Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” – Warren Bennis

Whether you are a high powered executive, manager, entrepreneur, or president of a volunteer organization, your success will be defined by two things: 1) Letting people know they matter and 2) Setting clear expectations for them to follow. If you don’t have both of these 2 principles in place before your employees/volunteers start a project, I can guarantee you that you’ll soon hit a brick wail called “Lack of Communication.”

A lot of executives automatically ‘assume’ that their department heads or higher managers automatically know everything they need to know to carry out instructions without actually telling them what needs to be done. Well, we all know the outcome of how things will be if we use that lovely word ‘assume’, don’t we? Somebody is going to end up with egg on their face because a ball got dropped somewhere along the line!

You, as the person in charge, know what you want, but it’s up to you to clearly define your expectations to your team right from day one. The outcome may be crystal clear in your mind, but if not translated into clearly defined steps and written on paper, your message may be as muddy as the good ol’ Mississippi!

If you want to enroll others in your vision and get maximum participation, you have to write out the context of the steps for others to follow. There’s a reason why we call this a ‘clarity’ statement – it not only defines your desires, it also opens the door to another important step called ‘communication’.

Here are some steps that will help you ensure the teamwork, productivity, and positive end results you need to create success in your business.

1. You have to get real clear about where you’re going and what you want the final outcome to be before you ever present it to your team. If you’re not sure about where you are going, do you think they are going to follow you? I don’t think so Alice! Get the “W’s” down pat beforehand – Who will do what, when, and where and how it will all come together at the end.

2. Meet with your team to discuss your proposed new plan and tell them how it is going to work. Have a detailed agenda in place so as not to waste your time or theirs. Scheduling meetings with your key players creates a synergy and allows them to freely offer ideas and possibilities that you might very well not have thought of in your original concept. (There’s that word ‘communication’ explained.)

3. Be sure to set clear guidelines for who is responsible for doing what and when you expect it to be finished. Make sure that team members are clear about their roles so you won’t hear “I thought Mary was taking care of that!” when something doesn’t get finished.

4. Be sure you have a verbal commitment from your team that they’re on board for the project. Schedule follow-up meetings and weekly check-ins to keep the project on deadline. And speaking of deadlines, be specific about the date you expect to have everything completed by.

5. Lastly, offer your support and then get out of the way and let them do their stuff. No one likes to be micro-managed or feel as if their leader is breathing down their neck all the time! Words of encouragement go a long way to fostering good personal relations and they go down a heck of a lot easier than words of condemnation do. Remember, success is building relationships, not tearing them down.

All of the great leaders of our time had a clearly defined plan. In addition, they had an innate ability to communicate that plan to others in order to receive the results they desired. It just makes good business sense that you, as the leader, do the same.

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