The Self-Awareness Guy

inspirational leadership

Leadership 101 – How to Delegate More Effectively

Leadership 101 – How to Delegate More Effectively


Do you know what your employees do best and do you let them do it? One of best ways that managers can make their lives easier is by delegating effectively. When you delegate well you encourage your employees to make decisions for themselves, let go of having to control everything, identify employee strengths, allow employees to make mistakes and make yourself available if needed. It helps you live a happier life because you don’t have to take on unrealistic amounts of work or always worry about what everyone is doing.

A practical definition of delegating is to let people do their jobs without getting in their way. This is a challenging concept for managers who are used to doing everything themselves or being involved in every aspect of their organization’s operations. It requires a move from constantly directing people to letting them generate results on their own. Many well-meaning and highly competent leaders don’t realize that they can get better results and relax more often by letting go of the reins a little bit.

Becoming an expert delegator begins with understanding your personal management style. Once you know what your style is you can add new skills to become an even better manager. On one end of the spectrum is the passive manager: They avoid conflict, don’t communicate out loud with people, don’t interact with employees very much, keep to themselves, let people do whatever they want and try to ignore difficult situations. They tend to be good listeners and think before they act. On the opposite end of the spectrum are controlling managers who have to be involved in everything. They always let you know where they stand, bark orders, watch your every move, micromanage your work and let you know who’s boss. They can be decisive leaders and communicate regularly.

There’s nothing wrong with either style but each has predictable results. The passive manager tends to create a workplace that lacks direction and guidance because there isn’t someone present to let people know what’s expected. The controlling manager promotes an environment of structure and order but may not give people the freedom to demonstrate their talents or do the work on their own. What savvy managers have found is that there is a happy medium where you can keep your organization running well and encourage employees growth; the actively delegating manager.

The actively delegating manager understands that it is her job to help her people grow. She invests the time to understand the skills that each of her employees brings to the organization and uses them to improve the functioning of the agency. She assigns work based on people’s interests and then lets them run with it. She doesn’t have an overwhelming need to control everything or do things herself. She knows when her employees need help and when they are fine because they aren’t afraid to talk with her. Managers of this type don’t avoid their employees or monitor their every move. They are fun to work for because employees feel valued and supported. They tend to be balanced and easy to get along with because they aren’t stressed out trying to avoid people or always be in their business.

You can delegate more effectively, reduce your workload and let your employees shine starting today. Begin by identifying your employees’ strengths and assigning work based on what they are interested in doing. Feel free to give them some of your work as long as it is well suited to their skills and abilities. People tend to be more motivated if they are working on assignments they enjoy doing. Once you assign the work, walk away. Your job is done and you can focus on things other than hovering. Make yourself available should someone have a question or need some help. Trust that people will do a good job just as you would.

As you practice your new delegating skills, remember how it feels to work for someone who recognizes and uses your talents, lets you do your job and is there if you need her. Delegating doesn’t mean giving up responsibility it is simply letting your people perform well so they make themselves and you look good. When you allow your employees to excel based on their talents you create a harmonious workplace where people feel valued and are far more likely to be productive.

Cheers,

Guy


Leadership and Encouraging Employee Critical Thinking

Leadership and Encouraging Employee Critical Thinking


Many leaders are in a position where they tell employees what to do and that's the end of the thinking process. A less-explored approach involves critical thinking, which is where you give employees the opportunity to arrive at their own insights rather than being dependent on you. Here are some ideas on how
to practice both leadership approaches, with and without critical thinking:

How to Practice Leadership without Thinking

  1. Tell people what to do.
  2. Supervise them constantly.
  3. Micromanage them.
  4. Dole out information only in small amounts.
  5. Give a lot of orders.
  6. Take the lead on everything.
  7. Ask for employees' input but always go with your ideas.
  8. Remind people that you make all the decisions.
  9. Criticize instead of praise.
  10. Marvel at what a wonderful leader you are.

How to Practice Leadership that Encourages Critical Thinking

  1. Encourage your employees to decide where to start working on any given project.
  2. Assume people are smart enough to do it.
  3. Let them know you're available if they have any questions or need any resources.
  4. Encourage them to come up with their own approach to completing the project.
  5. Allow people to share their insights about how the project went and make adjustments.

Inspirational leadership is about allowing people to think creatively and autonomously rather than being dependent on you. Employees who think for themselves are better prepared to deal with workplace challenges and contribute to building a healthy workplace. What will you do to encourage more critical thinking in your organization?

Cheers,
Guy

8 Ways Self-Awareness Helps Leaders Inspire and Motivate

8 Ways Self-Awareness Helps Leaders Inspire and Motivate

Most leaders have a grasp on how to give orders but much less of an idea of how to inspire and motivate beyond setting a positive example or giving enthusiastic speeches. The missing element is self-awareness, as in the leader's knowledge of himself (or herself) and how he affects himself and others. Here are some examples of how self-awareness builds leadership excellence:

  • Self-awareness helps leaders manage  their own thoughts, emotions and behaviors so that they don't transfer or project them onto employees.
  • Self-awareness helps leaders behave consciously and proactively instead of reacting based on their unresolved inner hurts or ego.
  • Self-awareness helps leaders get out of the way and let their employees shine.
  • Self-awareness helps leaders feel more balanced.
  • Self-awareness helps leaders build happier workplaces.
  • Self-awareness helps leaders get rid of behaviors that don't work and replace them with positive ones.
  • Self-awareness helps leaders evaluate their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Self-awareness helps leaders welcome change and ambiguity.

Inspirational and motivational leaders understand that they have to be healthy in order to help their employees thrive. What would you add to this list?

Cheers,

Guy

10 Ways to Stop Bossing People around at Work

10 Ways to Stop Bossing People around at Work

I train leaders and organizations to encourage leadership that moves beyond bossing people around. The standard model of leadership is putting someone in charge who rules above everyone and issues directives.  Our leaders tend to be people who mean well, do a lot of stuff and constantly tell people what to do.  Add to that, high levels of energy and activity which is supposed to “motivate” employees.  This leadership approach creates workplaces where employees wait for the next directive, seldom growing, rarely motivated and barely engaged.

So what can you do to promote more inspirational leadership and move beyond directing?  Here are some practical ideas to help you get started:

1. Talk with your employees, ask them what they like doing and let them do it without your "help."

2. Create jobs that use people’s interests and talents.

3. Praise your employees regularly for their great work.

4. Allow people to set their own goals and determine how they will achieve them and by when.

5. Listen to your employees instead of talking over them.

6. Trust that your employees can do their jobs and think independently without your supervision.

7. Be available to provide support only if your employees ask you to do so.

8. Start encouraging your employees to act independently instead of bossing them around.

9. Provide opportunities for your employees to grow such as education or trying new things on the job.

10. Move away from a strict hierarchy of bosses and employees and shift to a more collegial atmosphere.

Try these key ideas for a period of time until they become second nature.  You'll create a workplace where you don't have to direct as much because your employees will be doing more work of their own accord.  You’ll benefit from a happier workplace, free from the pressures of constantly micromanaging and directing.  You'll also enjoy being able to do more by bossing less and you're employees will be grateful that you treat them like adults.  What will you do to boss less and lead more?

Cheers,
Guy

Does Your Leadership Inspire or Perspire?

Does Your Leadership Inspire or Perspire?

I train many leaders and we often talk about working proactively rather than reactively. Somewhere along the way, someone convinced leaders that they have to always be running around reacting to people and events in order to make their organizations thrive. While I agree that success requires constant and deliberate action, many people squander much of their day on busy work that they don’t really need to do or that they could delegate in some way.

Those who perspire spend their day running from one emergency to the next and putting out fires. They don’t have time to think or plan because they’re too busy reacting to whatever comes their way. Leaders who inspire function more deliberately. They plan beforehand and have procedures in place to deal with emergencies. Last minute chaos is much rarer because they have trained people to expect the unexpected and have policies and procedures to deal with contingencies. This frees up the leader to focus on inspiring her employees. Here are some of the characteristics of an inspirational leader:

  • Helps people be content in their job.
  • Communicates openly and respectfully.
  • Helps people grow.
  • Supports innovative thinking.
  • Shares information openly.
  • Praises employees regularly and consistently.
  • Focuses on employees’ strengths, skills and abilities.
  • Offers opportunities for education and career advancement.
  • Prioritizes and plans his or her own day well.
  • Involves staff in planning.
  • Models positive behavior.
  • Behaves with kindness and empathy.
  • Educates instead of punishes (and only when requested).
  • Gets out of the way.
  • Is open to new ideas.
  • Delegates well and frequently.
  • Smiles.

Think about yourself and whether you practice the ideas above. Enlightened leaders practice these behaviors the majority of their work day, 90% of the time or more. Those who become adept at behaving this way are able to inspire their staff.

Being an inspirational leader doesn’t mean you have to change your personality, it just requires thinking about how you behave and how it affects others. Once you become skilled at practicing the ideas we’ve talked about here, you’ll find that you inspire staff to do more and to grow because you believe in them and encourage them to do their best. What will you do to inspire more and perspire less?

Cheers,
Guy