Saturday, April 30, 2011

The three Critical D steps to improve your leadership

We often hear a lot about leadership and how to learn or improve on how we lead our teams to top performance. While much of this is way to technical for most of us, I like to simplify this to the three critical D steps to improve and maintain your leadership skills.

 What are my three critical D steps?

Determination, and

To know where we want to go we must have the Destination in mind. It's important for us to visualise what the end goal looks like, is it one of efficiency, is it a task that's complete, is it a certain level of customer satisfaction. What the destination is will help shape how we will achieve it. But before we solve the challenge of getting there we must have a very clear picture of what our team's destination is.

Like most serious goals we set our teams, the challenge will be tough and its our Determination to keep at it, to find a better way, to look for better outcomes that shapes how we get to our destination. Without determination we will faulty along the way and team will fall behind. We must maintain our determination and keep our team focused so we can achieve our goals.

The final D is for Diligence and an area many of us struggle with. The temptation when a task is 90% done is for us to begin to celebrate and move on. Good leaders of great teams know that they must be diligent and take care that the last 10% of the task is finished to ensure the completeness of the task.  However our diligence also applies to looking at how we completed our tasks and searching for ways to improve so that next time we repeat this task its done faster or to a higher level of quality.

So basically that's my three D's to help us stay focused and improve our team performance. The application of understanding our destination, the determination to work through any issues and complete the task and then finally our diligence to search for the small details and make sure they are done to the best our team can.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lead your team in the tough times

Part of leading your team is to know how you team is going with their tasks. Are they on track or could they be falling behind. Do you need to step in to help, or provide some other support so the task can be done on time.

One of the important aspects of assigning work to your team is to ensure that the team members understand they must report their progress. The frequency of the reports needs to be set by you and must be a short enough period of time so that should a task be falling behind you have sufficient time to take some corrective action to get the task back on track so you team isn't impacted.

During your team member's report it is important that you ask qualifying questions to ensure that you can accurately determine if all assigned work is on-track for a successful completion. Where to start?, ask for a progress status, maybe view the work that's been done to date?  The proof will depend on your industry and the assigned work. Often it helps to ask how long they expect it will take to complete the rest of the job.

Listen carefully to the response. If you are in doubt take care to ask plenty of questions so you can make a determination of the state of the work. Ask what assistance your worker needs to get over the line. If there is any doubt then it's time for you to step in and help the job done.

Once the job is back on track and eventually finished, it is important to do a review and work out why it got to such a critical stage. As the leaders of our teams there is always something to learn about our team and getting the best result for our team we can.