LME034 – Tips for first-time managers – Interview with Mike Ashie

Today I have a guest on my podcast: Mike Ashie from Canada. We talk about tips for first-time managers.

Mike Ashie

Mike Ashie has a great channel on YouTube, called Leadership with Mike. Coming from the transportation and hospitality industry he has years of experience being a manager.

If you haven’t watched his videos, check them out on YouTube. He has lots of great tips and as he is saying:

“I help managers to become leaders and I am doing that with no nonsense sense – if that makes sense.”

Becoming a manager can be overwhelming, especially if it comes to delegating tasks and responsibility. Therefore, check out his delegation course here.

Tips for first-time-managers

In the interview with Mike on his tips for first-time managers I asked him the following questions:

  • What is the difference between a manager and a leader?
  • What is most important for leaders in their first manager role?
  • How can they lead with authority, but without beeing a jerk?
  • What should a new leader do in the first 30 days in his or her new job?
  • What are typical misconceptions first-time managers have about their new position?
  • What are the 3 typical mistakes first-time leaders should avoid when starting their new position?

Listen to the podcast here:

 

LME033 – How I Learned to delegate

Delegation

How I learned to delegate!

I co-founded my first company – it was a high-tech start-up – in 1995. That’s more than 25 years ago.

In that time I had a completely wrong idea of ​​entrepreneurship and leadership. That’s why I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning and only learned over the years what really matters in leadership as well as in entrepreneurship.

The time problem!

My biggest challenge back then was time. Finding time for the important things. I was almost exclusively on the operational side. The day-to-day operations really took me over.

I had the feeling that I always had to keep all the things in the company together, I worked around the clock – often even on weekends.

Everything revolved around the company.

Also at home. Taking a week off, taking a vacation and really switching off – I didn´t really manage to do that. I felt overwhelmed and overworked.

With my first company we had 20 employees, but I always had the feeling that they were working on the wrong things or that they were not doing it correctly, meaning the way I would do it.

I wanted to change this situation but I didn’t know how. I couldn’t even find time to think in silence and focus for example on important strategy issues.

My experience with other managers

In the last few years I worked as a leadership coach for executives and entrepreneurs and I have seen many of them who are in a very similar situation like I was: They work and work all the time, but they are trapped in their operational hamster wheel – sometimes 70-80 hours a week and still find no time for the important things.

Most of them – and I felt the same way – have great difficulty delegating tasks to their employees. It is immediately obvious that this would give them more time but delegating just doesn’t work.

I felt the same way. If I delegated something to my co-workers, it wasn’t done right – not the way I would like it to be. I always had to control and correct them.

Instructing and controling everything

I had the impression that I always had to instruct everything down to the last detail. It was frustrating – and time consuming. But delegating was supposed to buy me time.

Let me describe the situation in which I found myself in these days. Our start-up was all about analysing vibrations of machines.

Similar to how a doctor checks a person’s heartbeat with a stethoscope, we used sensors to analyze the vibrations of machines in order to identify flaws and damage on these machines at an early stage. We developed and sold systems for this, but also performed diagnostics as a service for our customers on site.

Since I worked intensively on this vibration analysis – it was part of my PHD research project years before we founded our company –  I was usually the one who carried out these diagnoses for our customers. I was the expert at that time.

I had to delegate.

As our company grew, I had to choose to delegate these diagnostic tasks. After all, it was no longer my job as managing director to stand knee-deep in oil and use sensors to diagnose machines on site. Although I enjoyed it. It was fun. But I had to change from being a technical expert to being a manager. And that was difficult for me. It was difficult to change.

In my opinion in this time: None of my employees seemed good enough to do the analysis as I did.

Only then when I simply didn´t have time anymore to do it, I had to delegate these tasks – whether I wanted to or not.

Because at that time I built up our international sales structure and was therefore traveling abroad a lot. Most of the time I was somewhere in the world, so I couldn’t control everything and everyone anymore.

The changed situation

Now something interesting happened: I wasn’t there – I was somewhere else. I couldn’t give instructions and constantly check-up on my employees.

So, what happened? Sure, in the beginning a lot went wrong. My co-workers did a lot of things differently compared to how I would have done it.  They made mistakes which, as I believed at the time, would not have happened to me – but then – after a while, the results got better and better. Two employees even stood out. Their diagnostic results were not only as good but even better than mine. After about a year and a half, they carried out significantly better diagnoses than I did.

That was fascinating.

And through this experience, it has become much easier for me to delegate tasks to others. I know it will likely get worse at first and take longer – but then I have a good chance that the task will not only be done as well as I would do it, but even better.

Starting to delegate is an investment in employee training – it costs time and energy. But it’s worth it.

When you delegate a task to your employee, you put it in their hands. You trust that they will get it done by the agreed date.

Here it is important: If you delegated a task, avoid asking your employee about the progress of their work before the agreed date.

Do not check up on them all the time, but only check the agreed result.

Otherwise you will prevent your employee to take real responsibility for the taks. I know, you probably don’t mean to do so, but this is what happens. Because what you are doing is micromanaging.

For example: If you ask your employee before the agree deadline: “So, how is it going? Will you be ready on time?”

If you delegated the task the right way and you ask this question you show her that you don’t trust her. You don’t trust that she will be finished on time. But wait: She promised you to meet the deadline when you delegated the task, right? S, why do you ask her before the deadline is due?

Don’t get me wrong!

It can be hard to hold back. But this is crucial if you want to build trust in your employees and if you want to help your employees to improve.

By the way: Make sure that you always delegate the tasks depending on the skills of your employees. You can assign a large project to an experienced employee and after 2 months you only control the result. That is ok.

But with someone who is not so experienced, you have to break the project down. You can arrange weekly appointments, so called milestones to monitor the progress of the project. But be careful: Only check at the agreed time, not in between.

The rule for delegation is: Check previously agreed results at the agreed time, but not the process!

Avoid Reverse delegation!

Let me give you another important tip:

Perhaps you´re familiar with the following situation:

Yesterday you delegated an important task to your employee John. He should prepare a project report by next week. Today you are quite stressed and on your way to the next meeting when John approaches you in passing:

“Boss, it’s good to see you. I have a problem. I’m supposed to write the project report. I’ve put something together, but somehow I’m not getting anywhere. You know a lot about XYZ. Could you take a quick look at what I wrote and maybe add a couple of keywords?”

So? How do you react? Mentally you are actually already at that meeting. Yes, you are the expert on Project XYZ, but actually you have neither the time for it nor can you think about that in the moment. You are just thinking:

“How can I get rid of John as quickly as possible?”

So you say:

“OK, give me your notes. I’ll take care of it later. “

And whoosh – just like that there´s one more task on your desk – a task that you actually delegated to your employee, right?

That is called a reverse delegation or upward delegation. If you, as the boss, take on the delegated tasks, you are doing the work that your employees should actually be doing. This is fatal because then you have no time for your actual tasks.

Many bosses suffer from upward delegation.

The question is why? – The answer is:Because they let their employees do this.

So what’s the best way to avoid that? You could just block the conversation by saying:

„John, am I supposed to do your job?“

But that’s not constructive. That’s frustrating and only makes your employees feel like they are not getting any support from you. You definitely want to support your employees if it is necessary.

The solution

You make an appointment with your employee to discuss the problem without hurries:

“Sorry John, now is not a good time but we can discuss this in my office in half an hour.”

So what`s happening here? You kill two birds with one stone: On the one hand: You are not controlled by someone else. That is very important. On the other hand, you give your employee enough time to think about his or her problem again. Maybe he or she will come up with the solution without your help. Great!

And if not, you can help your employee during your arranged meeting.

Listen to the podcast episode

LME032 – Why I quit my job as a highly paid manager!

20 years ago I started working as a manager in a large company. It was a well paid job and I enjoyed it.

My goal was to build up a technical service division from scratch. That was a challenge. But Top Management gave me the resources to hire the right people and to build service teams all over the world.

Leading my team

In that time I learned a lot about how to manage people. And I really enjoyed leading and working with my team. My team connected with my strategy and with my service vision. They also had great ideas and so we got more and more business. Our division was profitable. After a few years my team grew to 350 service employees worldwide.

In that time I traveled a lot in order to support my team. I liked traveling but especially I loved working with my team.

The problem

The problem was something else: I got more and more frustrated strange decisions of my superiors and with burocracy: You Know typical corporate rules, hidden agendas and political games: I hated it!

Decisions I needed from top management took longer and longer. It was tenacious.

Change of strategy

Then Top management shifted focus. They changed the company strategy. In their new strategy services were not that important any longer. Of course, I was convinced that this was wrong.

And I didn’t hold back to talk and complain about this mistake. I was annoyed. I remember that I even told the board that I not just don’t agree but that I think this is a totally stupid decision. Yep. I was not very diplomatic.

First lesson here: If you bluntly tell some board members what you think about their stupid decision: That can feel very good. Yesss. – But it only lasts shortly.

From a long term perspective it is not a good idea to behave like this. Don’t do it. Just don’t! You will not achieve what you want.

“You cannot convince someone by making him an idiot.”

Also I was sure some of these board members … but let’s better stop here.

Loosing focus

Let’s put it like this: I got more and more into conflict with some board members. I spend more time on company politics than on growing our service business. That’s why I became frustrated and sometimes even grumpy.

I had regular one-on-one meetings with my direct reports. In one of these one-on-ones my operations manager told me:

„Bernd, it seems that you lost your vision as a leader.“

That hit me hard. It hurt because I was proud of my team and I was proud to lead this team. And now I got the feedback from one of my valued team members that I lost my vision. That was difficult to swallow.

Working with a business coach

Fortunatly, in that time Human Resources offered me to work with a business coach. It seemed that Top Management still wanted me to stay in the company. They didn’t want me to quit. But they wanted me to become a better corporate manager and to play by the rules.

I liked the idea to work with a business coach: Someone who is independent and has no stake in the company: That can be helpful, right?

And that’s what happened. Working with this business coach helped me to better understand my role as a manager. He made it clear that decisions taken by top management weren‘t my responsibility. In my role it was expected that I either accept it or that I have to quit and leave the company.

But I couldn’t accept the strategy change because it would have a negative impact on the services my team and me built up over the years.

Time to leave my job?

So, I thought I needed to leave. That’s why I applied for manager jobs in other companies. And I got some exciting and even higher paid job offers. And to be honest my existing salary was already quite high.

But I didn’t took any of the job offers.

Why?

I remember one situation vividly: I applied for an interesting new job and I got invited for an interview with the CEO. When I arrived at the building of this company I looked around. It was a nice office compley similar to the one where my office was.

And in this moment it struck me:

Even if I changed my job and even if I started somewhere else as an employed manager, it would be the same. After some time it would become the same corporate rat race. Someone would take a decision I can’t accept,and then I would be in the same situation. And in that moment I felt that this is not what I want.

It was not my employer who was wrong nor the – in my view – stupid board managers. It were even not the burocratic corporate structures. The problem was that I didn‘t fit into corporate systems any longer.

Leaving corporate

It still took some months for me to take the decision and to quit my job. I mean it was hard for me to quit my job because I quit working with the team I lead over 9 years. And of course it is also not easy to become self employed and to start your own business.

But it’s worse to stay in a job you don’t like and which makes you miserable.

Dave Ramsey is spot on:

“When your spirit leaves, take your body with it!“

You have to live by your values!

And I learned that my most important values are freedom and self determination. That’s why I started my own business. A corporate job is not bad. It was good for me for a certain time, but it wasn’t the right job for me any longer.

Today I work as a leadership and business coach,helping others to become the leader they always wanted to be. In that job I can live by my values and it’s exactly what I want to do.

Watch the video:

Listen to the podcast episode:

The inspiring quote

“When your spirit leaves, take your body with it!“

Dave Ramsey

LME031 – One-on-one meetings: Why to to do them and what questions to ask

As a boss, you should have regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports. But what do you actually talk about? How often should you meet?

My experience with one-on-one meetings

During my time as managing director and employed manager, I conducted a large number of meetings with employees.

As a boss, you can screw up a lot – and that’s what I did. Over time, however, I learned how it works ,I improved and, above all, I understood how important and meaningful it is to have regular one-on-one meetings.

The big misconception

Many bosses only associate the term “one-on-one meeting” with an annual face to face meeting. After all, that’s what HR requires every year.

 “That is not correct. I talk to my employees all the time, for example during coffee breaks, or between team meetings.”

Yes, that may be right. But most of these conversations are mostly about day-to-day business, things that are urgent. There is deadline pressure. Something is burning and a decision has to be made quickly.

You also talk about upcoming problems during a jour fixe meeting. Here too, it’s mostly about day-to-day operations.

However, there are certainly occasions and matters for an arranged one-on-one meeting regarding employee issues.

For instance, I suppose you have a meeting if there is escalating conflict or you need to talk with your employee about a salary increase.

When do you talk about personal stuff with your employee?

The problem is that conversations dealing with employee issues are too rare. So, when do you talk about personnel development, the mental state, questions about major goals, your business vision, the strategic direction of the department or the company? When do you do these talks with your employee?

“We do that during the annual meeting. And otherwise there is also the meeting of the workforce every quarter. We have a lot to do here. I can’t constantly talk to everyone about their feelings. ”

That´s too short-term focused.

Many bosses underestimate the so-called one-on-ones. This one-on-one meetings serve to build trust: the boss’s trust in the employee and vice versa.

A one-one-one meeting is not about day-to-day business.

It’s all about building trust

It is about building trust, it is about orientation, it is about essential decisions, often also about personal matters. One-on-one talks are about important things that are not necessarily urgent.

One-on-One talks are also about information exchange and the exchange of expectations. What does the boss expect from the employee and vice versa.

Trust between employees and managers only builds up over time. Both parties need to speak to each other to get to know each other.

“OK, but what do I talk about during one-on-ones, if it is not about daily work?”

What to talk to in one-on-one meetings

Well, ask questions outside the day-to-day work. Encourage your employees.

For example try to get answers to:

  • What are your employee’s current challenges?
  • Does your employee know your expectations?
  • What does your employee expect from you?
  • Does he or she know your actual goals, the goals of your company? What’s about your company vision and strategy? How does your employee think and feel about it?
  • What goals and visions does your employee have?
  • Do you know what is important to you and what is important to your employee?
  • What challenges does your employee face? At work as well as in private.
  • What kind of support does your employee need from you?
  • What kind of support can you offer?

There are a lot of things you can and you should talk about.

This intensive exchange between you and your employee rarely happens during day-to-day business, right? It is therefore important to arrange regular one-on-one meetings with your employees.

How often should you meet one-on-one?

My recommendation: Do it once a week for 30 min with each of your direct reports, i.e. the employees who report directly to you. You may say:

“What? With each of my 7 employees? That would be 7 x 30 min = 210 min, i.e. 3.5 hours per week. Are you out of your mind? I don’t have time for that. “

Please keep in mind: if you work 40 hours a week – and I know as a boss you will probably work even longer – but even at 40 hours a week it does not even amount to 10% of your working hours.

You’re a leader, aren’t you? You lead people. Therefore, your employees should be worth 10% of your time, right?

One-on-ones have a huge ROI

In the long term, these talks will bring an incredible return on investment. They save you massive amounts of time and money. It is an investment with a great ROI.

If you do it right, you will get motivated, thoughtful employees who will pull in the same direction along with you. You will be able to tell much better as to how your employee is doing.

As you get to know your employees better and better during these one-on-ones over time, you will be able to delegate tasks much better and get your time back.

If you take the time for the one-on-ones, you will show appreciation to your employees. That creates trust.

And if you have a trusting relationship, your employee will tell you, for example, if he has problems or if she is dissatisfied with the job.

That’s a surprise…

I keep meeting executives and managers who are taken completely by surprise when one of their best employees suddenly quits and then they say:

“I didn’t see that coming.”

Well, too bad. Almost always there are many red flags beforehand indicating that an employee is going to quit.

You will only notice these signals, if you spend time you’re your employee and if you exchange ideas with your employees in one-on-one meetings on a regular basis.

Click here for more info on one-on-one meetings

Listen to the podcast episode:

The inspiring quote

“When you put yourself in the other person’s shoes, you can see that the person critiquing you is merely trying to help.”

Fran Hauser

LME030 – New as a manager – 5 important tips

You just got promoted? You are new in your manager role? Congratulations!
Especially at the beginning in your new position, you surely don’t want to make any unnecessary mistakes, right? You want to become a good manager.

New as a manager

Yesterday an administrative worker and today you are a team leader or a group leader. That’s great.

But now you think: what do you have to do to be accepted and respected in your new role by your team members as well as by your boss right from the start?

What‘s important especially during the first weeks? What makes the difference? What do you need to keep in mind?

5 most important tips when becoming manager

Here are my five tips for you as a newly appointed manager.

1. Know your bosses expectations!

How good you are in your job, and whether or not you perform well, that’s something not you or your team members assess, but only your boss.

Therefore, make sure to understand what is expected of you in your new role. Only if you truly know the expectations, you will be able to adopt and live up to them.

For that reason, ask your manager to meet with you. Ask him what his goals are, what is important to him, and how can you help him. What does your boss think what your priorities should be in the coming weeks? What should you keep in mind while working together and what kind of communication does he want?

Get to know your boss, how he thinks, how he works. Which decisions can you make on your own and on which ones does he want to be involved?

„My new team manager is driving me crazy. He sends me a copy of almost all his emails, as my inbox isn’t overflowing already. What a hell do I need all this information for?!“

How exactly wants your boss to be kept in the loop? Does he just want a short email once a week or does he want to be informed about everyone and everything at all times and expects a detailed report every other day – perhaps even including a 5-pages Excel-Sheet every day? Try to find out!

And, to make it clear again: it‘s not you who decide whether you’re doing a good job or not – it’s your boss. And his assessment is based on whether or not you meet his expectations. Sorry, but that’s how it works!

2. Don’t rely only on facts, data and figures!

Take your time for a conversation with your employee and colleague. If you are a manager it is not just about asking for reports, numbers, dates and facts.

It’s about people: About understanding the people that work in your organisation. What drives them? Why are they doing what they do? Listen to their earlier successes and difficulties. Keep asking, so you can truly understand, and – most importantly – don’t judge or evaluate; at least not during the first days.

During the first weeks you try to get a glimpse. Get a picture of how the organisation ticks and how it functions. When are the decisions made? How, by whom and why? Try to get a feel for it.

How people and departments or teams really work is nothing you can see in spreadsheets and organisation charts, but you rather need to know or get a feeling for unwritten rules and hidden agendas. Only then, you can avoid dropping a brick accidentally.

3. Avoid actionism!

The first 4 to 6 weeks as a new leader are your orientation phase. What matters during this time is for you to understand your environment, your team members and colleagues and to find your role.

At this point you shouldn’t make any changes – even if your employees would like you to change things up. Why? Because in the beginning you are not familiar with hidden and unwritten rules and customs in the organisation. You can’t see the full extend of the existing power relations yet. But you need this information to make a good assessment.

Some rules and principles that may seem pointless to you in the beginning might start to make sense once you understand how and why they actually came into place. Try first to comprehend and understand.

Only make far-reaching decisions if you can really assess what impact they will have.

4. Don’t speak badly about your predecessor!

„Well, ladies and gentlemen, as you know: from today on I’m the new head of department here and I had a good look at everything. And, to be honest, I’m not surprised that we are not leading the market. There is a lot that needs to be changed. The way that you as a team performed in the past years was – to put it mildly – not ideal. Your work leaves a lot to be desired. There’s much room for improvement.“

Don’t do that!

Be appreciative towards the organisations past and towards the employees, team members and colleagues and their earlier successes. Even if it wasn’t all that good and even if you already know that some things need to change. Hold back on your assessment.

„What my predecessor has left me with here is nothing short of an absolute mess. It seems like, apart from going on business trips he hasn’t done much at all.“

And, did I mention: don‘t speak ill about your predecessor – not in your introductory speech, and not later. Never!

5. Don’t aim to be popular!

As a leader you are not longer just one of many in the team. As the the team leader you are the boss, not a buddy from work anymore. You have to re-consider your previous communication and behaviour. Most likely you need to make adjustments in one domain or another to adapt to your new role.

The real issues that a leader or manager has to deal with are almost never specialist or technical subjects but it‘s the interpersonal relationships.

As a leader you need to find the right balance between closeness and distance to your employees.

Of course, it is a great feeling to know that you are liked by your team members, but it‘s not the goal of successful leadership to be popular. What is paramount is that you are respected – and not because of your position, but because of your behaviour.

Being a leader is about establishing trust. You don’t need to be or try to become best friends with your employee.

Your goal should be to become trustworthy and to be fair and honest in everything you do.

 

Listen to the podcast version

 

The inspiring quote

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

John F. Kennedy

LME029 – How to set goals with your employees

goal setting with employeesGoal setting with employees is not easy. How can you be successful with it? On what exactly do you have to pay attention to?

It is not easy to agree on goals with employees in such a way that they are actually implemented and achieved. During my time as managing director, I also had to learn that the hard way.

Listen to the podcast version

How most companies set goals with employees

Top-Management develops a strategy based on the company’s vision. Then goals are derived from the strategy: strategic, tactical and operational goals.

These goals are then broken down into divisions and departments. Then the managers of these divisions and departmens set these goals for their employees or – which is much better – agree on goals with their employees.

The idea behind

Goals help the company to ensure that everyone – the employees as well as the bosses – go in the same direction.

So talking about goals helps to clarify on where to go. However, they must be the right goals and it is also important how everyone deals with the goals.

Why?

Before defining goals, we need to know “why”. Therefore: It all starts with the corporate vision and corporate strategy.

If the “why” is not clear, if the corporate strategy is missing, then the goal is nothing you can grasp.

“Our goal for next year is to increase sales by 30%.”

“OK and why? Why is it 30%? “

“What do you mean “why”?  Because I say so! “

Why should sales be increased by 30%? Or: Why should a new product be developed? The boss should be able to answer these questions before breaking down goals.

Goals bring focus, but…

Goals bring focus, but they must not restrict the big picture and flexibility too much. This is of course a balancing act.

I believe that if the achievement of a major goal is far ahead in the future, the goal should be formulated vaguely.

“John, how much money can we make with our biggest customer, Siemens AG in 5 years and especially with which product groups?”

“Uh, I don’t know, boss!”

“But I need the numbers. How else am I supposed to draw up a solid plan and budget for the next 5 years?”

Set goals with employees correctly

How detailled should the goal be?

That is nonsense! Why should anyone describe the exact achievement of goals in detail, which will arise sometime in 5 years. Until then, a lot can happen.

However, this does not mean that goals and measures should be formulated vaguely in principle. But on the contrary. The shorter the deadline for a goal, the clearer the goal must be formulated.

I really like the approach used for agile project management. This is characterized by adaptive planning.

So instead of making a comprehensive, detailed plan at the beginning of the project, regular planning meetings take place at short intervals. In this way, you can react flexibly to unforeseen or unpredictable changes.

So we need definitely a big goal, but it is not specified in detail. But the short-term goals and measures for the next 2-4 weeks: They should be clear, described in detail and agreed upon.

Similarly, you can deal with goals in a very volatile environment – even outside of project management.

Example for adaptive planning

You have defined an annual goal, e.g. the sales or net income of the company. Based on this you have roughly defined sub-goals and measures.

Once a month, you can discuss the sub-goals and measures for the next 30 days with your employees. This means: for 29 days, the boss and employees focus on short-term achievement of goals and on the measures to be implemented.

And one day a month, you take the time to talk extensively about setting and agreeing on goals. Have you and your team achieved your short-term goals?

If not – what was the problem? Did new things come up? Do the goals need to be adjusted? This one day is used to stay flexible, adjust the strategy, share a bird´s-eye view and to adjust the planning to achieve your big goal.

A monthly rhythm may not be the right time frame for a large car company, but for a small, medium-sized company for example in mechanical engineering it can make sense.

In this way, you have regular conversations with your employees, you can adjust goals together. You focus on short-term implementations, but you do not neglect new ideas, impressions and necessary goal adjustments.

Unfortunately, only very few companies do this. Many really think that it is enough to formulate the goals once a year and then check what you have achieved at the end of the year. In a volatile environment, this is not the way to go.

My 5 tips for how to set goals with employees

Here are my 5 most important tips for your goal setting with employees.

1. Goals must be agreed upon!

If you as the boss just simply set the goals for your team, is not a good idea. You wouldn’t get any commitment from your employees. Nothing will be gained from this. There will be no motivation to reach the goal.

M;uch better is: If you want to have actively thinking, independent employees, you have to discuss and get your team to agree on goals. You have to ask, discuss and convince, not just set goals.

2. Set verifiable goals

A goal always has a deadline. That’s a must. It is also beneficial if the goal is measurable. Then it’s easy. But often goals are not measurable. Nevertheless, the goal should be formulated in such a way that it is crystal clear for everyone involved whether the goal has been reached by the deadline or not.

3. Goals need space!

Those who lead with goals must not micromanage. Anyone who agrees on a goal with his or her team agrees on who and what and when, but not on how.

Well defined goals describe a desired outcome, but leave open how it can best be achieved. The employee decides which measures must be taken to achieve the goal. It should be their creative freedom.

4. Focus only on a few goals!

There is no point in agreeing on 20 goals with your employee. You get bogged down. Managers and employees should consider a maximum of three goals and agree on them.

5. Document goals and check them regularly!

If you have agreed on goals with your employee, document them and check them along with your employee regularly – for example, once a month or once a week. Goals only make sense if you check their achievement regularly.

How to deal with a demanding boss when goal setting

If you’d like to know how to deal with a demanding boss when agreeing on goals, watch this video or read the following post:
How to deal with a demanding boss

The inspiring quote

“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.”

Steve Garvey

LME028 – What do you wish you knew, before becoming a successful leader?

A lot of people, who aren’t in an executive position think that if you are promoted  in a company or an organization or if you become your own boss as an entrepreneur, people will just follow you because now you are the leader.

And everything becomes more easy because now you are in charge and people follow you.

Sorry, guys! But this isn’t true. Becoming a leader is mostly totally different to what you might expected.

What do you wish you knew, before becoming a successful leader?

Therefore, I invited 5 leaders with different backgrounds for my podcast show. I wanted to know from them, what they wish they knew, before becoming successful leaders.

What we would have loved to know about Leadership

 

1. Dan Lovaglia

Dan Lovaglia

We start with Dan. He is a ministry consultant and leadership coach in the Chicago area in the US.

I recently heard Patrick Lencioni author of “The Motive”, his most recent book and business leadership consultant say:

“Everyone has influence. And they probably shouldn’t.”

This quote rocked me to the core. The fact is when I stepped into leadership, the one thing that I didn’t know was that it was going to cost me something. I was going to have to pay a price.

In fact, I’ve used this phrase over the years. If I lead, I will pay a price. If I don’t others will.

My name is Dan Lovaglia. I’m a staffing and coaching associate with Slingshot group. We’re a nationwide team that works with ministries and churches across the US to build remarkable teams.

I love being part of an endeavor where we get to walk alongside people, partner with them as they grow in their leadership, grow the ministries and initiatives that they’re wanting to be about because they know that they’re stewards of something important.

And they know that if they don’t stand up, speak up, take steps forward, somebody is going to pay a price. And hopefully as a leader, they recognize – like I’ve come to recognize I’m going to pay a price first.

It’s important for me to step into leadership, knowing that I’m going to have influence, and I want it to be the right kind of influence for the right direction and the right reasons.

I think Dan is spot on. If you lead you will have to pay a price and you need to think about that before you start to become a leader.

If you like to contact Dan, just click here:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/danlovaglia/

2. Gleb Tsipursky

Gleb Tsipursky

Gleb helps leaders to avoid disasters. He is a best selling author, a coach, trainer and speaker and lives in the Ohio area in the US.

You should never go with your gut. Does it sound surprising to you that I say that? After all, you get so much advice to go with your gut, follow your intuition, be primal, be savage and so on.

What can Huff calls, whatever? Well, unfortunately, the people who give you such advice are just giving you the modern equivalent of snake oil.

Going with our gut. Intuition is terrible advice. It is pretty horrible because intuitions are not adapted for the modern environment. There are definitely for the ancestral environment.

Think about how we meet friends. Like let’s say how we’re meeting COVID-19. We have a very intense fight or flight response that stems from our environment.

We have to jump at a hundred shadows to get away from that one saber tooth tiger. And now people are responding to the COVID 19 with either a defensive response going out and buying a lot of stuff that they won’t need later, or the flight response, but ignoring it, they’re saying, you know,

Hey, our life is great. Everything is fine. But it can be a problem. We are not responding well at all to the reality that the COVID-19 is a huge, slow moving train wreck.

I really don’t see leaders literally preparing for the reality that we’ll be living with it for at least the next two to three years until we have a vaccine and distributed them widely.

So this is a big problem that leaders aren’t changing their business model and individual professionals aren’t changing their career track to adapt to the reality of COVID-19.

Very true. I believe I would have made less mistakes in my business life if I paid attention to this. Yes, you should never go purely with your gut intuition.

If you like to get in contact with Glen, click here:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-gleb-tsipursky/

3. Jessica Dreistadt

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Jessica has served as the leader of a family center system in a public school district, a shelter for families experiencing homelessness, a community development corporation, and a women’s leadership network.

My name is Jessica and I’m the facilitator of the women’s creative leadership network.

There are several things I wish someone would have told me on the way to becoming a successful leader.

And I also believe that as a leader, it’s important for us to share this knowledge with the next generation.

The biggest thing I wish that I had known is that there’s no such thing as perfect. There’s not one right way to do things or only one best choice.

Leading is really much more complex than that. When we hold ourselves to impossible standards as leaders, it just sets us up for disappointment and it wastes precious energy that could instead be put into learning.

It’s also demoralizing to the people around us. So in other words, it’s okay to make mistakes, just be open to learning from them.

And if you’re not making mistakes, then you probably aren’t taking enough.

I fully agree with Jessica. As a leader we need to recall again and again that there is no such thing as perfect.

I foyu’d like to get in touch with Jessica, click here:
https://www.facebook.com/jess.dreistadt

4. Ola Yetunde Harris

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Ola is a sales and marketing expert from Johannesbourg in Southafrica.

Hi, my name is Ola Yetunde Harris. I manage several different entrepreneurship groups on Facebook, as well as a sales team.

And the biggest thing I wish I knew before becoming a leader is that you never been to get it all passive. You need to just keep moving, put your best actions in and just strive to get things done rather than get things perfect.

The other thing would be that, as a leader it is you job to always be on the look out for the best people that suit certain tasks, because you cannot win by putting square pegs in a sicko.

Or in other words, you have to look at what people natural talents are and try to fit them into the task that you need to get done.

Those are the two things that I really wish that I knew before becoming a leader and not having to force that.

Thanks Ola for giving us 2 lessons. I believe it is very important to understand that you never get it all perfect. Most important is: You need just to get moving. That’s so true. And yes looking for the right place for the right people to work for you is crucial.

If you like to get in touch with Ola, just click here:
https://www.facebook.com/olayiwola.odemwingee

5. Paul LaRue

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Paul lives in the Colorado are in the US. He is a restaurant operations consultant. He is a leadership & organizational coach and speaker.

Hello, this is Paul LaRue, leadership and business consultant and founder of the UPwards Leader.

Back in my university days, I was part of the student leadership organization.

Our institutions laws had criteria for membership, solid grades, supporting the local community and being active and other student organizations.

After my second year with the group, I noticed the ideas we were founded on are becoming diluted. Sitting members were loosening the selection criteria for new members.

It was becoming more of a social group rather than an institution that stood as the standard for other campus organizations.

One member D wanted to bring his friend Robin in because he thought Robin was cool and D wanted to gain status in our group.

Robin fell short of our member criteria. D was able to get Robin approved.

Soon afterwards Robin ended up violating our bylaws and face expulsion, but D was able to maneuver and maintain Robin’s membership.

I saw this downward trajectory and organization and mentioned it to a fellow member, but we failed to act.

Two years after I graduated, our organizations charter was permanently destroyed. It was then I realized that culture with proper checks and balances is essential for the success of any group or company. Bringing in a board of people do the culture fit, not ego or status is about the purpose of any organization and the glue that holds it together.

When culture is not held as the measure of what an organization is and who his people are, that institution will inevitably fall apart. It was a valuable lesson that has served me well all these years.

Thanks Paul for that important insight. Yes, in any business or organization it is crucial that proper checks and balances exist. The culture fit not ego or status of the people involved holds an organization together.

If you like to get in touch with Paul, click here:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/paullaruejr/

 

Thanks a lot for all participants. I’d like to end this post with an inspiring quote from Jack Welsh:

„Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others“

 

Listen to the podcast

 

LME027 – One-on-one meetings! What matters most!

As a leader you should have one-on-one meetings with your direct reports regularly.

But how do you introduce one on ones to your direct reports? How does such an one-on-one meeting work? How do you get started and what exactly should you say in such meetings?

one-on-one

one-on-one

My experience with one-on-ones

During my time as a manager, I had lots of meetings with my direct reports.

However, from todays point of view, I should have conducted one-on-one meetings more frequently and especially regularly. Over time, I realized how valuable this management tool – the one-on-one meeting – is and how important it is to build trust with your direct reports.

When I talk to executives about these one-on-ones, I often hear:

“I know that I should regularly take the time to talk to each of my direct reports, but I don’t have time for it. There is always so much to do.”

Well, if the one-on-ones are important to you – I mean really important to you – then you should find the time to talk to each of your direct reports at least 20 minutes every week or at least every 14 days.

Of course this is easier said than done, but in the long run these conversations will bring you an incredible return on investment. They save you a lot of time and money.

If you do it right, you will get motivated people who will think along similar lines and pull in the same direction along with you.

These one-on-ones will help you to get to know your employees better and better. But most important: You build trust which makes it easier for you to delegate tasks.

If you have one-on-ones regularly, you will become much better at understanding what is going on with your employees and how you can support them.

 „OK – and what do I have to consider for these one-on-one talks?“

It’s a conversation between two people.

If possible, these conversations should take place in a quiet, relaxed environment. That can, but does not have to be in the office. You can also have such a conversation during a walk together, so to say a meeting “on the go”.

Focus on your direct report.

It is important that you are focused on the matter and only concentrate on your employee. No distraction! Avoid interruption of any kind!

And please remember: In a one-on-one meeting its clear that your smartphone is switched off. I don’t have to point that out, do I?

A one-on-one is an employee meeting!

Why is it called like that? That is because the employee talks more than the boss.

It is mainly the time of the employee spending with his manager, not the other way around.

“Well, but how do I start such a conversation and what should I talk about?”

The one-on-one process

Let´s talk about the rough process of one-on-one meetings first: Each one-on-one is different. They are unique because people are unique.

Nevertheless: Especially if you have just officially started regular one-on-one meetings, it is beneficial to provide a rough framework. For simplicity, we assume 30 minutes. You can then divide these 30 min one-on-ones into three 10 min parts, for example:

Part 1: Employees time only

You start the conversation with a question and then you listen. This is the time when your direct report wants to discuss matters that are important to him or her.

Part 2: Your time

The manager addresses issues such as giving feedback for instance. You can also inform about goals or talk about organizational changes and hear your employee’s opinion on them.

Part 3: It’s about the future.

What is in store for the next few days. Talk about your plans. Ask about his or her plans. If you have agreed on actions to be carried out then you can briefly summarize them at the end of the one-on-one meeting.

It is just a framework…

As I said before, these 3 parts are just a rough framework, a kind of guideline that can be helpful to you especially when you start one-on-one meetings with your direct reports and if you haven’t done it before.

The meetings don’t necessarily have to be 30 minutes. Start with 15 minutes or 20 minutes. The individual parts can also be of different lengths. If the employee has many things to discuss, just talk about them and skip the other parts. That’s ok.

The key is: just start with one-on-ones. And very important: do one-on-ones regularly – and I mean weekly or at least bi weekly.

“I feel stupid about it. I don’t know how to start the conversation …
What should I talk about?”

Good question. I have put together a free checklist for one-on-one meetings with examples and tips how to conduct one-on-one meetings. You’ll find the link to the free download in the YouTube description and in the comments.

If you introduce one-on-ones, you may feel uncomfortable at the beginning. That’s normal. The situation may seem strange to you.

“What does the employee think about me when I suddenly start with such personal meetings?”

Just hang in there. It is worth it.

You can easily start a one-on-one by asking open questions, for example:

 “John, how is it going? How are you doing? “

or

“John, what is your biggest challenge right now?”

or

“Is there anything I can currently support you with?”

If that leads to nothing, you can also ask about current developments in the company, e.g.

“John, what do you think of our recent organizational change? What´s your take on that? “

All the questions are used to break the ice and start a conversation with your employee. Get involved, be interested in her or his opinion and ask.

You can also ask questions like:

Where did you feel friction in the last week? Where there specific meetings or situations where we as a team can improve?

or

You know that we strive in our company for customer satisfaction. But I also know that some of our rules and customer processes are not ideal at all. I ‘m interested in your opinion. Where do we need to improve? What needs to change?

or

What feedback do you have for me? Where can I as a manager improve?
For example: What do you want to do me more and what should I do less?

 

Start with open questions.

But note that it is your job to start with such open questions. After that, you listen actively. You can ask if you don’t understand something but you listen carefully.

If you are introducing one-on-ones, explain to your employees why you are doing this, what the talks will roughly be about and what advantages your employees will gain from it.

The greatest advantage of one-on-ones?

Do you know what most employees consider the greatest advantage of such meetings?

It is the undisturbed, undivided time they can spend with their manager. Your employees know very well that you are always under time pressure. So if you take your time and spend them with them, that shows appreciation.

I, the employee, am important to my boss because otherwise he wouldn’t spend regularly time with me, right?

What to do if I feel uncomfortable…

If thinking about starting one-on-ones still makes you feel uncomfortable, talk about it. It’s not weakness but strengths when you talk about that feeling.

For example, you can say the following:

“John, I’d like to conduct 1 on 1 meetings with each of my direct reports on a regular basis. This is very important to me because I believe that if we spend more time together, we will understand each other better and I can support you much better.

To be honest, starting with these one-on-ones still feels a bit unusual or awkward to me. But I strongly believe it’s important to start with it and it will help us to improve working together.
So: How’s it going with you: Is there something I can currently support you with?”

By conducting one-on-one you offer your employees a forum to exchange ideas with you. Of course, your employees also want to hear your opinion, but it is particularly important that your employees can share their thoughts and issues with you.

One-on-ones are not about you.

Therefore: One-on-one meetings are not about you, they are about your employees. Be sincerely interested in them, in the job they do and in their personality.

I promise that one-on-ones will be a game changer in your leadership. They pay off in the long term for everyone involved.

I have put together a checklist for one-on-one meetings. You can download this check list for free here:

The inspiring quote

“We have this religion that everyone has one on ones on the team. We think everyone should be doing it. It just leads to a happier work place, and it takes almost no investment. It really pays off.“

David Cancel

LME026 – Entrepreneur’s Rocket Fuel – Interview with Mark C. Winters

Marc C. Winters, Co-author of Rocket Fuel

Mark C. Winters, Co-author of Rocket Fuel

Today we talk about why it needs not just one but two entrepreneurs to build a successful business and why it is essential that these two have dramatically different roles.

I will talk about this with Mark C. Winters who is the co-author of the book rocket fuel.

If you are an entrepreneur or you work for a small business, this interview may be an eye opener for you.

Listen to the podcast version

About a year ago a friend of mine told me about a book called “Rocket Fuel”. He said:

“Bernd, you need to read this.”

I was amazed to hear that and wanted to know more about it.

The situation of my entrepreneurial friend

My friend told me that by reading the book he finally understood why he has been frustrated with his company over the last years although from outside he was a successful entrepreneur.

In less than 5 years he has built a company with 30 employees. The company was well positioned in the market and – at least from outside – quite profitable.

Working 24/7

But he was working his butt off. He was working more or less 24/ 7.

Of course he was passionate for his business, but taking care about the day-to-day work, the nitty gritty details that was frustrating for him.

He complained about his employees. They were not working on the right things, they didn’t understand quickly enough what he wanted from them. He had a lot of great new ideas for new products, for new marketing and sales ideas but in the day-to-day business he didn’t find the time to work on them.

His solution: Rocket Fuel

He told me, when he read the book Rocket Fuel he finally understood the reason for his frustration. He understood his role in the company. He told me:

He is the visionary. That’s the leader who should focus on new ideas and on new products, on product improvements and on customers. But this was not what he was doing most of his time. He wanted to spend more time in his role as a visionary.

But to do this, he needed someone who could do all the day-to-day work, who focuses inside the company. A person with this role is a so called integrator.

The two roles in a business

In the book Rocket Fuel the two authors describe these two roles:

“The visionary possesses a pioneering spirit that seizes market opportunities, dreams big, and inspires people behind a common vision. Visionaries notice problems in the word and find ways to solve them. They are a continuous source of new ideas.

The integrator is a realist. Integrators ensure commitments are kept, deadlines are met, and resources are managed. Integrators align resources to make the visionary’s dream a reality.”

The two roles  – the visionary and the integrator role – are vital to building a great company.

The problem of a lot of entrepreneurs

The problem is, that rarely one person can fulfill both roles. Normally an entrepreneur starts a company because he or she is an entrepreneur and a strong visionary.

But mostly after some time one or more of 5 frustrations kick in. Marc C. Winters and Gino Wickman, the authors of Rocket Fuel describe these 5 frustrations of a visionary as follows:

  1. Lack of control

You started the business so you can have more control over your time, money and freedom, but once you reach a certain point of growth, you realize that somehow you actually have less control. The business is now controlling you.

  1. Lack of Profit

No matter how hard you work, the numbers just don’t add up.

  1. People

Nobody seems to understand you or do things your way. You’re just not on the same page.

  1. Hitting the ceiling

Growth had stopped. The business is more complex, and you can’t figure out exactly why it isn’t working.

  1. Nothing is working

You’ve tried several remedies, consulted books and instituted quick fixes. None of these have worked for long.

The solution is: You – as the visionary – need to embrace your visionary nature and you need to get an integrator on board.

“The integrator integrates the major functions of the business, run the organization, and manage the day-to-day issues that arise. The integrator is the glue that holds the people, processes, systems, priorities, and strategy of the company together.”

Rocket Fuel describes the roles of the visionary and the role of the integrator in detail.

It focuses on how to find an integrator and how the visionary and the integrator can successfully work together. As you can surely imagine, it is not easy for a visionary to hand over responsibilities and decisions to the integrator. But this is crucial in order to work successfully together. Only then the integrator can do his job.

Find my interview with one of the authors of Rocket Fuel: Mark C. Winters in this podcast episode:

 

 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Author unknown – quote from Africa

LME025 – Leading in times of crisis

Today we will talk about how to lead in times of crisis.

How can you control the chaos? How you can stay calm and positive with in the storm and how can you engage the hearts and minds of your people in tough times.

Sounds interesting? – Read on!

Listen to the podcast version


I am writing this in the beginning of April 2020.

It is unclear whether we are in the middle of the crisis or just at the beginning. Our public life is becoming increasingly restricted due to the corona virus. There are shutdowns, lockdowns and we all have to reduce our social contacts to a minimum.

Governments worldwide are trying to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on healthcare systems to slow down the spread and save time. Will it work? I hope so, but nobody really knows.

What does that mean to us?

How can we control the chaos?

Can we control the chaos?

I believe, you can’t control what comes from outside, but you can control how you react.

Let me give you my 3 ideas how we can deal with the chaos.

1. Self awareness

I believe it is most important that you have a clear understanding of your personal strengths and values. It’s important that you have your own compass heading in the right direction.

You need to be clear on: What do you stand for? What motivates you? What is really important to you? If it is money than think twice.

And I also mean if you think money gives you security. Be careful. How much money do you need? 10.000, 100.000, 1 Mio, 10 Mio? What will happen if we suddenly face an hyper inflation? Your money is gone like that. Will money really help? What happens if you become ill and there aren’t any beds in the ICU’s for you?

I personally believe: What really is important: that’s people. Take care about others. Take an active role and help others especially in times of crisis. So, think about what is most important for you and what do you stand for?

2. Have an infinite mindset

My next impuls I got from Simon Sinek

“Have an infinite mindset! You are in for the long term.”

What does it mean?

Times like this are especially tough for people who love clear structures and high planning security. They love to have a detailed plan and a clear goal, for example reaching sales of 1 million Dollars. That’s the opposite: It is a finite mindset.

In times of crisis this thinking doesn’t help. You need to be much more agil and you need to think in the long run. Having an infinite mindest means that you have aclear why. Why you are doing what you are doing. You know what you stand for and you have a vision. A vision is always emotional and it is vague. It is a great picture of a better future. It is not a clear plan.

In times of crisis this helps a lot. In that way your mind can adapt more quickly and is not bound to your detailed plan. You may work with a short term plan and change depending on the situation, but with your vision you have an understanding where you want to go.

3. Think in scenarios and have contingency plans.

We don’t know, what happens in the near future. But we can think about different scenarios.

What we know can do is to prepare for these different scenarios. We have plans for the different scenarios and we assess the regularly short term, which scenario becomes more likely to happen – and based on that we adapt our actions.

In crisis it matters most how you think and feel. Do you believe you are in survival mode? Or are you in a reinvention mode?

You can ask youself:

“How do I get thru this?”

or you ask:

“How do I gone a change to get thru that?” 

A German collegue of mine – Lars Vollmer – was on spot when he said:

“Change is great – but to be changed is terrible!”

So, in times of crisis it is better to have an active role and accept to change, change what we do, change goals – not the long term vision and change business models.

A good example for this is the German entrepreneur Wolfgang Grupp. A few days ago his company Trigema changed a big part of the production from producing shirts to producing respirators. With this change he helps our healthcare system and it helps his company to survive this crisis.

My piano teacher changed his business model from teaching in school rooms to teaching online.

How can you stay calm and positive with in the storm?

Last Sunday I send an E-Mail to my German E-Mail list of about 8.000 managers and entrepreneurs. I asked them: “What is your biggest challenge today in this crisis?”

Several hundred of them answered with partly very detailed comments.

There were 3 major types of situations they were describing:

  1. The problem working at home and leading out of the home office. This is a struggle, but their jobs are still save.
  2. Right now working around the clock. Very stressful because things inside the company need to be organized. But the company is still doing ok for the next 2-3 months.
  3. Survival mode. These people, mostly entrepreneurs or solopreneurs don’t know how to pay the rent. There business model collapsed. Their sales is zero and they don’t have savings. They don’t know how to proceed with their business in the next weeks.

The more you are in the situation of category 3 the more you need to stay calm and positive in order to be able to see opportunities and in order to find other business models.

For them I have the following tips, I try to use for myself as well.

Get enough sleep!

Sounds obvious, but is so important: “Get enough sleep!” Only then, you are able to think properly.

Take an active role.

Don’t stay passive. Even if you think everything collapses, stay in the driver seat. That means have a clear structure or your day. Get up at the same time.

Don’t watch Netflix all the time. Help others. Work on things which you always wanted to do. Get in touch with others.

Stay focused.

Don’t listen to the news all the time. Habe maybe 1 hour a day to watch the news and scroll your facebook feed, but then stop that. Go to work or do something productive.

Regularly take your time to keep the overview. Where do you stand? Think about the different scenarios and watch out for opportunities. Then go back to work, focusing and and talking with others to get inspired.

And on last impulse her:

“Things are mostly not as bad as they seem!

How you can engage the hearts and minds of your people?


During a crisis like this, there is uncertainty. And for many people uncertainty leads to fear.

Fear that relatives could get infected, fear of losing the job. What is going to happen? What is going to happen to me now, to my family?

In addition, there are all sorts of news: special programs on TV, real news as well as fake news on social media channels and, and, and. Uncertainty and fear are growing.

In fact, nobody knows what’s coming. Will the crisis be over in 2-3 months and everything goes back to normal? Or will it take years and there will be a great depression like in the 30s?

Nobody knows. Everyone is looking for answers.

What do your employees need the most?

So what do your employees need the most now – in this situation?

It’s trust. Trust in you as a manager. Trust that you take on responsibility, that you speak openly and honestly, and trust that you make decisions to the best of your knowledge and belief and that you are there for your employees.

How can you build trust now?

Take care of your employees. If possible, speak to each of your employees.

It is about dealing with fear and uncertainty and stilling your employees fears wherever possible.

Ask your employees how they are doing, what they need right now. If you work at your home office, make a call or skype.

Take the time to respond to fears, whether private or work related. I know it’s not easy, especially when you don’t know how to proceed. When you are afraid and feel insecure yourself.

Now it is important for you not to hide and not to stay in the background. Take on the role of the one who leads, who helps others. If you actively take on this role, it will also help you to better deal with your fears.

Explain to your employees what your view on the situation is and which decisions you are making or will be making and above all: explain why you do these things.

What matters now?

  1. Don’t shy away from telling the truth. Don’t beat around the bush.
  2. Only promise things that you can keep.
  3. Be totally clear about what you know and what you don’t. At the moment everyone is looking for answers.
  4. Explain scenarios: With regard to the future, explain possible scenarios and how you and the company are likely to respond to them. Also clearly state what that would mean for your employees. Don’t downplay the situation.
  5. Take responsibility for your decisions.

What does taking responsibility mean?

You are now making a decision to the best of your knowledge and belief. In retrospect, it can turn out to be wrong decision. That can happen, but it is always better than not making a decision at all.

The important thing is: take responsibility for your decision but also apologize afterwards:

“Yes, I made the wrong decision ..”

Stay optimistic.

Try to be a bastion of calm.

If you act like this, then you are credible. Then you have a great chance that your employees will trust you. If you are totally clear about what is going on when you address the fears, it will help your employees to deal better with fear and uncertainty.

Are all of your employees going to trust you this way?

Probably not. In a time of crisis we can distinguish between 3 types of employees:

1. Promoters

There are employees who have always put complete trust in you. They are your promoters. They think the same way you do and they have the subjective conviction that you are doing or will do exactly the right thing.

2. Skeptics and doubters

The second category, those are skeptics and doubters. They are unsure as to what extend they can trust you. It is particularly important to get these employees on board with you and to convince them that they can trust you during this crisis.

3. Opponents

Theoretically, you can do whatever you want. You will never convince them that you are the right person, that you are doing the right thing and that you can be trusted.

If you work in a small company and have a good working atmosphere, there is a good chance that you will not have a Category 3 employee. This is unlikely in larger organizations.

You will have to deal with all three categories, but focus on the Skeptics and Doubters.

If you want to be a leader…

If you’re a leader, don’t hide, but take responsibility. Help your employees and be the one they can trust. In times of crisis the true character of a person is revealed – or, put it that way, a crisis builds the character.

 

The inspiring quotes

“Everything is going to be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, then it’s not the end.”

Fernando Sabino