From the Blog:
Two Ways to Grow Leaders in Your Team
What is a leader? A leader is someone that leads others to achieve their goals and the goals of the organization. So how do we develop the leaders?
First we want to make sure we pick the right candidates and sometimes this is a difficult task. We have a tendency to choose leaders from those individuals that are excelling at a particular job. You might say “Well, Holly, that’s pretty logical, why wouldn’t you choose your leaders from your top performers?” …and you would. Typically your high achievers or over achievers are going to be great leaders for your company, the goal is to train them to be the leaders you want them to be.
There are two situations to be aware of:
- Starting All Over!
- Building a Different Type of Relationship!
Starting All Over!
Over-Achievers have met their goals and exceeded them. This means they are at the top of their game in their current position. Now they will be learning something brand new. They may become a manager over the area they excelled in, but that does not mean they know how to manage this area. You must help your new leader understand that it’s “ok”. There are 4 learning stages they will go through before they can resume the over-achiever level:
- They will be excited about their new position and jump in enthusiastically. They will do and push and do and push before they really know what they are “doing and pushing” for! This is known as the enthusiastic beginner.
- The next step is they get pushed down a few times and have a few losses and soon find this game is not as fun and easy as they thought it would be. This is where you are going to lose those individuals that were not trained correctly and were not prepared for the potential of failure. They need to be reassured that it’s ok and they will improve with further mentoring.
- The third step is when they begin to get a little air under their wings and have a few more successes. They are still not quite sure about the situation, but at least they are seeing more wins than losses at this point.
- Lastly – they are back up to speed in their comfort zone as an over achiever. The sooner you help your leaders with these steps, the faster the process will and the bigger the success!
Building a Different Type of Relationship!
If your new leader is leading their once upon a time peers, the transition can be a rough one.
Have your new leader provide to you a status of their current relationships with each staff member. Do not just throw your new leader to the wolves, let’s make sure everyone is prepared. Provide to your new leader the tools to set strategic goals. Have your new leader evaluate each staff member and set three goals for each of his/her staff members prior to beginning the new position. These goals in turn will be used with each staff member in coaching sessions to help the staff members begin to build trust and help the leader gain credibility. This strategy takes away petty gossip and replaces it with solid goals and a trust that the leader will always listen and work with them through coaching sessions.
New leaders need direction and continual coaching until they know what success is. Provide to them the structure to build their own goals. At the same time write down what you believe their goals should be. Have a coaching session with your new leader and come together on the goals and the timelines. Follow through and specific goals along with great coaching sessions are the receipt to success.
The Ingredients of Over-Achievers
My brother and I were talking yesterday. He made a statement to me, he said “Holly, you and I have a hard time comprehending that there are people out there with little-to-no ambition and no matter what you do, or try to do for them, they do not care or want to work as hard as you do to get what they want in life. They will settle for second best – by choice.” He called himself and me – “over-achievers”. We are constantly pushing, constantly looking for the next level in life, and constantly looking at how we can improve others and ourselves.
So in our discriminatory way of analyzing others, without a psychological background of any sort, we have categorized people based upon what we consider success. Now I know we are to say, well, we don’t want to judge others nor do we want to say that we consider our identity and our success based upon how hard we work and where we are in life because of our hard work, but reality is – that’s what we have done.
We know that success comes from three things:
- Hard Work
I put integrity first for a reason. You cannot own your own business or really perform any task in life and succeed without having high standards and an impeccable level of integrity. It is the basis of all we do and all we are. During my prior thirteen years of company ownership I distinctly remember two separate incidences where clients did not pay their bill. Each surprisingly were $5,000 in debt to me (that must have been my level where I felt a sense of loss of integrity.) I never got the money out of either of them. Not surprisingly the one company went out of business and the other is dissolving with a bad reputation. On the other hand – my lesson was to choose your clients wisely and always choose clients with high-levels of integrity and that have the same work ethic as you. Always give to your clients more than they would expect and establish a mutual respect.
I have a number of clients that are impressed at the amount of knowledge I have about them, their employees, and their products or services. This is not by accident, but by design. One of the main ways I stand out from my competition is by doing my homework about my clients. Now you might say, “Well Holly, everyone knows they need to understand their clients”. My answer is “no you don’t understand, I mean hours, days, weeks, months of training and discussions.” When I take on a new client I ask to go through the same product or service training they go through, also to sit with the staff or managers and learn what they do so I in turn can train or consult based upon real knowledge about their needs and their pains. The more I understand their needs, the more effective and the quicker I can get to the root of the issues. Training is not standing in front of people and talking, it’s knowing the need and solving it and following through to ensure it is implemented.
My definition of hard work is taking a project, client, product, whatever it might be and systematically and efficiently break it down and put all of your energy into it until you have accomplished the goal at hand. Now you might not have trouble motivating yourself, but when you ask someone else to pick up part of the project and they don’t follow through, this is where the frustration comes in. You expect a project to be followed through and for the rest of your staff to have as much passion and work ethic as you and you find they in turn do not. They wait for the client to respond, they wait for you to respond, they wait for other team members and never take responsibility to ensure the opportunity flourishes. You hope the employee will take action so you don’t have to run with it on your own – which is the true death of management or owning your own business. Don’t put it back on your plate. If the person you have delegated to doesn’t pick up the ball, find out their motivations, is there something missing?
Which brings me back to my conversation with my brother. My answer to him and other overachievers is to realize what you are passionate about may not be what the next person is passionate about – so evaluate closely who you put on the task or project. If you find they are not the right fit for the job, discover the reasons why. Do not let the client relationship suffer. If you find that you are not the right fit for the job, step back and make an assessment. Evaluate what motivates yourself and others to do the job for your company and for themselves.