"Think before you communicate." Simple words with great impact shared with me from the CEO of a Warren Buffet owned company. What new ways of thinking are you contemplating for this year? With business ideas moving faster than ever before on channels never envisioned, it's crucial to focus on making your personal development a priority for the coming year. You've cut costs and cleaned the inventory pantry creating pressure on productivity gains. Now the pressure is on you for development and production to be a better boss.
Take stock of your professional role, priorities and influence as you run your gazelle-like business. What worked well for you this year? What changes did you make in your leadership style that made you more effective? What did you try for the first time this year? Here are some quick take-away points.
- Practice being happy to see people at work. Start to greet your own direct reports and other employees by name, and make sure they know you are glad to see them, even as you pass them in the hallway. Consistently taking this one step will round off the edges of future disagreements.
- Keep yourself from being reactive. When a team member shares a situation with you, don't assume your input or help is needed. First ask if they would like you to take action or are just seeking your empathy. If empathy is called for, listen actively and give them encouragement. If action is requested, consciously decide whether or not to get involved, or whether your time is better spent counseling the team member to try it on their own. In short, resist the urge to get involved in everything. Sometimes, holding back will give you the time and space you need, and will help your team grow in new ways.
- Get buy-in where possible, but ultimately you must make the call. It is common leadership knowledge that improved results occur if your team buys in to the plan, project or decision. Authentic collaboration is priceless, right? The fact is, you waste time gaining input on something non-negotiable. I recently worked with a CEO who had a bank mandate that was needed to maintain a line of credit. The executive team had no idea of this new requirement and it was a waste of time to do anything other than inform the team and list it with other priorities. In this instance, the CEO allowed the team to order rank all priorities and therefore have some input. The approach saved time and kept the team moving – and that, after all, is what gazelles do.