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How to Accelerate Leadership Effectiveness

August 1, 2013

Blog Topic

Tom replaced the medium sized mining company’s former chief operating officer, who had fallen seriously ill.

Less than two months later Tom felt extremely stressed and was struggling to keep up with his workload. Worst of all he hadn’t had time to get to know the people who were delivering the outputs and results. He barely had time to get to know his six direct reports.

He made a list of all the tasks he had to do and all the tasks he’d prefer to do.

Time for changeHe realised that the tasks he had to do were mainly management tasks, reporting on data, responding to requests from HQ, endless information meetings with various stakeholders, attempting to drain away the constant email tsunami and a host of other bureaucratic bits and pieces.
The tasks he’d prefer to do were about being with his direct reports more often, getting on the ground to see what was actually happening instead of viewing data sheets on results, and getting to really know his people and their state of development, engagement and performance.

He realised he needed help to achieve the right balance and called his favourite coach, who’d helped him prepare for his previous role as a general manager in a very large mining company.

Together they decided on this plan:

  • Identify what could be automated with technology and action that.
  • Identify what could be delegated and action that.
  • Train his PA to handle the email tsunami.
  • Become more willing to say “No” to the information meetings by asking why he needs to be there and why the information couldn’t be delivered in a more effective way.
  • Block out time in his diary to be with his direct reports, both as a group and individually.
  • Ensure that when face to face individually that he asks the following questions:
    • How are you going? - Aimed as a general and opening question to rapidly establish rapport.
    • What have you achieved since we last met? – To see what has occurred as planned.
    • What will you achieve between now and the next time we meet? – To establish the immediate plan.
    • What technical or operational issues do you face and what’s your suggested solution?
    • What people issues do you face (including if any with me) and what’s your suggested solution?
    • What resources do you need for your next steps that you haven’t got?
    • What can I personally do for you? – To demonstrate care and to conclude the session.
  • Block out time to walk the operations to understand the state of the workplace.
  • Block out time to address workgroups regarding values, vision and goals and the state of the business etc.
  • Use technology (e.g. video/social media etc.) to support the above.
  • Gain agreement to introduce performance mastery for everyone.

Tom realised that technology has stolen time from leaders and turned them into managers. This resulted in employee disengagement and lowered productivity. He now had right plan to blend technology and leadership time to reverse the situation.

Within six weeks Tom had regained control of his diary and his people were noticing the change and really appreciating it.

Will you implement something like this too?

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