Are your leadership skills as sharp as they need to be?
When I train companies and corporations worldwide on how to improve management and organization performance, I start off with these five laws new and experienced leaders should never ever forget.
Kevin's Leadership Skills Training Survival Kit for New & Experienced Managers
Leadership Law #1: Never delay a decision that must be made.
Make your decision and move on. You may have to immediately make another decision. This doesn't mean your first one was wrong. It merely means that your second one had the benefit of additional knowledge.
Leadership Law #2: When you want something specific done, say so specifically, using clear, plain language.
Employees generally have some difficulty doing their basic jobs. By adding "mind-reading" to their description is just plain unfair.
Do not use hints, implications, or innuendos. Say what you want, and use plain English! Directness counts.
Leadership Law #3: Never answer every employee's every question.
Questions are teaching moments - don't rob employees of the opportunity. But don't spend your whole time answering questions.
When you always answer every employee's every question, you'll forever be answering your employee's every question. This will leave you with no time to spend on areas that need your direct attention now.
Sounds trite, and I don't mean it to.
If employees are asking because they’re stupid, get rid of them. If they are decent employees asking because they do not know, then teach them. They'll know next time, and you'll both be better for it.
Leadership Law #4: Make your expectations clear, then back up a bit and give employees room to do their job.
That doesn't mean to never look back. To inspect what you expect isn't micromanagement. It's good management.
Even your top performers need clear expectations. Give them a target. Provide resources and guidance. Remove obstacles when necessary. Then let them do their job. But, don't forget to check back later, since you still have management responsibilities.
Leadership Law #5: Employees need their managers to be leaders.
Your employees don't need a shoulder. They don't need a buddy, a simpatico, or a commiserator. If you want a friend, buy a dog.
We all struggle with this. Everyone wants to be liked, and it always seems difficult to decline a beer after work, or something similar. I'm not advocating a monk-like existence, disallowing any contact with your troops. I'm just merely reminding you that they would like to have a friend, but they need a leader if they are to be successful.
You do want them to be successful, don't you?
Closing Thoughts on Leadership Skills
These leadership laws are fairly intuitive, and certainly not rocket science or brain surgery. They are simple management and leadership truths that have passed the test of time.
If you want to keep your leadership skills sharp, print these leadership laws out. Laminate the page. Put in your top desk drawer and don't forget them.