This month’s Business Leaders’ webinar was on Leading People in Business.
Here is what we talked about:
Driving business results, leading change, innovating, and generally moving a business forward requires leading people. An organization will not automatically self optimize so that all the people do what the business needs them to do. That’s the job of a leader.
As a leader, you need to get your whole organization aligned, ready, willing and able to do what the business needs.
People vs. Resources
Unique Skills: Either you believe that people are unique, creative people with individualized skills, or that they are interchangeable cogs. (It’s the first. If you disagree, you won’t enjoy the rest of the article!) The more you can understand and utilize peoples’ individual strengths, the more productive they will be as individuals, and the stronger they will perform as a team.
Getting People to Care. The bottom line is that your job as a leader is to get people at all levels in your organization to personally care about the work. In the webinar, we talked about several ways to do this.
Outsourcing: Organizations who outsource work to a “lower cost workforce” and treat the remote team like “resources” fail. Leaders who outsource work to a “lower cost workforce” and treat the remote team like people – like unique, creative individuals are successful. I have seen many instances of both.
Clarity and Alignment
Remove Uncertainty. One of the most important jobs of a leader is to remove uncertainty. Uncertainty is demotivating and expensive. People need to know clearly what is expected of them. Vague, fuzzy intentions and indecision kills productivity and morale.
Measures and Goals. Having the right, clear measures and goals actually increases motivation (not to mention performance). People like to know where the finish line is and how success will be measured. And they love to finish things! We talked about how to pick and measure the right things.
Clear Job Descriptions. Beyond clear plans and goals, having clear job descriptions for individuals ensures that people not only understand what needs to be done, but what excellence looks like (in contrast to average or poor performance) in their role. This webinar includes an excellent role definition worksheet which helps define and clarify the true expectations of a high performer.
Communicate for momentum
Consistency. There is no more important leadership behavior than to communicate. We covered techniques for communicating strategy and measures, so people feel ongoing support to act in the new way that the business needs. The webinar includes several worksheets to plan your communications.
Confidence. People like to feel like they are in the loop. Consistent communication builds confidence and community in addition to sharing information.
Keep it going. The pull for people to go back to the old way of doing things is incredibly strong. Without steady (so steady you are bored with it) communications, as well as reporting on how you are progressing, people will not believe you are serious — they will get nervous, and they will go back to what they were doing before.
Connecting the Dots. Taking time to explain to people why their work matters, and how it serves the bigger picture, business strategy is a huge motivator. People want to know that their work matters. Meaning has been proven to be even more motivating than money. Make sure you can, and do, explain to people why their work matters.
Team Building – In Person and Remote. Although it is more difficult to do team building exercises with remote and geographically dispersed teams, we talked about some ways to do this — and that you shouldn’t skip it. The more people know eachother personally and the more they feel like a team, the more motivated and productive they will be.
Leading a New Team. As a new leader to a team, it’s important to establish a connection with your new team that gives them confidence, and motivates them to care about helping you. We talked about a few ideas for how to engage your new team quickly, and get their help while you are learning the business.
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)