There are many motivational quotes on the walls of e-commerce start-up Next Jump. One of the most popular ones, however, is the one that says “Better Me + Better You = Better Us”. In this day and age of cutthroat competition and warp speed innovations, keeping your leadership skills finely tuned is of paramount importance.
Harvard Business Review editor Maureen Hoch compiled some of her favorite management and leadership lessons from 2019:
TALKING TOO MUCH
Many leaders of organizations find themselves talking most of the time. Employees are constantly approaching you and asking for advice, guidance, and decisions. As a leader in your company, you certainly have plenty of opportunities to give your opinion. But, as author Hjalmar Gisalon says from his article Don’t Be the Boss Who Talks Too Much, “at some point, talking a lot can turn into over communicating. You can end up dominating conversations, which means employees’ perspectives aren’t being heard.”
Many times a simple ‘yes’ or no’ is acceptable and a lengthy explanation is not necessary. When you are in meetings, be intentional about listening to others, just as much as you are cognizant of how much you are talking. Monitor and measure the amount of listening and talking you do.
Gisalon goes on to suggest “when someone raises a question in a meeting, invite others to weigh in before you. In fact, don’t contribute your thoughts until several other people have offered theirs. That way everyone is included and feels that their input is valued.” If there is an imbalance in the conversation of a particular meeting, as a leader, you can always regain the balance by having various to[ics or conversations taken ‘off line’ for further discussion and resolution.
Brigid Schulte suggests leaders establish healthy work standards in her article Preventing Busyness from Becoming Burnout. As a leader in your organization, you need to be cognizant of everyone watching your every move. If you work late ALL the time or do not eat lunch, it will be noticed. Schulte suggests that you lead by example.
“Let your team see you taking lunch breaks, leaving the office on time, and working flexibly…..don’t send e-mails or other messages late at night—it signals that employees should be working at all hours.”
As in most things, moderation in all things will tend toward balancing workloads across all levels of the organization. Schulte also suggests that leaders encourage their staff to plan their work and then proceed to implement their plan, using reasonable and realistic time estimates.
Finally, take some time to talk to your employees about their workload. It can be a very revealing conversation that could result in the need for rebalancing their tasks, ultimately resulting in possible major benefits to your company if you determine a top notch staffer was being saddled with mundane tasks.
INCREASE YOUR CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS
Making the right decision is important for any business. In order to make the best decision, most leaders will assess the needed information, develop meaningful alternatives, and make the final decision based on the best information available.
Some leaders simply take the first alternative that comes along; don’t do that, says author Helen Lee Bouygues. “…question your assumptions, especially when the stakes are high. If you are coming up with a new business strategy, for example, ask: Why is this the best way forward? What does the research say about our expectations for the future of the market? Second, poke at the logic. When evaluating arguments, consider if the evidence builds on itself to produce a sound conclusion. Is the logic supported by the data at each point? Third, seek out fresh perspectives.”
GIVE YOUR EMPLOYEES A SENSE OF PURPOSE
Author Dan Cable suggests the following “To inspire and engage your employees, keep two things in mind. First, purpose is feeling. You could tell your team that their work is important, but how can you help individuals feel it firsthand?” People need to be shown how their jobs impact others and/or help the business grow. Cable says “Second, authenticity matters—a lot. If your attempts at creating purpose do not align with how you’ve acted in the past, employees will likely be skeptical, and they might be left feeling more manipulated than inspired.”
Your persistence in giving them a sense of purpose for their job will return many benefits which will allow your company continued growth and stability.