As leaders, we rely on obtaining frequent and transparent feedback from our team members both for personal and organizational growth.
Constructive feedback not only helps us make better-informed strategic and operational decisions, but it also helps foster a culture of open communication.
And as most leaders know, it’s a lot easier said than done.
So what are a few things leaders should consider when working at drawing out more quality feedback from your team?
Trust is the foundation of any successful feedback exchange, and team members must feel secure and confident in sharing their thoughts and concerns with you.
If team members are worried about your reaction or if they're worried about what's going to happen to them after they share what they have to share with you, then they're just not going to do it. Or they might do it a couple of times and then be like, “What's the point?” So you really want to make sure that you are not contributing...
Finally, you found someone to replace you and perform a specific task. Maybe it’s even a task that you never liked doing and you cannot wait to get this off your plate.
You set up a meeting, start training the person, and then… you find yourself wanting to nudge them aside and take over.
You feel they’re not doing it right. You try to explain. You demonstrate. But nothing seems to be working. You’re tempted to just forget the whole thing and take the delegated task back.
Will that really serve you?
So what can you do when struggling to train someone on a delegated task?
The first thing to look at is ask yourself was the task the right one to delegate? Sometimes there's this desire to get rid of tasks because we don't like them. It's something that we can't stand doing. It's something that drains us. It's something that we drag our feet on because it's just miserable. And we try every trick in the book,...
If we’re to believe social media/the internet, then when we find our “true calling”, when we follow our “real passion”, when we’re “fully aligned”, running our own business our way, there will be no such thing as work.
It’s all going to be bliss, successes and an embarrassment of riches.
I’m just going to go ahead and pop that little balloon.
Running a business should be mostly amazing, fulfilling moments. And, unfortunately, there will always be parts that just plain suck.
No matter how aligned and fulfilled and joyful and all the things the work is for you, there will always be parts that are just plain draining.
So what could entrepreneurs do when they are faced with tasks that they find incredibly draining?
The first thing is to see if there's anything that can be responsibly delegated.
Obviously, if there's something that you truly dislike doing that can be delegated, then...
There are days, as a leader, when it feels like all we’re doing, all day long, is directing traffic.
Getting individuals unstuck by answering their questions, course-correcting projects by providing needed feedback, slowing some down who might be skipping a few steps and getting a little too far ahead.
And when that happens, it’s also usually when there’s an audit of some sort that suddenly pops up requiring a bunch of documentation “tomorrow” and the day is filled with meetings and you’re supposed to be working on the next strategic move.
So what are a few things that leaders can do to get through these “traffic control” days as best as possible?
Whether we like it or not, it's part of our role to support the team. Being a leader does require a lot of energy for us to generate and dedicate that energy to guiding and supporting the team.
Unfortunately, it tends to happen in big...
Anyone leading any kind of initiative knows that there are several aspects, departments, teams that come together to contribute to success.
And the leader is usually the one keeping an eye on everything.
We are frequently the head juggler, trying to keep all the balls in the air, or – at least – we work really hard at not dropping too many. As part of that juggling exercise, we tend, some of us anyway, to want all the things all at once this month.
What we must keep in mind though, is that there's an extremely fine line between pushing for results and overextending ourselves and our team.
If you find yourself, or you're finding your team, frequently remarking that there's not enough time, then it's important to start digging into the issue and make sure that we're not in fact setting ourselves up or setting our team up for burnout.
So how can we evaluate whether what seems on the surface like a time management issue is actually hiding a much larger problem?
Recently, I talked about the importance of considering cash, not just the profit and loss statement, when running an organization. As a result, I was asked by a business owner: “What financial reports should I be looking at?”
Again, I am not an accountant. But I work closely with a trusted team of seasoned accounting professionals. And I highly, highly recommend that any business owner takes the time to work with a trusted accounting professional.
They are not all created equally, so take your time and find someone that you get along with, and answers your questions in a way that makes you feel as though they will be an awesome partner in helping you grow and sustain your business.
Even though, as business owners, we're not accounting professionals, and we're not expected to have the depth of knowledge that accounting professionals have, it's still essential for leaders to understand the basics of accounting – the basics of financials – to be able to make...
Anyone managing any kind of budget has surely come across a version of “You need to spend money to make money”.
Without any kind of guidelines or caveats, this can actually be a very dangerous statement.
Unbridled, that mindset could actually lead an organization to bankruptcy.
I would argue that we need to invest money to make money, and not all business purchases are an investment just because we really, really, want something. That desire alone doesn't turn it into an investment. Sometimes, it is just plain old spending.
As the year-end approaches, many business owners are having conversations with their accountants about taxes. And it might be tempting to try to reduce a business’ tax load by spending money. But it's important to take a moment to consider what that money will actually provide in return.
So, what can we do to help guide our thinking and help us make the distinction between year-end investing and year-end spending?
Running a business, being a leader, requires a lot of energy.
And sometimes, the demands of the day pull us in the direction that it dictates.
Next thing you know, you find yourself with an ever-expanding task list, constantly short on time, forever exhausted, and the busyness of running a business has caught you in its web.
I'm not saying that you're not working hard. You're working very, very hard.
But you're working hard on the wrong things and you're headed in the wrong direction.
And, in a few months, maybe a year or two even, you'll realize that you keep getting farther and farther away from your goals.
So what can you do to get out of this busyness web?
The first thing you can do is to stop for a moment. Hit that virtual pause button. Stop and reevaluate your priorities.
When doing so, ask yourself:
That's going to change. It's going to be fluid. For sure, we don't want...
A leader is often described as someone who inspires through their own actions. They’re a role model of expectations and behavior. But what does that look like in the concrete everyday?
Daily operations can get in the way of that idyllic image and the desire for the leader to be a mentor as well as a motivating force. After trying some heavy leadership frameworks, leaders may find themselves wondering who has time for this aspirational duty, especially when they’re struggling to make payroll, just lost a large client or had their best customer service agent leave to go work for the competition.
Except that, during difficult times — perhaps even especially during difficult times — the leader has to step into that shepherd position. Morale is likely already suffering. Stressors are probably very high. The need for a boost and unifying force becomes that much more indispensable.
It becomes essential for leaders to make time to be able to not only keep that...