Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Improving Conversations with your Team

Communicating with your team is a fundamental skill that can make or break the effectiveness of your team. Have you thought about how you deliver the messages to your team? Have you considered how the content of these messages is put together? Follow these simple rules to improve your messages and your team will get the picture in a clear and succinct way.

To ensure your team understands and retains what you say, tie your messages to what they've told you about this subject. by doing this the messages will have a ring of familiarity to it, this will make it more accepting.

When putting forward an idea think of three supporting points, this will show your team that you have considered the matter and given it some detailed analysis. These points must substantiate your position. Don't ramble on just present the three supporting points and allow the team to consider their merits.

During your conversation pause frequently to avoid stringing to many words together. Project your voice clearly, consider the volume you need for the furthermost person to hear your message.

Avoid multiple qualifiers that weaken your message, as this needlessly shows you have lingering doubts about the validity of your message.

When you need to persuade your employees, limit your speaking to a quarter of the time and allow the person receiving the message to speak the rest of the time. This allows the person to air their views, it also forces you to choose your words carefully.

If you end with opposing views, take care to not blatantly contradict your employee, perhaps rephrase your position and take another tack - "Consider looking at it from this angle"

By taking the time to carefully plan our messages to our team and adopting a clear manner, our teams will be know what we need of them. How do you prepare for discussions with your team? Do you use any of these pointers to plan out your discussions?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Improving your Political Intelligence

As leaders we need to be very aware of the political road we travel. Many naive leaders assume if they work hard and are honest then people will understand and respect the leader and his team.

Leaders need to know who may oppose them and who will support them, it is very important to know as we set off on a new mission or project. Effective leaders will keep their ear to the ground and consider who will line up in which camp.

As we announce a new project we must have considered if anyones' territory may feel threatened, and who will see the project as an aid to their domain. When we declare the project we are bound to attract some supporters and some detractors.

The success of our project and how the rest or the surrounding team's view the project and its' results will be heavily influenced by people on both sides of the camp.

Take care to identify any detractors and counter their negativity with a raising of awareness of the positive outcomes for the project, be sure to have a ready supply of reasons to support your project. when thinking through this opposition take a few moments to consider the angle the detractor will take and reason through a counter , for how this project is not stealing their thunder or their position but is beneficial for everyone in the organisation.

By identifying and taking action to counter any negative aspects as seen by our peers we will strengthen our position and improve our overall leadership.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Motivate Smarter - not Harder!

One of the continuous tasks of all good leaders is to motivate the team, keep them moving in the right direction. The leader needs to take care to maintain a constant effort in effective motivation, so look to motivate smarter not harder!

As the leader it's not always possible to motivate every team member once our team gets bigger than a dozen or so. In this situation the smart way to make your motivation work is to look at the popular folks and keep them well motivated as they will in turn motivate those who look to them.

Try this, size up your team and choose the 10-20% who have the most influence across your team, maybe the guy who organises the social functions, another maybe the receptionist who chats to everyone as the come in and out, look to the union rep and so on. If this 10% of the team pass the message to another 6-7 people then the message is gaining access across the team to reach a critical mass position, in that most people have heard the story/reason/resolution of why things are happening as they are.

Once you have identified these people you need to target your motivation towards these guys, as they will pass on the important points to their friends and colleagues keeping the whole team motivated and moving towards the team goals.

Develop a routine to closely interact with your selected personnel passing on your motivation pitch. A little more effort on these 10% will reap rewards from the greater team.

By following this simple strategy you will have more precious time and your team will be helping to maintain their own position. Give it a try I'm sure you'll find you get better results for your team with this small step to improve your leadership skills.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Plan to succeed with the new year

With the new year just ushered in, it's time to take stock and plan out how we want the new year to pan out.

While we may see some doom and gloom around the globe, we should also look for the positives to help drive us forward. By focussing on the positives we can get in the right frame of mind to tackle our own plan for this year.

We all hear about people who make their New-Year vow - get fit, spend more time with the family and so on. lots of these plans are quickly forgotten and we bumble our way through another year. However this is precisely the time for us to sit back and make a rational plan about how to tackle the new year, what we want to achieve and when we want to get to each milestone along the way. we have spoken at length several times about taking the team's goals and breaking them down into manageable pieces. The next step was to pace some time limits onto to each task so we cannot continue to ignore a call to action and finally getting on and making each small step count towards the achievement of the years' goal.

It is important this week to take some time and set out the years goals, so we can start persuading our team-members to align and work towards these common goals. get the goals written down, develop your rational for each. you don't want to waste the whole January waiting for some guidance on where to be by the end of the year else you may have almost lost a tenth of your time to get on your way to achieving them.