There are countless books and resources on leadership, the startling amount of leadership help and management books tells me something: leading people is difficult and we still don’t have it figured out yet. You will not find all of the secrets to leadership in this article, but what I do hope you find are two simple and practical tips that can help you today in your leading.
1) Have a well-defined job analysis. A job analysis differs from a job description in that goes into much more detail about the expectations of the job. It includes:
- The business outcomes the position will produce. This could be productivity outcomes, sales outcomes, customer service metric outcomes, financial outcomes, etc. Make it clear exactly what the job does to help the organization reach its goals.
- Job tasks. What tasks will the person in this job do on a daily basis to accomplish these outcomes? How much time will be spent on those tasks? Understanding these tasks can help you in your recruiting, interviewing, and training practices.
- The skills needed to do the tasks. I hear a lot of people say, “hire for attitude because skills can be trained”; while I do believe in the sentiment of this statement, it’s important that the person has the capacity to actually learn the skills you desire to train.
- Behaviors that will help the person be successful. Is it taking initiative? Doing repetitive tasks over and over? Maybe professionalism? Think through what the expected behaviors are that support the tasks being done.
- Traits. Honesty, humility, confidence, continuous learner…all of these things influence how this person will perform, take feedback, and work with others.
- Compensation/benefits package. Communicate exactly what the person will get for performing this role well.
- Training, development, and evaluation processes. Clearly understand what needs to be trained, how it will be trained, how development will occur, and how this position will be evaluated. Show them their pathway to success.
2) Offer hope and create opportunities for your team. When you lead people, they are going to let you down and you are going to let them down; it’s just the reality of the world we live in. I do not say that to be pessimistic, but to be realistic. Your job as a leader is to provide hope, personally and professionally, to inspire your team towards their goals, and the goals of the organization. When they fall short, teach them, guide them, and help them learn. If they are unwilling, or incapable, of doing such, then you may need to cut them loose. To do this, let me ask you a few questions:
- What two people that report to you do you know the least? Why? When can you spend time with them to get to know them?
- Do you know what these two people are most excited about in their life? Do you know what is currently causing them stress? Do you know what they most look forward to on their drive to work? Do you know what they hate most about their job?
- Have you spent time talking about the mission and purpose of the organization with them? Do they really understand it and are they seeing it lived out in your life every single day? Maybe they’re not living it out because you’re not setting the example.
So there it is, two simple tips that you can apply right now, before Christmas, to strengthen the influence you have as a leader. Always feel free to leave comments and thoughts, as well as questions or other perspectives. I am a student on this journey of leading as well, and look forward to a life of learning how to lead myself, my family, and my team better.