Parts 1 and 2 in this series looked at why clarity and communication are so important at getting accountability and better performance throughout your business.
If the ideas covered in Parts 1 and 2 fail, there are a couple of potential standout factors involved. In fact, the issues covered today always need to be part of your thoughts in leading a team.
So much of leadership is knowing yourself and being able to lead yourself in the first place. I work with clients that tell me that they want to be a good leader, but also want to “be the nice guy or gal” and not upset people. I relate to this because I used to be that “leader” too.
“Leader” is in inverted commas because that isn’t leadership, it isn’t even being a good manager. In fact, those hard-arsed, direct, blunt, tough people that no-one likes are actually doing a better job than these so-called leaders.
Leading and knowing yourself starts with a serious self appraisal about how you feel about yourself and how you behave and value who you are and what you do. As corny as it may sound, it begins with a healthy self-love.
Every time we back off from a conversation about performance it is because we care more about our direct report’s feelings than our own. How does that work?
Clearly it doesn’t, and it never will. Ask yourself why you think it’s OK for them to under-perform and you not bring it up? Your inability to discuss this means that you are both under-performing. Who is that good for? Nobody at all!
Some of the answer to this may be toughening up and doing it (see my article on Rule #5 – Harden the f*@k up) and this is partly true, but there is more to it.
Why do you hold back from saying anything? You probably hold back at times in other aspects of your life when someone isn’t doing the right thing by you. People such as your life partner, family, friends and others. Why do we do this?
Fear of not being liked, of not being popular, fear of being wrong are all possible emotions that come into play here and mess with our brains. All of these emotions are real, they just aren’t particularly valid. Speaking up honestly and respectfully about a wrong or unfair situation, whether in your personal or business life is always the right thing to do.
It doesn’t make you unpopular, unlikeable, or unlovable. It is so unusual for someone to handle these situations well that when you do it, it actually breeds respect for you. Is it more important for you to be liked or respected?
In a business situation, many studies have shown that your reports are craving for real, direct and honest feedback about their performance, good or bad. This feedback has been shown to boost productivity to more than 20%. I can assure you that you, your team and the whole business will love and respect you for stepping forward and leaning how to do this well.
So what does it take? I often work with clients about their self-love and sense of purpose. These issues help define our place in the world and their absence from our emotions can create confusion and uncertainty in our lives, both personal and professional.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some good questions to start you on the way. Contact me at email@example.com to find out more.