Saturday, April 24, 2010

Use a mentor to improve your Decision making

As team leaders we need to make decisions everyday. These decisions are usually pretty straight forward and of a tactical or short-term nature. The main focus of these decisions is to keep the team active in their pursuit of the team goals.

Consider when it's time to make some decisions that affect the long term direction of the team and its' goals. This is when you need to adopt a different approach so that the decision is the best one you can make.

Try this simple strategy to improve your decision making.

Firstly take  a good look at the choices and map out the following:

Create three choices based on the information you can find about the problem you're facing.
Consider the short-term , medium term and long-term future based on the information you have for each of your options.
Consider the impact to the team for each of the options, this needs to include, their capabilities, their change management requirements, level of skills, capacity to take on the tasks, time to move to the new system etc.
Consider the financial impact to the team and any individuals the options may present.
What is the likely time-frame to adopt each option?

Armed with this exploratory information  it's time to seek out your mentor. Arrange a coffee, lunch or a convenient time to meet.

Outline the proposal to your mentor and detail the options you have considered. Ask them for their opinion on the option with the best chance of success. Listen carefully the chances are because they are not as intimate with the problem and its options they will come up with the new considerations or even a totally new option.

The value of using your mentor to help with these type of decisions is that, you'll get a more even and balanced approach to the strategic direction you move your team.

As the leaders of our team it can be exciting to move in new directions and when we carefully weigh the options we can move to a higher level of production and improve the performance of our teams. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Improving your skills as a leader

If you've followed my journey you will see the year is well and truly on the way with our first priorities to get our team sorted out with their goals and development. This shouldn't stop now, if things are going to plan we should spend a some time doing a quick SWAT and determining what is it that I as the leader of this team need to do to develop and improve my leadership skills.

I try to set myself a goal each quarter to read one good book about leadership. If you concentrate on the content and look for ways it could apply to your workplace and your team, there are always tricks and tips you can see to apply yourself and improve some aspect of your leadership. I've read a couple of John Maxwell books and always come away with some ideas to apply to my team.

This book is not too long yet still filled with some solid content. I found when I read the book some ideas jumped straight out at me, yet I was very surprised that later on when I reflected on some things that had not gone particularly well, some words of wisdom came back to me for consideration on how I might handle the situation better next time.

Sometimes we are so caught up in doing what we need to do on a daily basis we stop making the time to develop some aspect of ourself that we can apply into the future.

It is very important we as the leaders of the team ensure that not only is the team blossoming  but also that we are moving to a better state within our own capabilities and skills. As we move forward with our team we all benefit and our team is better postioned to an even greater job into the future.