Elevating your leadership | If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

One conversation at a time, no side chatter & respect the calendar

Communication is an essential pillar in building successful teams, but at times, it needs to be managed. While in meetings it is essential for everyone to be on the same page and focused on the topic at hand. People must be both physically and mentally present and engaged into what the team is working on. This is something that I was reminded of by Michael Hyatt in one of his latest videos where he shared someone’s dinner rule: one conversation at a time.

You can watch the episode I reference here [specific part begins at 11:52]

Second important aspect of management and leadership to be aware of is to respect the calendar, respect the schedule. I have disregarded this rule myself on few occasions, but it is important to be respectful of the time you were provided by other people and don’t take more than what you have agreed on. Stick to the calendar and schedule and enable others to get back to the rest of their plans, projects and responsibilities on time.

Excuses don’t matter, your work does

Excuses are frequently irrelevant, cheap and everyone has at least a few.
While it is important to learn from previous decisions and actions, it is equally as important not to spend too much time stuck in the past. Learn from the past, assess your current state, communicate present outcomes, but spend all of your time, effort and energy on moving forward, focusing on solutions and success.

And remember, there’s a reason why the past is left behind.

Don’t delay the change

When the time is here to make progress, don’t delay the change. If something needs improvement, do it now and don’t delay the unavoidable.

Do your due diligence, conduct detailed yet all encompassing research, communicate with your team members and once you have reached a conclusion, act on it.

No bad apples allowed

One bad apple can spoil the rest so please remove them from the basket.
As a leader you must establish, promote and support an inviting, comfortable and respectful working environment and as such you can’t allow any single individual to jeopardize your workplace. No matter how good and valuable they may be from a functional perspective if they can’t cooperate and collaborate professionally it is your leadership responsibility to step in and have it addressed.

Fortunately, in most environments, these types of issues are rare and far apart, but should they occur their impact can’t be underestimated and they must be resolved immediately.

Say yes to opportunity

Opportunities are frequently unexpected and very commonly show up unannounced. How we react to them is what makes the ultimate difference in how valuable they become to us. I have already emphasized the importance of embracing opportunities and have shared a few examples last year which support the fact that opportunities and new clients don’t come announced which was, once again, confirmed today.

Seize opportunities, grab hold of them with both hands and don’t let them go until you have exhausted all possibilities.

You can read Richard Branson’s story I mention in the video here: “Say yes, then learn how to do it later”

Don’t chase perfection, chase progress

Perfection is elusive and frequently unattainable. This is why it is important to focus on making daily incremental advancements towards the ultimate goal. Rome wasn’t built over night and neither will most of your projects or strategic and operational services.

Collaborate, communicate and work together with your colleagues to advance your current state into what you all believe it can and should be. One step at a time, one day at a time towards reaching your strategic goals.

Information security is everyone’s responsibility

Security of data and information across organizations is everyone’s responsibility. While content management, security, access and backup is generally led by Information technology (IT), they shouldn’t not be the only team involved in managing and securing data across organizations. Proper security training should be an integral part of the hiring process; should be communicated during student orientations and most importantly should be continuously refreshed across organizations.

Partner with IT on making resources available to you and your teams in order to minimize risk of PII (personally identifiable information) disclosure.

Be the change you want to see

Be the change you want to see in your workplace. Or, more globally, as Mahatma Gandhi said:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Don’t wait for permission to be positive, to think differently and be creative. Don’t wait for appointment or a decree to be innovative and to approach problems with focus on solutions and opportunities. Also, during this process do what you can to inspire, motivate and recruit others to join you on this journey of improvements, advancements and providing value to all.

Support people’s dreams

Leaders support and empower others, they don’t bring them down. This also applies when people are leaving your team and moving onto new opportunities and at times even completely different careers. Good people and good employees should always be supported, even when their immediate departure will impose certain limitations and challenges to your operations.

Help them during the transition phase and work with them to help you and the rest of your team as they prepare their exit. Don’t limit their opportunities and growth and do not make their last days within your organization anything other than supportive.

Finally, don’t forget, you may work together again.

Hire your boss!

Hire your boss! While that statement without context is contradictory it does deserve your attention as you advance in your career. While vision, responsibilities, advancement opportunities, position, strategic plans, staffing, benefits and salary are all important, the single most important factor impacting and influencing your future success (besides your own work ethic, commitment and quality) is your boss.

Having said that, I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing people throughout my career and I do consider myself lucky in that respect. However, while luck is important, strategic approach brings even more value. Do your due diligence and interview your prospective employer as they are interviewing you. There are many ways to do this, from questions to ask to focusing on their character, personality and leadership style. The choice on how to do this is yours, but don’t underestimate the importance of doing so next time you interview.