Leaders know that every person needs something a little different from their supervisors. Great leaders adjust their leadership approaches to customize to what their people need. Some people need more encouragement, while others need to be left alone.
Some people need frequent feedback, while others don’t like or need much direction.
Some people need public appreciation and recognition, while others prefer to work unnoticed.
Great leaders are smart enough to know that people are individuals, and needs differ by the person and can vary by the day.
What EVERYONE needs from their leadership right now:
- Crystal clear vision. Everyone needs to know where we are going. Leaders need to clearly define the vision so everyone understands where the organization is going in the new year. The vision should be clear enough to be understood and exciting enough to get people enthused about the idea.
- Clarified expectations. Every person must know what they need to do to be successful in the organization. Make sure everyone in the organization knows their roles and responsibilities. Everyone should realize that if they are late on a deadline or don’t do what they are supposed to do, it affects other people. This is a common problem. Even the best leaders sometimes hold up their teams because they left a report unsigned, or they didn’t make a decision in a timely manner.
- Use of deadlines. People not only need to know what they need to do, they need to know when it needs to be done. We have all had situations where we needed a report, some information, or some project-specific numbers by a certain time and date, such as before a big meeting with a new client. If we don’t have the information before that specific meeting, we just don’t need it. If deadlines are not clear, we either lost the client, and therefore the time preparing the information was wasted, or the time was wasted because we couldn’t use the project. Great organizations use deadlines to manage work flow. Leaders help their teams stay on track by implementing systems that include deadlines, and those deadlines are promulgated, known, and adhered to by everyone involved.
- More consistent information. Any time there is confusion or uncertainty people need more information on a more consistent basis. Uncertainty and fear, left alone, leads to speculation, assumptions, and unproductive behaviors. Leaders can mitigate these problems by communicating more frequently. Daily emails, social media blasts, and newsletters need to reinforce the message the lead is conveying. Many people need more than one message to pay attention to the message, so repeating the message more than once is usually necessary.
- Guidance and direction. No one likes working for an arrogant boss, but people do like working for a confident boss. Great leaders have the ability to be calm in a crisis and provide the right guidance to help others move forward. People want to know that their leadership has a plan to move forward. To make sure leaders are considering a variety of options, they can hold town halls and focus groups and to encourage ideas. Once they consider ideas and they make decisions, leaders can increase trust and motivation by making their plans for the future clear and letting people know that they have considered other input.
- Path for Success. People want to do a good job, and they need to have milestones and feedback to help them along the way. People need to know what they need to do so that both they and their supervisors view the milestones as accomplishments.
- Quick wins. Anytime people have stress, they need quick wins. Leaders can help by breaking down large projects into smaller chunks to make the finish line seem closer. If a project is going to take 40 hours, people procrastinate because they don’t have 40 hours right now. Leaders can help by constructing the 40 hour project into 10 four-hour blocks. Completing one block gives people a win. Especially during times of stress, people need to feel a sense of accomplishment. It helps them stay focused, on track, and motivated.
People take their cues from their leadership. When leaders are transparent, motivated, and goal-oriented, their people will be as well.