Leading a team today has nothing to do with the old ways. Old-type leadership was about giving orders, controlling subordinates and rewarding / punishing people like kids.
Today, this doesn’t work anymore. At best it’s ineffective and at worst it’s devastating ! The key to success is making your team members great players in the game of business. Look at great sport coaches ? Well, you can be a great coach too. This is how to do:
- Set the direction: people need to know the purpose of their work. It’s key ! If their only goal is to make a bit of money for life, they will not develop their talent. A good boss is showing the way, making clear what the trip is about and make people ambitious about it. Restate your vision to your team every month !
- Listen with empathy: we spend time on our phones and tablets always waiting for the next notification ! We should listen to our team members more: take time out with each of them, go lunch one to one, have a relaxed small talk at the end of the day. Whatever the time, let them talk ! Use Carl Rogers reflective practice http://www.bapca.org.uk/about/what-is-it.html
- Sometimes “kick the ass”: being always nice is comfortable. People like you, they’re happy and feel good about working in your team. It’s great ! But comfort leads to sleepiness. We can not be good business athletes if we don’t surpass ourselves. Give a shot of energy to your team regularly. Give your opinion on what is not good enough, invite your team to an unexpected meeting and tell them you expect a better performance. Move them !
- Keep a distance: a boss is not a friend, authority comes out of some mystery you’re keeping about you. I know a lot of my young mentorees who feel uncomfortable about being in a leadership position for the first time. They try to become friends with their team members. Especially with older ones. It’s not a good solution. You can be nice, have a night out with your team, or whatever team building activities, but you should always be in your team leaders shoes…
- And above all believe in their ability to succeed… People feel when you trust them. Trusting their capabilities, their dedication, their true person. A number of experiences were made showing that when people feel trusted, they perform better. Look at your team members as people, not as objects. Try to find what is best in them. Tell them when they’re doing something good and show them how they can be better. Use Ken Blanchard one-minute manager method, it’s simple and effective http://www.kenblanchard.com
All in all, leading is a fantastic experience ! It’s great to feel others following you, becoming better and performing as a team under your guidance and with your support.
Be inspired !
Do you know the difference between jazz and classical music ?
Well, classical music is about having a strict agenda and always be the best professional, the best interpreter, with the hope to work under the direction of a great director : no place for improvisation here !
On the opposite side, jazz is about having a clear theme and being able to play around it… A jazz band can play the same tune each night but in fact it’s never the same. You can recognize the theme, musicians know what they are getting to but they innovate at every moment.
Today business is like music, but the environment is so changing that a classical way leads to nothing significant. You should be jazzy : have a clear strategy (strategic choices are your themes) but be subtle and flexible in the execution (that’s the interpretation). Playing that way, you will delight your customers, surprise your competitors and have a clear direction at the same time.
If you’re not sure about what I’m saying, go to a jazz club for 3 nights in a row to listen to the same band. There are a number of them in every city in the world !
Be inspired !
Money ! Money ! Money ! The obsession of all managers, company owners, speculators ! Profit & loss. The bottom line ! The obsession of all controllers and finance managers !
Profit is the driving force of the market economy. Some consider it as the final purpose of business and life. Some see it as a measurement tool of business and economy effectiveness. But whatever your opinion about it, times are changing. The P&L bottom line is no more the only one !
Look at the success stories of these last 20 years: Google, Facebook, AirBnB,… these businesses grew dramatically because their purpose was to bring new social models. The money making model followed. Actually, they made some years to make money. They looked at the second bottom line: the Societal bottom line. They introduced new paradigms changing people behaviors everywhere. A number of green companies are putting society first while making profit. B Corps for example, are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency (https://www.bcorporation.net/what-are-b-corps)
Once these companies succeed , they also put employees first. They understood that, to keep employees loyal in a war for talent, they need to make their life at work happy and secure. Sometimes called “new paternalism”, this is also reinforcing the market and economic performance of corporations. They care for the Social bottom line. Read Richard Branson about it: http://www.inc.com/oscar-raymundo/richard-branson-companies-should-put-employees-first.html
Think about the triple bottom line like this:
- money is the consequence of business performance
- performance comes from innovation and employee engagement
- innovation comes out a strong motivation to change the society
- employee engagement leads to customer satisfaction, hence business performance
So, don’t loose a minute: Care for your triple bottom line NOW
I watched a nice movie in the plane getting me back to Europe. The Intern, with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. It’s the sorry of a old man joining a startup company founded by a young woman.
It’s sweet and fun but, moreover, it made me think about 2 things I want to share.
- Women leaders need a mentor. They are strong, free and successful but life is not always rosy ! It’s hard for them to be perfect in all. Perfect boss, perfect mother, perfect daughter, perfect, perfect, perfect… Society want them to conform to an ancient role while they struggle to lead better than men. It’s tough and they need to talk to someone neutral. Not a colleague, not even a friend, not their loved ones. Friends and families should be havens where you forget about job turbulence. A mentor can listen, reflect, advise without judging. It helps think clearer and make wiser decisions. This is what Robert De Niro character does for Anne Hathaway.
- Every company managed by young guys should hire a senior ! In this movie, Robert De Niro character seems out of date at the beginning of the film. His young colleagues look at him with amusement. His way to dress, to act, to talk seem of another age. But then, they realize that his experience help them solve number of life problems. They become better educated and better in general. They get wisdom.
Watch the film, reflect and be inspired !