Everyone is a leader. Regardless of your role in a company or in a family, you have leadership responsibilities. Good leaders are always coaching, cultivating and building leaders out of everyone on the team.
It is very important to communicate your mission and vision. Everyone on the team should have the same clarity and understanding of the objectives. This requires that YOU have clear goals and objectives. You communicate these goals and objectives every day in many ways. The actions that you take each day speak volumes to your team about what’s important to you. The written communication that circulates internally and externally from your company speaks volumes about what’s important to you and the company. So be very careful not to confuse people with inconsistent messaging. Keep your values aligned. Stay focused on the action items that are needed to reach your objective. Be careful not to lose focus (which I have done so often), and let other activities take you off track.
One of the big parts of leading is helping. The term leadership and the word leading say it all. You’re not pushing; you’re not demanding. You are helping people and leading them on a journey. In order for this journey to be truly successful and fulfilling for you and everyone else, including your team and your customers, this journey needs to be fun and rewarding. It will not be all of these things all the time – that’s just not realistic. But you will need to be always aware of the importance of happiness and satisfaction.
Ask For Ideas
Before you provide a solution to a problem, ask for their ideas. An important note about leadership is one that I forget too often. It’s very simple and it’s very specific. One of the greatest tricks to leadership, and to building leaders, is remembering not to answer every question everyone has. Give them an opportunity to answer their own questions. What I mean by this is if someone comes to you and says, “Jenna, how do you want me to do this?” or “How should I handle this situation?” be careful not to let your mind quickly jump into “solution mode.” First take a deep breath, smile, relax and ask them what they think we should do about the situation. Let them give you one or two options. Ask them what they would do if you were not available for the answer. They could possibly go to another team member to gather insight. They could possibly Google and research for an answer. After you let them go through this exercise for a few moments (try to make it fun and don’t make it miserable or put them on the spot), be sure to compliment them on their thought process even if they did not come up with the best answer in your opinion. Pat them on the back for giving this so much thought! Once you decide on a solution, take a moment to discuss and make sure you get agreement from them and that they understand why that is a good solution. You may even want to go back over the options they came up with that were not good. Let them think through these and discuss with you why those may not have been the best solutions. We all need to understand Why. Simply memorizing the answer to something does not help us remember it and become better. Gaining an understanding as to WHY things are the way they are helps us retain information and therefore be able to apply our knowledge to future situations.
Delegating is much harder than one would expect and there are a few reasons why. I will discuss three of the most common. One reason is that you may believe you will or could do it better. Another reason is that you can or could do it faster than the time it takes to teach someone else. The third reason could be that you get satisfaction (and possibly recognition) from being the one who gets things done.
There are many problems with those reasons not to delegate. Let’s start with the first reason which is quality of work. It may be true that you can do it better. The problem is that model will not scale. You can’t do everything. You may have heard this saying, “those who can’t do…teach.” I strongly disagree with that statement. I believe that “Those who care…teach”. I also believe that “Those who can’t teach, do!” To be a leader is to be a teacher, mentor and/or coach, whatever you want to call it.
Excerpt from The Perfect Insurance Agency by Eddie Price