Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Buck Stops with...uh.. it doesn't stop...

At your job or on your team, there are objectives and tasks that need to be done. Who owns it? Who's responsible? Over the years I see the same trends appear: Managers/leaders saying the same things that need to get done or are frustrated that things aren't moving and employees that are amazingly adept at not taking the ball or having side-door excuses why it wasn't their responsibility. How can we be better leaders/managers or better followers/employees?

Leading Down (Managers/Leaders):
  • Objectives and tasks need to be clear with specific deadlines

  • Assign one person accountable for the objective getting done
  • Make it easy to come to you if difficulties (hurdles) come up or there are blockers to the task or objective in getting done- "not wanting to bother you" should never be an excuse
  • Remove hurdles as needed- serve your team member(s)

Frustrate your team by having objectives constantly changing or when tasks and deliverables are completed, they have little or no value to the team/organization. In time, they won't want to grab the balls you're handing off...

Leading Across: (Peer to Peer)

  • Rather than only worrying about your world, be aware of the tasks/objectives your other team members are carrying- if there are ways you can tactfully help, do it
  • Be positive, encouraging, and have a "git er done" attitude- model well... Be an advocate of the company/team goals.. It's easy to be like the masses by whining and complaining

  • Lock arms with those struggling/failing, help as you can.. Celebrate others winning... genuinely want their success... your peers need to know you are "for them"

Annoy your peers by offering unsolicited advice every day....... Lose positive influence by rolling your eyes or ripping your leader/manager behind their back ... Everybody wins when all objectives are met...

Leading Up (to the manager/leader)

  • When objectives aren't clear, help clear them up by asking "How are we going to accomplish this?", "Who's going to run point on this?", "When do we need to have this done by?", "How can we/I help?"- Sometimes this is best one and one without an audience, your leader needs to know you're genuinely trying to help and not undermining

  • Assume you need to be the communicator to the leader/manager, don't wait for them to come to you if you need help or pitfalls are appearing

  • Your leader needs to know you're for them... you want them to succeed...

  • When in doubt, fill in the cracks, be the solution, take responsibility

If objectives are clear and timelines are set, just get it done- Don't ask questions that don't need to be asked or take time from your leader that could have been avoided- trying to be "visible" with a bunch of fluff is only giving you the wrong kind of visibility.

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