Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for January, 2010

Frustrated? Sticking to the business impact will maximize results.

Finding yourself frustrated with an employee, co-worker, or manager?

Perhaps an employee has gone over your head to communicate a concern, without addressing you directly. Or maybe a co-worker isn’t contributing fairly to a team project, and the extra work is falling directly on you.

If you decide to address a concern directly with an employee, co-worker, or manager, and your aim is to generate positive change, stick to the impact their behavior may have on business (i.e., meeting organizational standards, productivity, working effectively as a team, efficiencies). Avoid discussing the impact it may have on your personal stress, workload, or status.

Focusing on how the issue impacts you personally, weakens your position as a team member, and/or a leader.

If you find yourself struggling to find the business case behind your concerns, you may want to re-evaluate whether it’s worth addressing.

In order to maximize results, any issue or problem you bring to the table at work should come with a clear recommendation, and that recommendation should have a strong business case behind it, including your specific plan and willingness to personally contribute to the solution.

Strong leaders need to be OK with not being the sole expert, and asking for help.

One of my colleagues and I were having a conversation recently about how often leaders may not individually possess the skills and abilities that are crucial to successfully lead an organization. We agreed that the strongest leaders are those who know where they excel, and where they need help—and aren’t afraid to ask for needed support.

It’s not important that an individual leader possess every skill, or have every level of experience necessary to successfully lead or manage an organization. It is, however, crucial that a leader is comfortable identifying, orchestrating, facilitating and managing talent. And he or she must be OK with not being the sole expert.

Acknowledging where you might appreciate support from your staff or colleagues demonstrates a strength, not a weakness. If one of your staff members is awesome when it comes to organizing large amounts of data, and you find it daunting, engage him or her to help. If you’re stumped as to a sensible change strategy, engage a few key players to offer specific recommendations. Then use the ideas as a springboard for your own planning process.

As a leader, you may be bound to considering the input of others, however you’re not bound to using each and every idea. Be sure to set clear expectations and position your outreach as gathering data or exploring a strategy that will help you make a prompt and effective decision.

So the next time you feel stumped or you’re experiencing a block of some kind, remember that your ability to ask for help may have an extraordinary impact on your organization’s success.