By: Keith Perl, President
What is a leader? There are many definitions of a leader.
One such definition as defined by Webster’s dictionary: "A horse placed in front of the other horses of a team."
For the fisherman out there, a leader is: "Something that leads, as a short line for attaching the end of a fishing line to a lure or hook."
In the context of this commentary a leader is: "A person that leads: as a: GUIDE b: COMMANDER c: CONDUCTOR d: a person in charge or in control: BOSS, CHIEF."
This could be a leader of a company, a leader of a household, the General Manager of a golf course, the Superintendent, the Assistant, or an employee who leads the bunker crew. I think you get the picture.
The following seven tips could be for anyone, whether in your employment, or in your household:
- SET CLEAR OBJECTIVES – This is the foundation to success. Analyze your goals and objectives of the task at hand. Take some time here and really identify what you want to accomplish. Be clear with those that you are leading as to what the end product or result will be. This will require you to identify and write down specific steps that are expected and write down what the expected “end result” will be.
- FOLLOW UP – You do not want to “medal in” or interrupt the process that has been set in place by those that you are leading. You have given clear objectives of the end result that you desire to achieve. Allow your people to take ownership of the process, but follow up to ensure that they are on the right track.
- FOSTER TRUST – This is a very important step to success. When one is trusted they tend to perform better. This is a two-way street. Both you and those that you lead need to trust each other. This is fostered through good communication among both parties.
- DON’T TRY TO FIX EVERYTHING – Everyone has their way of doing things. It may not be your way, but allow them to follow through with their ideas to obtain the end result. You may even learn a different and, perhaps, more efficient way to accomplish something. This is critical to fostering trust.
- DON’T TELL, ASK QUESTIONS – When telling someone to do something a particular way, you are in essence talking down to them. Instead of telling, ask empowering questions. These questions typically start with what, when, where, and why. They are not questions that lead to a “yes or no” answer. This will empower your people to think more deeply about the process and the expected end result. This will foster better communication and, again, trust.
- BE PATIENT – The old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies here. There are certainly times in your professional development that you made some mistakes. Someone allowed you to learn through this process. Your experience would undoubtedly allow you to reach the goal faster, but this is not inspiring a new leader. Allow them to find their way, and have patience in letting the process unfold. This will also foster trust and help that person become a better leader.
- BE ADAPTABLE – Remember that there are many ways to “skin a cat”. This is important to allow the process to develop. Let those that you are leading find their way and realize that your way is not the only way. Being adaptable will allow you and those you lead to grow as a leaders.
Following the steps outlined above will lead to a more competent staff. As those that you are leading adopt and get used to these seven steps, it will trickle down through your organization and you will find your entire operation will grow more efficient, andyou’ll foster more trust, making everyone more productive. With time, you can expect this will lead to more employee satisfaction and better employee retention. In addition, you’ll find you are creating a less stressful environment to work in, which in turn will help you enjoy your responsibilities more thoroughly.