Archive for September 2013

Successful Leaders Ask Questions, Don’t Give Answers

September 25, 2013

Most leaders are hard driving dominating problem solvers.  They see a problem, kick into “fix it” mode, and solve it.  That approach made them successful; but as their team grows, solving problems will ultimately restrict growth.

For an organization to grow it takes more than just the leader to be a good problem solver. Leaders must challenge their team to develop by empowering them to solve their own problems.  The best way for leaders to advance their direct reports is to ask questions, NOT give answers, and challenge them to solve the problem without the leader doing it for them.

This is much harder for leaders than it sounds.  It requires great restraint for the problem solving leader NOT to solve a problem.  Imagine in the heat of the moment a leader seeing what needs to be done, taking a deep breath, and asking what do you think we should do?  Why?  What else have you considered?  Though difficult, this is what direct reports need to succeed and for the organization to grow.

Empower yourself to ask question and NOT give answers, and you’ll experience more success.

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Challenge Your Direct Reports To Document Their Critical Job Functions

September 22, 2013

Succession begins with documenting key aspects of HOW critical components of a position are done, but many leaders feel guilty asking a direct report to do this for fear it sounds like “I’m getting ready to fire you, so I need to know what you do and how you do it.

A direct report may jump to this conclusion, but it can be framed differently.  The truth is, not only does each job in your organization need critical functions well documented in case of emergency, but this must be done so your direct report can be prepared for growth and guilt free vacations.

Both the job they may someday leave must be documented so someone else can be cross-trained to perform the accountabilities well, and the job into which they may grow must be documented so they may be cross-trained and developed to be prepared for success.

Minimally, if key aspects are documented, the direct report can return from vacation prepared to keep the ball rolling, not having to dig through a back log.

Empower your direct reports to participate in succession by documenting critical components of a position so they can prepare to grow.

Leadership Trumps Talent

September 15, 2013

What would you rather have: a strong leader of a team of producers, or a weak leader with a team of superstars?

History is filled with examples of teams of underdogs that unexpectedly go on to accomplish great results.  Conversely, there are examples of seemingly great teams filled with stars that fail to meet expectations.

The difference is leadership.  Effective leaders are focused both on getting the right people AND getting people right.  Getting people right is taking the talent you have and getting the most out of them by challenging each team member differently and leveraging their collective strengths.  John Wooden won 10 NCAA basketball championships in 12 years not just by recruiting the best players but by getting the most out of them.  How many times have we seen the number one draft choice in professional sports fail?  Leadership almost always trumps talent.

Empower your leaders to get their people right and you’ll experience more success.