Are You Fighting Fires or Tending To Your Garden?

by blogadmin 10. November 2017 02:23

How many disasters have you dealt with this week? How many relationships had to be rescued? Who had to redo their work, explain numbers, or cut corners?

Leaders and professionals, ask yourself this: Are you nearing or at a point where firefighting is standard operating procedure? If so, things were not done right the first time around. Too often, businesses get stuck in the vicious cycle of rework, shortcuts, and lengthened deadlines. This puts them at risk for stressed-out employees, customer problems, a damaged brand, and ethics issues. How then do we change our leadership and working style from the on-edge firefighter to that of the happy gardener?
 
The happy gardener has done his or her best to nurture their plants the minute the seed was placed in the ground. Careful watering, weeding, pruning, and cultivating leads to fruit, flowers, and a lush garden. In the same way, high producing and results oriented employees thrive when nurtured by great leaders and fellow team members. Just as in a seed, there is great potential inside of everyone, and great leaders help bring it out in 4 ways according to Terry Lee: training, connecting, challenging, and coaching.
 
1. TRAINING
 Great leaders know that effective training is how to marry existing knowledge with the strategy of a company. Working with team members to identify what training is going to position them to be most successful now and in the future is crucial. Prior to training, leaders should sit down with team members to discuss goals, expectations, and takeaways from the training. Upon finishing, leaders should again meet with team members to implement action planning while the information is still fresh. Post training meetings turn ideas into action.
 
2.  CONNECTING
Helping team members connect the dots in another action of great leaders. Help others to understand why each area or department is extremely important to the mission of the company. Great leaders understand the whole mission and are adept at articulating that message in a consistent, authentic, and relative manner. 
 
3.  CHALLENGING
Extrinsic motivation - public praise, more money, and prizes aren't enough to motivate team members. Intrinsic motivation - purpose, autonomy, and mastery are just as important. Mastery implies the opportunity to really get good at something. In order to be really good at something, you must be presented with challenges that excite you to find the solution. And, solutions satisfy purpose.
 
4.  COACHING
When faced with challenges, it's good to have a good "guide on the side" to help you through. Great leaders, helpful colleagues, and insightful coaches meet you where are. They help you identify what options you may have to reach goals and then sets appropriate challenges to lead you to that success.
 
So, to help your company sustain focus and build for the long-term, the firefighting leader, instead of being an impulsive judge, will become more like a gardener, counseling, guiding, and connecting with team members on a day-to-day basis, learning from them and with them.
 
Personal Application:
-Have you defined clearly to your team members what you are promising to deliver to your customers, so they know what they should strive to deliver?
-How often do you come up with poorly thought out quick fixes that consume time, leave less time for core work, and cause confusion about expectations?
-What steps can you take today to train, guide, and nurture rather than judge, add checkpoints, or escalate issues?

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