Archive for April 2018

Define The Successful Habits For An Organization

April 27, 2018

Navy SEAL combat veteran Brent Gleeson is the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Internet Marketing Inc. His leadership approach is inspired by the unrivaled Navy SEAL training and the Navy SEAL Creed.  Here are the seven habits (likely an extension of, but not a replacement for, Core Values) Navy SEALs have for success:

  1. Be loyal. Loyalty is about leading by example, providing your team unconditional support, and never throwing a team member under the bus.
  2. Put others before yourself. Get up every day and ask yourself what you will do to add value to your team, such as simply offering your assistance with a project.
  3. Be reflective. Reflecting on your mistakes ensures you never repeat them.
  4. Be obsessively organized. Some of us innately have this ability, often to a fault, and some have to work at it a bit more.
  5. Assume you don’t know enough. Any effective team member understands that training is never complete. 
  6. Be detail-oriented. Attention to detail could avoid catastrophic results. 
  7. Never get comfortable. Always push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

It’s unlikely these would all apply to every team, but effective leaders define the habits required for success in their organization.

Empowered leaders take time to define the important habits for their organization and their teams experience more success.

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Empower Direct Reports By Setting Boundaries

April 19, 2018

No competent leader consciously micromanages or controls their direct reports’ activities.  Most leaders truly believe they give their direct reports ample autonomy to do their jobs.  Why is it then that most direct reports feel their managers don’t give them the independence they need to do their jobs effectively?  It’s because sub-consciously leaders are reluctant to empower their direct reports and tend to micromanage without recognizing it.

Dr. James Dobson in Dare to Discipline relates the study where social psychologists observed elementary school children in a playground protected by a high fence. The children ran with abandon, playing joyfully within the confines of the fence, unaware and unworried about the busy street just a few feet from the play area. Some theorists decided that the fence was too restrictive, that it inhibited the children, and that they should have more freedom. So, the fence came down.

When the children entered the playground the next day, instead of running with their previous abandon, they tended to huddle together at the center of the play area. Unsure of their limits, they appeared insecure and fearful.

Empowerment works the same way.  Leaders need to consciously define and communicate the boundaries of their direct reports’ tasks, get out of the way, and the direct reports will use their whole playground.  There are four boundaries the leader should establish:

  1. Expectations – what does success look like
  2. Resources – people, processes, budgeting available
  3. Timeframes – hours, deadlines, check-in points
  4. Restrictions – budgets, authority level, non-negotiables

Leaders who consciously empower their direct reports by giving them the tools and boundaries to do their jobs then step aside experience more success.

Ask For Solutions When Giving Course Corrections

April 13, 2018

Most leaders have exceptional problem solving skills – that’s generally what got them to their leadership position; however, when providing course correction feedback to direct reports, skip the problem solving and ask the direct report to come up with a solution.

Course correction feedback should focus on the direct report’s behavior AND their responsibility to change it.  The leader’s job is point out the correction, offer encouragement, and solicit a behavior change.  The natural tendency will be for the leader to offer solutions – don’t do it.  Let the direct report provide the solution; there will be a greater chance getting the wanted behavior change.

Some examples:

“Tim, we really appreciate you attending the management meetings, but when you raise your voice and sneer at Joe, the team respects you less.  What can you do next time?”

“Sue, I like all your hard work, but when you show up late for work, we all think you don’t care about the team.  What can you do to be at work on time each day?”

“Joe, great sales call yesterday, but when you order a martini for lunch, our clients might question our professionalism.  How might you handle the next client lunch?”

Leaders who empower their direct reports to offer course correction solutions will experience future successes.

360 Degree Tools Are A Great Way To Learn More About Direct Reports

April 6, 2018

The United States Navel Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) is an elite team of Navy SEALs that hunted and killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Navy SEALs represent the best of the Navy and DEVGRU represents the best of the SEALs.  To graduate to DEVGRU the SEALs must pass a nine-month long grueling training and testing program called Green Team. Only the best of the best survive Green Team and are challenged constantly by the Navy’s best leaders.

Mark Owen author of “No Easy Day: The First Hand Account Of The Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden,” recounts his Green Team experience where he and other team members were asked regularly to make an anonymous list of the five best and worst performers in the class. The instructors compared these lists to their own lists when evaluating talent and deciding who would be promoted or removed.  The instructors know to create high-performing teams capable of accomplishing difficult feats; all aspects of the team members’ performance must be considered including how they are viewed by their teammates.

Though leaders may not be developing a team capable of hunting and killing al Qaeda fighters, receiving feedback from team members about each other can help them make better development decisions.  The common approach in business to getting this feedback is from 360-degree tools.  A well-designed 360-degree questionnaire, one that does NOT use Likert scale questions, is a great way for leaders to learn more about their direct reports and for them to create personal development plans.

Leaders who empower their direct reports with 360-degree tools will experience much success.