Recently I am being asked a lot of questions around leadership. It is inspiring that so many managers are now become interested in leadership and even more inspiring that a few are understanding the difference between the two.
… so I thought I would start a series so I can capture my thoughts in one place. I hope you find something that inspires and helps.
As a leader I believe that your role is to achieve a better outcome from your team, compared to if you weren’t there. Now don’t laugh, I have met more managers than I could count that made no difference at all (or worse… they had a negative impact) on the output of their teams. Some managers are reporters, others are enforcers, the a few are leaders.
One philosophy I try to embed is to create an environment where the team members wake up with a sense of purpose and go to sleep with a sense of accomplishment.
Everyone wants to achieve a goal. Its in our DNA. So why do so many work environments and so-called leaders do the opposite? As leaders our actions have a huge impact on peoples lives. Leadership comes with many responsibilities, one of those is how we impact the lives of those around us, so we must focus on improving what we can.
When I start working with teams one of the first things I do is talk to the members, find out what makes them tick, what drives them, what do they want out of life. Then I run a workshop. Starting with the statement
“Wake up with a sense of purpose; go to sleep with a sense of accomplishment”
written on a board.
Then we all, collaboratively, work backwards to build some pillars, behaviors, goals, interactions and many more things. If you’ve read many of my posts you will know what I am going to say next… we implement and review fortnightly!
We get all the pillars written up and turned into a nice looking sheet of paper. This becomes the team contract. If you want to work in a great environment then you sign the contract and state that you will uphold and positively add to the culture of the team.
Like all contracts you need to define how it will be enforced and what happens if it is not followed. The teams love coming up with these sections!
By enabling the team to define their own ways of creating their workplace and signing the document the level of commitment is magnified.
Now let the team go and self manage their behaviors – they will need a guiding hand from you but don’t run it. Let the team run it themselves… after all it is their workplace.
This is a very cheap team building exercise. It is also a quick way for a new leader to see some strengths and weaknesses within a team.
The hard part is ensuring the ‘contract’ is upheld and behaviors don’t slip.
Even harder is to enforce behaviors outside the team – from above, below and beside. That’s the topic for another post!
Run the above workshop, keep it informal. Your teams will rise, they will be surprised that you even care. This is a trick used by many companies who’s staff rave about working for them.