Leadership Tips for Discovery in Action Alumni + network
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July 2018

Hello and welcome to the July 2018 edition of our Monthly Leadership Tips: your 'once a month'  'bite-sized' chunks of practical leadership wisdom!

This month we share :
We often post the blogs in this publication on Linked In.

Found something useful? Why not pay it forward and share a copy with your colleagues! Forward a copy of this email or send this link to join the DiA Monthly Leadership Tips list!

We also use the content we share each month, in the work we do in our consulting practice. Feel free to get in touch to find out more about anything in this newsletter or other blogs on our website.  Enjoy!

Melanie and Paul Eyres

DiA Discoveries - Sharpening the saw of your leadership practice

We have worked with many people leaders through our Discovery in Action® program – almost 600 people – over the last 10 years. In recent times we’ve become increasingly curious about those factors that seem to hinder consistently good leadership practice, or taking a more positive outlook, the key strengths that underpin great leadership practice. As we’ve reflected on this, while continuing to listen, observe and engage with many leaders a number of key themes are emerging.

We thought it might be helpful to share this emerging list with others, both as a useful frame of reference as well as to continue to test our thinking.  Outlined below is the list of key factors that all need to be present (to a relatively high degree) if an individual is going to excel at people leadership.

The opportunity exists to ask yourself:

  • Where am I at personally in relation to these factors?
  • Which ones need attention?
Here is the summary list:
  1. Purposeful Effort
  2. Leadership Accountability
  3. Understand Personal Drivers
  4. Self Awareness
  5. Skills & Know-how
  6. Leadership theory
Click here to see more detail about these 6 factors in this blog, and to access a diagram to use in a self assessment.

How well do you delegate?

How effective are you at delegating? Which column sounds more like you…?
Column A

  • I clearly communicate the desired outcome and my expectations about standards of performance
  • I am delegating whole pieces of work or an entire job rather than simply tasks and activities
  • I clearly define limits of authority that go with the delegated job (For eg: budget constraints, what can and can’t be changed?)
  • I have confidence that the person to whom I have delegated will deliver the outcome that has been agreed
  • I seek feedback and review progress at appropriate, agreed checkpoints
  • People are coming to me with options and suggestions when a problem exists rather than just asking me for the answer
  • People are willing to put their hand up and take on further challenges
Or Column B
  • My people are continually checking with me about what I have requested
  • The work isn’t being completed and deadlines are being missed
  • I am continuing to work longer hours and not confident of a way forward to rectify this (Am I doing too much myself?)
  • I am regularly correcting the final work I have delegated
  • I am frequently telling people not just what needs to be done, but also how it needs to be done
  • I am delegating things that are not appropriate for others to do, eg performance appraisals and difficult conversations
  • I am frequently checking on where things are up to – more than we had originally agreed

If you answer with mostly ‘yes’s on the first column well done! You have some of the fundamentals in place?

If you answer with mostly ‘yes’ to the second set, these may well be warning signs that something is amiss…

Being an effective delegator is a critical skill set, and one you can develop by paying attention to a simple process.

Want some help?

What follows is firstly, a link to our DiA tips and hints guide on delegation. It provides some practical things you can do right now to improve your delegation capability. It also outlines a simple 5 step delegation process, and has a template you can use when you are next planning and managing a delegation.

Then – why don’t you download this one page visual which helps remind you of these key delegation steps. Print it out and stick it somewhere as a reminder.

Give it a try! Like any skill – effective delegation just takes mindful attention and practice! Click here to see the larger image.

A SIMPLE model of accountability

People leaders often talk about the challenge of keeping their team members accountable. Here is a 'simple' model that uses the SIMPLE acronym to remind you of the pieces of the puzzle that assist with setting people up for success :

Follow a “SIMPLE” process for assigning responsibility

 S = Set Clear Expectations

  • Your team members need to know what is expected of them before they can be held accountable for it. Be clear about what the team member needs to do - ie the what by when and to what standard. Goals help keep us on track. The more clearly these expectations and goals are set up front, the less time will be wasted later clarifying what was really expected.

I = Invite Commitment

  • “Just because your employees know what to do doesn’t mean they’ll do it. After goals and expectations are set, employees need to commit to achieving them.”
  • Your team member is more likely to do this when they ‘buy in’ to the goal; when they have context for each assigned task. Team members are more likely to connect to a goal when they understand how this goal fits into the ‘bigger picture’ and why achieving it really matters.
  • It is also important to allow for frank ‘give and take’ discussions regarding these specifications and limits.

M = Measure Progress

  • If you can’t measure it, the ability to hold someone accountable for an assignment of responsibility will be difficult. Information is needed to hold your employees accountable to the expectations that have been agreed. Make sure the system to monitor progress facilitates opportunities for feedback again these dimensions.

P = Provide Feedback

  • It is essential that people receive feedback about the progress they are making towards the goal. People’s motivation to increase productivity will only occur when they have a challenging goals and receive feedback about the progress they are making towards that goal.
  • People also need an opportunity to understand where they may be falling short of expectations and discuss options for how they can improve performance. Setting expectations followed by quality feedback is the backbone of holding someone accountable for results.
  • Ensure the lines of communication remain open so any risks of potential deviation can be managed appropriately.

L = Link to Consequences (or outcomes)

  • Employees need to understand the consequences of non-delivery – on all stakeholders. Their commitment to delivery of the goal can be enhanced by this understanding.
  • These consequences can also be personal to them. It is important that these consequences are appropriate for the situation, are communicated and understood by all, and if delivery does not occur, they are followed through. This may be uncomfortable for everyone, but fair and reasonable consequences necessary if a culture of accountability is to be maintained.
  • On the flip side, it is also important to share the upside of delivery. Linking to the positive benefits or results on the stakeholder, or the individual personally is also powerful.

E = Evaluate Effectiveness

  • Review whether the goal has been achieved to the standards agreed.
  • Also review the process you followed. What worked? What didn’t? What could be done differently next time?

Click here to see more on this post and to download our tips and hints on holding people accountable.

MBWA - Management by wandering around!

In a previous DiA program celebration + evaluation session (session 7), a DiA alumni recently commented that early in the program, they realised that they weren’t paying enough attention to some of the needs of people in their team. They said ‘my people wanted to see me more on the floor, but it is not my natural instinct to ‘wander without purpose’, but this is what they want; they want me to be more available’. This leader listened, and made some changes that her team really valued, and she found some unexpected benefits along the way!

Often leaders see this ‘wandering’ as ‘hovering’ or an ‘intrusion’, or dare I say it, a ‘waste of time’, but after reframing this ‘wandering’ in their mind, they have seen that this ‘wandering’ can actually become ‘wandering WITH purpose’.  By making more of an effort to get out of their office or come down to a different floor, the are more available and visible to their teams, and as a result, leaders gain a much stronger sense what is happening (and what isn’t!), and stronger sense of what their people need.

Funnily enough, this term ‘wandering’ is actually a formal term – often called MBWA or ‘management by wandering around’. A recent ‘MindTools’ post happened across my desk in the same week as this discussion, and it shared some practical suggestions for how to make this practice an effective one. Click here to read more


Some recent assignments

  • Ran workshops exploring Stakeholder Engagement through Collaboration, Coaching, Feedback and Career Planning
  • Designed and ran customised workshops for an IT team to explore what it takes to be a High Performing Team, and to help build practical workplace 'team' skills;
  • Ran a number of workshops helping teams with business planning
  • Ran a planning workshop for a branch to describe and plan for their ideal culture
Click here to access the Eyres & Associates website to find out what else we do!

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Want to know more?

Visit www.discoveryinaction.com.au to find out more about the Discovery in Action® program, or to get on to the mailing list.

Visit www.eyresandassociates.com.au to find out more about what we do in our consulting business.
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