Archive for the ‘Management’ Category
Recently, I talked with a friend of mine about a challenge in her band. She leads the band, but has had a hard time receiving respect from the rest of the members. Getting them to follow her lead and vision is often wrought with adversity, power challenges, and slow to take hold. Not too long ago, a band crisis ensued. And unexpectedly, the band members complained to her about the seriousness of the issue, looking to her for the solution. Their minds were focused on the problem. They communicated their opinion not only to her, but to each other. The crisis was not a normal disagreement. She knew it needed a solution and a response quickly.
In challenging times, we often want to wallow in that despair along with the team. As team leaders, we sometimes jump in with the group spreading the ill and the darkness, removing hope. It creates an environment that embraces pointing the blame at individuals and endorses behavior that lashes out against one another. This spiral continues by tearing down team members, dividing them, and repelling any true sense of responsible unity that is necessary for a team’s success.
But times like these are not hopeless. And they are not despairing. They are the times most valuable for a leader–when he/she can enter the moment with a hard but right solution and provide stability in a time when it feels unachievable. Mark Udall, one of the current senators for Colorado, provided this lesson from President Ford’s leadership:
President Ford was a devoted, decent man of impeccable integrity who put service to his country before his own self interest. He helped heal our nation during a time of crisis, provided steady leadership and restored people’s faith in the presidency and in government.
When people are at their greatest need, a leader takes control of the situation and becomes the person willing to take the hard steps. They define structure and direction, and paint hope for the near future. While the team is focused on the darkness around and how they feel, a leader wakes them up to a plan and solution. Like President Ford, these moments define the leader in people’s eyes—making the future easier for the leader and the team. They will trust the leader’s judgment better, listen closer, and reduce how often they challenge the leader’s authority. Prior to these trying times, a leader might have been in question. But after these moments, leadership is made clear and claimed.
Be that person coming to save the day for your team. Provide your team with:
- Communicate belief in the team
- Define a solution even if the journey will be hard
- Reiterate behavior that is unacceptable
- Define clear goals and consequences
- Define clear steps for the guilty parties
- Define clear steps for the innocent parties and how they will support the guilty
- Define your own role in keeping the team on task and how you will do the dirty work
- Be willing to take the hardest tasks upon yourself.
- Communicate belief in the team.
- If the hardest task is on someone else, promise to be by their side—encouraging them and supporting them as they tackle their new responsibility.
- Repeat often the goal and realistic achievability of that goal.
- Paint a vision of a time soon to come that is better and full of success or achievement.
- Recognize this is the time when you are needed most.
- Remember that you are less important right now. Although, this post clarifies benefits to a crisis, it’s your team that matter more than this. Providing solution is about your team’s success and growth, not their acceptance of you or your good standing.
Having this mindset brings clarity to what you need to do to take your team to a stronger place. Recognize the moment and seize it.
It’s your time to shine. How are you going to save the day for your team?
I worked for a startup Internet marketing agency here in Nashville, TN named [meta]marketer as an Optimization Specialist until January 2011. My primary role was to manage a team of freelancers who do most of the link building we directed for our search engine optimization (SEO) clients. We paid just above minimum wage. The amount of work fluctuated based on our SEO strategy and client load. Considering the pay scale, most of the people we hired were just out of college or had jobs in areas not related to the tasks for which I hired them. Thus, there’s a lot of training that went with the work. Due to the combination of pay scale and occasional personal financial challenges, it was challenging to keep freelancers motivated with the detail, reptitive work we assigned. Most of the workers were millennials–a.k.a. Generation Y. The exact birth dates for this group vary, but they range between the mid-1970s and mid-2000s (quite broad) (source:Wikipedia).
I attended a presentation today by Travis Robertson, a small business strategist. His discussion was on Millennials in the Workplace. I found it helpful to hear another person’s opinion on how to manage and motivate people in that age range. Often we hear that this generation is lazy, disloyal, and distracted (i.e. A.D.D.). But as Travis points out, they are also considered the most creative and technologically advanced generation. How do you maximize the length and productivity of a millennial? Read the rest of this entry »