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  • Writer's pictureColin Christensen

Making Leadership Suck Less

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

Once a business or a team starts on a negative spiral, it can be difficult to turn the momentum around.

I'm here to encourage you: It can be done.

Last we talked about a few tips to start turning the spiral to your advantage. I want to help deepen that understanding today.

Michael Hyatt refers to a concept called the drift. Life has a current and if you aren't choosing your own way, you will get taken somewhere you likely won't want to be. Business is the same way. Our business is always moving. If we don't lead it, it will go where it wants and we may not like the results. Stagnation = death.

The image above depicts a couple of scenarios. I can assure you that you are on one or the other.

What usually happens over time in most businesses is performance drifts. When performance drifts, as leaders we want to get it back on track so we put some Key Performance Indicators in place hoping the team will follow them and start working harder to achieve them. The team feels that lack of trust and start to disengage. You feel like you're losing control and round and round it goes, spiraling lower and lower and along the way, you feel your leadership becomes more and more of a burden.

Most businesses are somewhere along this continuum of suck. If you listen closely you can hear that flushing sound. It is very disheartening. We got into business to change the world and to revolutionize the way your industry is run. And now, you seem to be focusing more on keeping the wheels on and hoping the team keeps up their part of the bargain by working for the money you are paying them.

Would it not be better to experience the BETTER scenario? You meet some basic needs of the team and they feel like you are extending some trust. All of a sudden communication starts to improve, you feel confident enough to extend some autonomy and the performance improves and as this cycles up and better, your leadership becomes more of a joy and life gets better. Most importantly, that sucking noise goes away.

As the image above shows, starting with meeting some of the basic needs of your team is the beginning of the turn around.

I suggest meeting with your direct reports and get to know what drives them. What sort of things fill their buckets and what empties their buckets? (here is the bucket list article) In other words, what motivates them and gets them excited about coming to work for you each day? Some hints can be found within the 40+ year study done by Gallup on Employee engagement.

Some basic needs are:

  • I have the tools and materials needed to do a good job

  • Someone cares about me as a person

  • Receiving recognition of good work each week

  • My opinions count

Because both directions have momentum. By simply starting and being consistent in meeting some of these basic needs, you will quickly see the shift.

Give it a try, you'll be happy you did.


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