Outside-In® Chronicles: a throwback post, originally published five years ago in January 2010
Leaders often ask me about how they can be a better leader tomorrow. What can they do right now to have impact on their business. I find the key is to know how to plan and approach leadership actions creatively. Still not sure what I mean? Leaders do stuff — they are in meetings, they make and take phone calls, they solve problems, etc. As a leader you could spend all day reacting to the world around you. In fact, it never stops coming. All day long the cell phone rings and the inbox fills up. Yet this is not leadership. And it’s certainly not planned, thoughtful leadership. Leadership planning is a way to have a real impact. To be proactive and creative in improving the lives of your employees and the productivity they can achieve.
No matter what industry you are in, you will inevitably have customers, employees, vendors and prospects in your day. The best way to plan? Let’s start by thinking about any employee. What do they need right now? A compliment? Recognition? A tough talk? Someone to listen? Training? Your job is to eliminate barriers for your employees while holding them accountable, to remind people that they have something to learn, let them know you’re there to help and that you care.
Still not so sure what to do? Think about your customers next. Who can use a proactive call from you. Have you pulled the team together just to talk about a customer when there is not a problem? This is where the real opportunity lies.
- Leadership planning is scheduled time.
- Leadership planning involves critical thinking.
- Leadership planning can be exciting and creative if you know how.
- Leadership planning is a basic skill that can change your world. And your employees.
Do this homework assignment on a Sunday night.
- Take out a note pad. Right out your top to do’s for the week/Monday.
- Analyze the list. How much is recurring or just work to do?
- Make a list for an employee or special project.
- Think about them. What do they need from you to be more successful?
- Make plans.
Remember we all can get better, all of the time. And we will if our leaders can impact us in a meaningful way.
Need help to have real impact or want to share your ideas with others? Would love to hear more from you; we all have something to learn!