The 3 T's for Bosses
Being a boss has never been easy, but in the last few years it seems to have gotten even harder. Today, we ask our leaders to be a combination of paradoxes: decisive but thoughtful; change managers but status quo protectors; honest but diplomatic.
Simultaneously, there are more things to do, more systems to monitor and processes to manage that are sometimes spread around the globe. Complicating this new environment further is the pace of these activities, which has picked up dramatically in the past few years - decisions are made faster, change is implemented more quickly, and the duties of leadership continue to evolve every day.
In this kind of fast-moving and complex world, the best thing you can do is concentrate on doing a few basic and important things well. Leaders especially need to demonstrate and retain this kind of focus. Outlined below are the three T’s for leaders – behaviors that will improve the results you are able to accomplish
Touch base - a lot. As a leader, your job is to help guide your team to success and actively support and encourage your team members to accomplish their goals.You can't do a good job championing if you spend most of your time huddled in an office or cubicle. Get out. Go and see your team in action. Observe and ask questions. It's the only way you'll learn what's really happening and identify how you can help improve things.
Talk with your team members. The key word in that sentence is "with." Don't talk to them. Don't talk at them. Talk with them. The difference between these behaviors may seem small, but the output changes drastically. Talking with your team members means having two-way conversations, complete with occasional disagreements that are the result of multiple perspectives. Conversations like these are the building blocks of the relationships with your team members that will make you more effective – and more respected - as a leader, all of which will make your job easier.
Turn issues into coaching opportunities. If you touch base with your team often and have a lot of conversations, you'll undoubtedly uncover a lot of issues affecting them and the way work is accomplished. You may recognize that this team member needs a new challenge and that one might need to change the way he or she works. Perhaps a third person needs a word of encouragement or counsel to better do their job. These are opportunities for you to put on your coaching hat and get to work.
You can't make the world less complex, and you probably won't be able to slow it down despite your best efforts. But by focusing on the three T’s, you can improve your presence and ability as a leader, and achieve more effective results.
Wally Bock writes the Three Star Leadership Blog that helps bosses at all levels do a better job and lead a better life. He's the author of several books and information products, including Performance Talk: the one-on-one part of leadership and the Working Supervisor's Support Kit.