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Where are you: on the mountaintop or in the weeds?

Moving to a management/supervisory job from a front-line position is a huge step. It’s hard to stay on the mountaintop and out of the weeds. Holding staff accountable for good customer service and operational issues can be tough, and sometimes you will be tempted to walk down the mountain and take over. However, by doing this you will rob your staff of the chance to learn and grow.

Your job, as a supervisor/manager, is to believe in your staff. Your patient support and encouragement will pay off as you empower your staff to do their best.

From the mountaintop you have a great vantage point – set your sights high!

“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.”
-Brian Adams

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Cognitive and empathic responses

Leadership requires moving between both cognitive and empathic responses. Think about things deeply and make decisions. Your staff also need to feel your emotions if you want them to follow you.

Did you know 80% of patients with diabetes don’t follow doctor’s instructions? So who does? Those who feel the doctors believe in them to do the right thing. They need to feel connected to the doctor.

How does your staff know that you believe in them? Have you talked to them lately and given them heartfelt support?

Some leaders say that they just leave their staff alone so that they can grow and develop. This is a cop out. Staff at all stages of development needs your connection to them. Set the vision and keep up the connection. Share what’s in both your heart and mind and watch your team blossom.

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Leaders need to percolate with new ideas… it’s worth it.

Often, leaders have great new ideas. They attend conferences, network and read and sometimes get very excited about implementing these ideas in their organization.  They bring these ideas to their team and wonder “why are they not as excited as I am about this new idea?” Why does there seem to be such resistance? This is so confusing for the leader who really believes this is the right thing to do.

Has this leader achieved any buy-in from the team?  Or does the group feel like this new idea is another in a long list of commands from the boss? It was just a suggestion but because you are the boss, some feel they have no option but to do what you are suggesting. These same people will get behind the leader if you take the time for an important process called “buy in”.  So how about just planting the seed?

Mention you heard about a new idea that might really help your organization. Ask for some of your staff to learn about the idea and then bring their thoughts to the next meeting. Be patient while they learn and maybe get excited themselves. Be open to their feedback. Maybe they will love the idea or have some different ideas.

Let others share your passion. Collaborative leadership builds strong teams. Are you up to giving this a try?

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Getting ‘push back’ from the team

A senior director had been getting some “push back “ to his new ideas from his team.

Before the meeting with them he said to me, “Ok now I have to go into a tough meeting with my managers.”

I replied, “If you believe it will be tough I can assure you it will be that exactly.” So I asked him to think about how else he could describe this meeting?

“Ok,” he said, I am going into a collaborative meeting with my managers to see if we can find solutions to difficult challenges.”

After the meeting he called and was very excited. He said, “that shift I made in attitude before the meeting really helped. The idea exchange blew me away and boy did we ever come up with some amazing ideas! I can’t believe how your coaching has helped me to find the answer within.”

As a leader your energy and attitudes impact those around you in very powerful ways. Before a meeting stop and check your assumptions and beliefs. Expect the best and you will get the best. Look at your part in the dynamics. Drop the blame and limiting beliefs. Stay open and see what happens to the group. Try it just once and see what happens. Leaders with positive energy are contagious and their teams excel. Give it a try and let me know what happens!