While everyone is making New Year’s resolutions that they know will never happen, you might be better served by taking specific actions that actually do work. As a leader, there is nothing more important than making sure you are performing at the top of your game as this is essential for driving change in your organization. And no matter how good a leader you are, there is always room for improvement. Let’s not waste a minute as there are only 363 days left in 2019.
Here are 4 skills you can harness to be more effective:
1. Define Your Mission
Most leaders in companies do their jobs in a traditional prescriptive manner, but is that the best way to run a company? I recently had a conversation with the CFO of a very large company whom I felt was stuck. I asked John what his mission is, and not surprisingly he said I’m the CFO. I followed by saying, that’s your title – not your mission. For a fighter pilot, the mission could be to destroy three targets, take photographs of two other sites, return safely to the aircraft carrier and get debriefed. I suggested to John that he think about his mission like a pilot: maintain strong financial controls, ensure there is sufficient cash and liquidity to run the company, ensure strong relationships with investors and the Wall Street community, lead a strategic planning process drive growth and so on. As I could see the wheels turning in John’s head, we then discussed defining a few specific metrics to communicate Too often leaders do not set a clear vision, and in other cases, they set visions that are too optimistic. You can work with your leadership team to frame out a realistic vision for your company, that challenges people, motivates them to innovate and encourages experimentation. Once everyone knows and understands the vision, you’ll have an army of people thinking about new and different ways of operating and some will surprise you with their creativity.
2. Turn Up Your EQ
Research has proven time and time again that emotional quotient (EQ), or emotional intelligence, is essential for effective leadership. Of course, you need to have a high IQ to be an effective leader. But without a strong EQ, a high IQ is necessary but not sufficient to be a great leader. EQ essentially defines how you engage and relate to everyone in your organization, and by extension with your customers, shareholders, supply chain partners and others. It allows all those constituencies to better understand what the goals are, the principles for how best to achieve them, and importantly, to define how everyone should work together and respect each other to achieve great results, for the company. So, get in better touch with your EQ and be more intentional about how you relate and engage with your teams.
3. Amp Up Your Communications
Most leaders under-communicate and assume everyone knows what is going on. That is a big mistake. As an advisor to CEOs, I frequently find that employees tell me they are in the dark and have no idea what the company is doing or where it is going. Be more “present” – get out of your office and talk to people. Ask questions, tell them what you are up to and engage them. Find out from them what concerns them, what they think needs to change and roll up your sleeves. Another way to amp up your communication is to be a “silo-buster.” Create more cross-functional teams that cut across organization structures to get your folks working on company level issues versus individual departmental / silo issues.
4. Be the Motivator in Chief
Your primary job as the leader is to motivate everyone to want to come to work, enjoy their work and their colleagues, feel like there is a future for them, and have the opportunity to advance and make more money. It’s called work for a reason, but that does not mean it cannot be fun and rewarding. I have seen the power of great motivation where managers and employees feel comfortable about recommending changes, being allowed to implement them and making them feel like they really are important to the success of the company, because they actually are.
Leaders, make 2019 your best year ever. Follow these four tips and you will see powerful results. Let’s go – there are only 363 days left.