Being an efficient as well as an effective leader every day is time-consuming and energy-draining. Here are two leadership tips that may make those crazy busy days a little less crazy busy.
Leadership delegation tip
No one likes to be told what to do. However people, your employees, still require direction and support. They also want to be successful in their endeavors. The quandary is how to provide direction and support for your employees to successfully accomplish difficult endeavors without sounding like or acting like an authoritative, uncaring leader.
What would happen if after you delegated a task, especially a more difficult, time-consuming task you would ask the following: “What do you require from me to successfully accomplish this task?”
If the task is especially complex, possibly it could be assigned on a Friday late afternoon and then you could frame the question as: “Think about what I asked you to do over the weekend. Then come back to me first thing Monday and share with me what you require from me to successfully accomplish this task?”
If the employee returns without any requests for your support as a leader, then provide clarity of responsibility to your employee by stating: “Since you have indicated at this time you do not need my support, I expect this task to be completed according to the date we agreed. If something changes, please let me know as I am looking forward to the successful completion of this task by the agreed date.” Now you have place the burden of task completion on the shoulders of your employee. However, you have shown you are willing to support him or her and have not just delegated the task.
Leadership communication tip
Past readers of this column may remember the numerous references to emotional intelligence. Efficient and effective leaders consistently demonstrate this behavior.
The words we think, speak and write have many emotions intertwined within them. These emotions are connected to the sum total of our experiences. Certain words carry negative connotations to implied judgment.
What would happen if you removed just one of those emotionally charged words from your daily communication behaviors? The removal of this word would not only demonstrate emotional intelligence, but potentially not create a negative, subconscious reaction within the other person. Are you curious as to what that word is? The word is “need.”
Think about your own experiences. How often did a parent or someone in authority told you the following “you need to…” Do you remember how you felt? Was there some negative, internal pushback?
The word “need” carries a lot of judgment along with negative emotions. This word alone can limit communication. In many instances, say the word “need” and people immediately tune out.
Of course, replacing the word “need” requires intentional thought on your part as a leader. Instead of saying to the employee “you need to take care of…” a better response would be “would you please consider taking care of…?” Now the person has a choice and the ability to share why taking care of the task can or cannot be done.
Wayne Dyer said “When you change how you look at things, the things you look at will change.” Possibly now is the time to change how you look at your behaviors as a leader and just maybe you will see changes in your employees.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith is an author, speaker and executive coach. Her weekly column explores issues that impact the bottom line of firms with fewer than 100 employees. She can be reached at 219-508-2859.