Many people make fun of reality shows… and the joke in my home is everyone knows what room I’ve been in because when they turn on the TV a reality show pops up! The truth is, I love people-watching and listening… to a degree… and there is much to be learned through examining interactions with an outside perspective. I recently watched a show where a boss met with an executive leader to get a better grasp on his team/organization and asked, “Tell me about the team?”. The answer was negative, all over the place, and generic to say the least. Why? The question itself was lazy! As a leader within your organization, I’m sure you do your fair share of evaluating, assessing, and questioning of leaders, how their team is functioning, and the overall state of production. So, how to fine-tune the process; enhancing not only your Leadership & Work/Life Harmony… but also that of the leaders under you, and their employees?
Let’s go back to the lazy question, “Tell me about the team.” and its downside. Because the question is so broad, the person responding may not know what you want to hear or know; therefore, they may go on a disorganized tangent that frustrates you and exhausts them, they may provide too little information that frustrates you, they may operate off their emotion of the minute… sharing only negatives due to recent frustration or only positives due to recent adulation. I could go on, but you get the point!
As a leader seeking to assess, I find it best to set regularly scheduled meetings with your team leaders. You will have to decide what “regular” means for you. Is it weekly, monthly, quarterly? It may make sense to start more frequently with a new leader until they can find their footing; then lengthening times between Assessment Meetings. It’s also helpful they know “what and who” the meeting will be about; allowing them time to properly assess individuals… rather than spouting off their emotions of the minute!
In any case, here are 3 simple questions; allowing answers to enhance your leadership, their leadership, and your team:
- What do you like about ____(the person)_____? What are they doing great or good?
- What could they stand to fine-tune; allowing us to achieve our vision, enhancing our team, and evolving them personally?
- What’s your plan for your leadership and for them… marrying the two to help achieve this?
Remember, leaders build other leaders! The first question starts the meeting and conversation with positives; doing a favor to your meeting not to start with negativity and also forces your leaders to think and say something positive… as they are used to flying around at mock speed putting out fires and burning-out. The second question implies EVERYONE and ANYONE can get better; including your leaders… taking you and your team closer to the desired vision, goal, and beyond! It also is focused on impacting your people as employees and people… employees and teammates may be getting their tasks done, but it doesn’t mean people are being positive, polite, courteous, and don’t want to rip each other’s heads off! The third question makes the leader you’re meeting with step-up and lead. They’ve heard themselves say the good, the concern to fine-tune… and are now challenged to come up with a plan of action, share it, and evaluate it to create wins for their leadership, for their people, and ultimately the organization.
This leads us to the All-Important “Follow-Through Meetings”! Leaving the meeting, the leader answering the questions will have a clearer view of the individuals on their team. It’s now time to schedule and conduct regular 1-on-1 Meetings with those employees. Remember my Leader’s 1-on-1 Meetings… it’s not all about shoving the company’s goals and metrics down their throat and expecting them to be excited about it.
- Share the P.O.W. – The Positive of the Week – you go first!
- Ask what they want to get out of today’s meeting
- Marry their goal with your new plan of action
- Ask, “What was your biggest takeaway from today’s meeting?”
Follow-Through as a leader is everything… or else great ideas die, motivation fizzles, and plans become undone! As the top leader, be sure to follow-up and have your Assessment Meetings regularly (by a definition that fits your team and organization) … it will work wonders!
Earlier I mentioned your team or employees may be completing their tasks, but may want to rip each other’s heads off. Of course, that will happen with any team as people share conflicting ideas, professionally challenge each other, and compete for positions, raises, etc. However, when it’s happening all the time, going against your desired culture, and negatively impacting the vision, mission, and goals… it’s a problem!
In your Assessment Meeting, you’ve already covered the Individual Focus… now focus on the team as a whole by asking, “On a scale 1-10 (10 being the best), how’s the team working together; regarding positive interaction, meeting deadlines, and coming up with new and creative ways to make an impact?”. These are my Power 3 related to my Vision, Expectations, and Rules… feel free to use your own. Whatever the rating… ask them to explain what their rating number meant to them and what would it take to move up a number or two?
The number they share may surprise you! Their explanation may surprise you! And, what they believe will take the team up a number or two may blow your doors off… or not. Either way, you get a great answer to either accept and implement, fine-tune and implement, or coach and implement!
Assessments matter, ratings matter, and hopefully my Leader’s Assessment has added a few new tools to your arsenal; allowing you to enhance your Leadership & Work/Life Harmony… and that of your leaders and teams!
“Follow-Through as a leader is everything… or else great ideas die, motivation fizzles, and plans become undone!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
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