Archive for November 2014

Take A Bullet For Your Direct Reports

November 21, 2014

If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve probably seen times when a player begins to argue with an umpire and is about to be ejected from the game.  Suddenly their manager leaps out of the dugout and interrupts the argument, engaging the umpire while deflecting attention from their player.  The manager kicks dirt, throws objects, and screams inches from the umpire all in an attempt to rescue the player.  After the game, when tempers are back to normal and in the privacy of the clubhouse, the manager will offer feedback to the player, coaching them on what to do when experiencing similar situations in the future.

Empowering leaders challenge their direct reports by putting them in difficult situations.  Inevitably, direct reports will struggle as they learn from the experiences.  Good leaders know when to jump in and use their influence to prevent their direct report from embarrassing themselves.  After the incident, in calmer circumstances, the leader provides course correction coaching and helps the direct report grow from the situation.

Not only will the leader benefit from their direct report’s development, the direct report will move mountains for the leader in the future.

Empower your direct reports to pursue challenging tasks, jump in and save them when necessary, and you’ll experience more success.

How Much Effort Do You Spend Before Making A Hire?

November 14, 2014

Imagine your organization needs to make a $50,000 capital expenditure (equipment, IT, renovations).  Before making the investment, what actions might your team make?  Would the team gather with an objective expert to discuss the specifications needed?  Would you talk to several suppliers and assess various options?  Would you talk to references from the supplier to determine if they are trustworthy?  Would you make further purchases (insurance, warranties, training) after delivery to protect and maximize the investment?

Most leaders would answer “of course, $50,000 is a lot of money and we don’t want to make a mistake.”  Why is it then that hiring managers don’t put forth as much effort when making a $50,000 hire?

Before making a hire, leaders should gather the job’s stakeholders to determine what is needed from the role and the type of person who fits best.  Hiring managers should interview and assess several candidates.  Hiring managers should talk to candidate references to make sure they are the right fit.  Hiring managers should also invest in new hire training to ensure the new hire’s success.

And, unlike a capital expenditure, a talent investment will appreciate over time.

Empower your team to treat your people investments with the same diligence as capital investments and you’ll experience more success.

How Well Do You Know Your Direct Reports?

November 7, 2014

It’s an established fact that people who have personal relationships have greater trust and are more willing to extend themselves for each other than those who have lesser relationships.  It should stand to reason then that leaders who want extra efforts from their direct reports will want to have stronger personal relationships.

How well do you know your direct reports?  Can you answer these questions about each of your direct reports?

  • What is the name of their spouse or significant other?
  • What are their hobbies or interests?
  • What are the names and ages of their children or grandchildren?
  • What is the breed and name of their pet?

Leaders don’t need to be overly personal with their direct reports but they should know a little about them.  A personal relationship can come from casual water cooler type conversations.  Regularly scheduled weekly one-on-one meetings are a great way to develop this relationship.  In our experience, there is no more important leadership technique than one-on-ones.

Empower your team to participate in regular one-on-ones and you’ll develop a deeper personal relationship which will lead to more success.