This week we continue our series on the 15 rules of leadership, originally penned for use by those in the Military over at RangerUp.com (Here), we have taken those rules and translated them for use by business and corporate professionals. What follows are rules 9 through 12, for the previous 4 rules check out last Tuesday's post and be sure to check in this Thursday for the next and final set!
Miss a previous day? Check here:
No matter how successful you've been, or how often you've been right, you should consult your team on major decisions. You don’t need to take their advice, or change your strategy because they disagree but you do need to understand that modern business requires new ideas and to ignore your team is to lose a huge resource. You might be the boss but you’re not necessarily smarter than all the people that work for you. Don’t pretend like you are.
In small teams units there is usually a SME (Subject Matter Expert) for each area. The rest of the team has cursory knowledge of most of the other jobs on the team. When the need arises for each area the SME takes a lead to form the plan. The rest of the team is involved in the process and decisions as well because the team is stronger as a unit. In business much of the same applies to our day to day. The final decision may be yours but if you make that decision alone then you’re not fully informed. More importantly your team knows it and maybe holding the key to your shining moment in their hands. Not all leaders want feedback or help so unless you have made it clear you do don’t expect to get it.
Be hard, be demanding, but never ever give up and certainly not before your own guys and gals. Perception is critically important in business if your team sees you beaten down and looking hopeless they will give up and then you truly are lost, more than that they will give up on you. They should see you as the kind of person who does not quit until the job is done. Not all situations have a favorable solution but don’t be the one screaming the sky is falling when clouds roll in. Sometimes people need to know you have exhausted every possible route before they acknowledge failure. As a leader you cannot be the first one to quit.
A lot of corporate leaders act as if their team is there to serve their every whim, and that is simply not the case. Their world should not revolve around you, but as the leader you should spend a substantial amount of time enabling them to work better, smarter and faster. That is how you can best assist them in reaching the goals you've set for them.
Once you accept the mantle of leadership your job is not just to elevate your position. The baseline is to take care of those entrusted to your care. If you have a bit of sense you will always be looking for ways to improve your situation. When people see you work to get your subordinates promoted or into better positions there will be a line to work for you. Not to mention as your white space grows you have access to other ideas and the support for yours that comes along with it. All of this ignores the base fact that you are helping to improve someone’s life which should be good enough by itself right?
On Wednesday you deliver a pep talk or a pre shift to your team about how “The front-line employees are what matter and they have to come first” then on Thursday an employee asks to leave because her mother just got admitted to the hospital and you tell her that you need the hours so she has to stay. Which of those things sends a stronger message do you think? Your words will reinforce your actions, but they will ring hollow if they contradict each other. How hard do you think that employee will work? Not just the rest of the day but the rest of their time under you? Do you think they will come through for you in the clinch? Never underestimate people’s ability to hold a grudge.
Check in Thursday for our final set of rules!