased engagement, productivity, common sense or personal development. This ground work helps the individual understand their role is to make it their mission to succeed and how to be successful.
Integrate support, guidance, understanding into the fabric of every interaction. It is in the daily interactions that engagement, productivity etc. are fostered.
"Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence. And making sure the impact lasts in your absence". Sheryl Sandburg