Secret #1: Treat People Right
Successful leaders work to earn the respect of the people who report to them and of the people with whom they interact. This means employees, co-workers, customers and suppliers. The attitude employees develop towards their bosses is based upon the qualities and actions of the person in charge. Employee attitudes are critical to the leader’s success as well as productivity in the work place. The top secret is to treat all people with dignity and regard them as individuals. Really, just treat others like you want to be treated to paraphrase the Greatest Teacher, who gave us the “Golden Rule.”
Secret #2: Define Expectations for Each Employee
Every employee has a need and a right to know what their boss expects. Managers have a responsibility to define and communicate expectations for each employee. Failure to do so leads to frustration and poor performance.
The essential expectations for each employee are the five or six key requirements that must be met for a person to be successful on their job. This is not a job description of detailed tasks, but rather the major requirements for success on the job. Simply take out a sheet of paper and write each employee’s name in one column and then write in your expectations. Next, the hard part: communicate them one on one with the employee.
Secret #3: Have a Clear Vision for the Organization and Articulate It
Vision is simply looking ahead and seeing the things others don’t see; and providing a long term sense of direction for the organization. Spend time to look beyond today. Look ahead five or ten years and make your best estimate of what needs to happen in your business to continue being successful. Setting the vision and clearly communicating it to the organization is one of the two most important functions of leadership. (The other one is establishing and communicating the values.)
Vision sets the overall direction for the organization and gives the people something to “hitch their wagon to” and should be relevant and practical, yet challenging for the organization to really embrace it.
Secret #4: Delegate Effectively
Delegation ismaking effective work assignments based on the competencies of your people. Many managers today are overloaded with work and yet fail to realize the importance of effective delegation, however the successful ones know what can and should be delegated, make the assignments and leave their people alone to get the job done. Ineffective ones will take care of many tasks themselves, stay busy and fail to fulfill their role as a manager.
Many times those in charge just give direction without getting input or checking for understanding. When delegating a task it is essential to know that the employee understands what is to be done. It is difficult to delegate a job, because with delegation comes the right to make a mistake and the person in charge is still responsible for all that happens in his or her work group. Yet, it is impossible to be a very effective in leading a work group when one is trying to do all the work themselves.
Secret #5: Pay Attention to Details
The details we’re talking about are little things that make the difference between success and failure.
The effective leader is careful to take care of the details, especially where employees and/or customers are concerned. Managers must be involved in the details, especially on the big projects. It is a myth that the people in charge can avoid getting involved in the details of the work to be done. The challenge is to avoid getting so deeply involved in details that you bother your people or fail to manage the overall operation or organization.
The big issues in the work place will be resolved, it’s the little things that are harder to focus on every day. Remember, when you’ve got a little rock in your shoe, nothing’s right!