A Leader’s Daily Checkup

If we want to improve our skills as a leader, we need to evaluate our current environment. Here is a simple list of attributes to check your conduct as a leader.

1. Consistency. Are you providing a consistent approach that allows your team members to function at their best? Is the environment you created conducive for excellence?

2. Courage. A leader needs the courage to provide breakthrough success. This means doing things differently. Does your team recognize you as courageous?

3. Unwavering. Are you unwavering in your leadership? Are you decisive when it is needed, and yet patient in letting the team provide options?

4. Committed. Does your team feel your commitment to excellence? Are you setting the example for your team?

5. Humility. Do you approach challenges with humility? Are you capable of listening and evaluating fairly all contributions?

6. Passionate. Does your passion for your project, your team, your goals shine through daily?

Sometimes our view is not enough to test our abilities. This week’s challenge is to sit with someone on your team and have them help you review your actions in these six areas. It may enlighten you, and reveal opportunities to improve.

Make Today Your Own

Every day is unique. Although we can’t control everything that affects our day, we can impact how we approach it. Here are the three perspectives that drive me each day.

1. There is always more to do than time allows. We do not have unlimited time, so we must make the best of the minutes and hours we are given.

2. There is always some time needed to disconnect and recharge. I have a habit of disconnecting on the weekend. I stay away from work email, and I rarely do any type of work on Sunday. For me, it makes a big difference in my effectiveness throughout the week. I have had periods in my life where I worked non-stop, day after day. Recharging helps us keep perspective. If you continually work tactical actions, you will potentially lose sight of strategy.

3. Being effective with your time is also work. We like to think we are efficient. But I have found that if we rely on systems and our own tricks to be more productive, then possibly we become stuck in a routine that is temporarily effective. If we pause to evaluate all the resources we have available and adjust to take full advantage of an ever changing environment, we have the ability to become more effective.

These are three perspectives that help me stay positive and engaged every day. What attitudes help you stay at the top of your game?

Do You Struggle Working for Your Boss?

We have all probably worked for good bosses and bad bosses. Working for a good boss is easy, while working for a bad boss makes each day a struggle. How can you improve your environment if you find yourself in this situation? I recommend reflecting on these key points.

1. What does my boss need from me? First off, he or she needs you to complete your assigned tasks on time and manage your assigned responsibilities. Beyond that, he or she is normally looking for loyalty, openness, tolerance, and focus. These are traits that a boss typically doesn’t ask for directly, but will appreciate when employees embrace.

2. What do I need from my boss? The basics are clear communication and guidance on assigned tasks. If we receive the basics, we are more productive when we receive support and feedback. This take more time on your boss’s agenda, so you may have to take the initiative. Schedule weekly time to get feedback, and ask for the support you need. Your boss may want to provide it, but may never allocate his time.

If you are struggling, reflect on the difference experiences you have had with different bosses. In your current role, what is missing? What is in your control to change? What action will help today?

Where Is Your Team Spirit?

With a new team, morale takes time to develop. Two key factors influence the growth of team spirit, shared experiences and communication. If you want to build team pride or maintain the momentum  you have, these are the areas in which to focus.

1. Shared Experiences. Shared experiences is what brings people together. There are many types of shared team experiences: challenges, creative, discovery, learning, entertaining, winning, and losing. A workplace team is also strengthened through different type of events. As a leader, how can you create shared experiences that will strengthen your team? Don’t wait for these to happen by accident. Plan them and follow through. Teams that lack team pride are easily spotted because they tend to work in silos unaware of how collaboration could increase their results.

2. Communication. Communication is a process. Being an effective communicator is one of the most important skills that will help your team. Without communication, you have no team. Yet many leaders fail to communicate adequately. To build a capable team you must communicate effectively to every team member. Not all people receive a message the same way. A message can be delivered through the written word, through spoken words, through visual messages. Some people only need to hear a message one time, other may require hearing it multiple times before they understand its importance. As a leader, you must discover how to communicate to your team members. It is not easy. It takes effort and practice.

What can you commit to this week that will improve your team’s communication, or create a shared experience?