Key Components of Leadership

Asking questions to engage others, listening, and acknowledging what you heard, are  key components for leadership success.

Dear Leaders,

Do you truly know what’s happening in the workplace?  You may be on top project plans, deliverables, customer rosters, and status updates, but what about having a sense of how and what employees and staff are feeling and hearing?

As a leader, it’s important to be aware of the pulse on the floor.  We’re not talking about gossip, (although that will impact behaviors and attitudes), but rather how the staff feels about the work environment in general.  Some key areas of impact include:

  • Workload management
  • Team support
  • Matrix management
  • Deadline dependencies
  • Personal issues impacting work
  • Critical skills/knowledge
  • Workplace conflicts

Some leaders have a gift for “being in the know”; they may have an open door policy that invites informal exchanges, they may be viewed as a good listener, or they may just have team members that want to keep them informed.

Not all leaders are as fortunate and could benefit by taking advantage of break-room and hallway chats.  This doesn’t come natural for some, so John McKee, author for IT Leadership, shares his favorite 7 questions to engage others to “get in the know”:

  1. What’s the biggest issue on your plate right now?
  2. If I could do just one thing to make you more successful, what would it be?
  3. What’s the dumbest thing the company (or department) is doing (or working on)?
  4. If you had my job what would you focus on?
  5. What’s waking you up at night?
  6. Do you have the tools and resources you need to do your job in the best possible way?
  7. How can I help you to be more successful?

Another idea is to ask each team member to give a 60 second update during staff meetings; the intent is to share their opinion of the pulse of the business, and provide them with an opportunity to share something about their personal life.

Make sure you’re “in the know” – open lines of communication builds trust, promotes success, and grows the bottom line!