How to kick your butt into gear every day
Being a good leader means making the right choices today. To be effective you need to:
- act calmly and responsibly in almost all situations;
- be on time for meetings;
- hold people accountable for their work;
- take aside the over-reacting member of your team and figure out what is wrong, even when you don’t have time;
- keep your superiors and/or customers informed;
- explain in clear and creative ways to make sure you are understood;
- handle critique with grace;
- be cheerful and supportive of your staff;
- make sure your meetings have agendas and don’t suck;
- add meaning to the work your team does;
- delegate the right work to the right people at the right time;
- show often that you care about each person you lead; and
- set an example of how you want your staff to behave.
By virtue of your position, you have more choice in how you spend your time at work than your subordinates do. Also, generally speaking, people must do what you say. This freedom to choose your actions and direct other people can easily be wasted. Most of the things on the list above fall in the “important but not urgent” category, meaning you can choose to do them today or not and, if you don’t, there will not be any immediate consequence.
What helps me is thinking about how my choices today will make me feel tomorrow, and the day after that, and the one after that. Want to blow off some steam on one of your staff for missing a deadline? Okay, that’s fine, but remember what it’s going to feel like tomorrow when they look at you differently and don’t want to talk to you. You want to get drunk and dance on the table at your staff party? Cool, but remember how it’s going to feel tomorrow when you walk into the office. You want to get your staff doing all the work while you slip away for a two-hour coffee? Fun, but remember how it will feel when you see them staying late to complete the work you could have pitched in on. Want to procrastinate about telling your boss or key customer about the emerging problem? Understandable, but it is really going to suck when she finds out another way.
I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror each morning and be able to say that I did my best the day before. That means making the right choices today.
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