Leaders are always confronting varying degrees of uncertainty, real or created in their own minds. When to scale, what the competition is doing, will this new idea work–all of these questions and many variations seem to be the soundtrack of a leader’s mind. One often-overlooked constant is employees looking to their superiors for guidance and comfort.
One question which should be on the leader’s playlist is, “How are my actions impacting the team?”
Accountability. Inspection of Performance. Meeting goals.
I would say every company focuses on these things to ensure long time success. I would also say that many leaders focus on these three things looking down the employee chain of command, while forgetting to look inwards.
When one earns a top position, or heads up a department, there is so much focus on the team, that it becomes easy to forget to self-reflect their own actions and their impact on the team. Conversations focus on the team and frontline staff regarding performance and accountability.
Should you not perform the same inspection process on the top people, or if you are running the team, on yourself as you would other team members?
If your team or company is not performing, you need to have an inspection process for every facet of the business. You especially need to look in the mirror and see if you are delivering on your specific process and duties.
As I was writing this, I was reminded of a presentation I had given at a conference. One of my action points was reminding attendees to find their North Star again.
A leader’s or company’s North Star is the original idea for starting the business or goals for a team. How many times when we’re not getting the performance out of our team do we look outwards for explanations or excuses why we aren’t achieving? We lose our North Star and begin to look at our competition and say “Well they’re doing this” or “It’s the market” or any other focal point instead of taking responsibility to look at what you’re doing that got the results you are not happy with.
Your team is taking their cue from your energy. If you seem scattered or over emotional they grow concerned. If every day a new idea is brought to the table with a sense of “Let’s try this” it causes unrest. Think of seeing a pilot panicking during turbulence, I think we all would be concerned. But seeing you in control, as if you have handled this a million times gives them comfort we are in good hands.
Actions cause results. If you are not happy with the results, look at what you did to get there. Then decide what you need to do moving forward to get the results you desire.
Leaders: Take the time to look for any gaps in your own performance. Are you delivering on all of the tasks you need to in order to make the team function as it should? Next look for any disconnects in your marketing strategy or your sales strategy. You may have to get everyone together to remind them of their North Star to unify their actions.
One tip is to bring everyone in a room and map out the customer journey as it intersects with your brand.
- Why should someone buy from us?
- What is unique about us?
- What service do we deliver?
- What channels are we pushing a message out through?
- What is connecting to consumers?
- What happens when someone contacts the company?
- How are we delivering value beyond the purchase?
- How are we getting testimonials from our customers so we can leverage their enthusiasm?
By taking the time to work through all of these steps it will remove any friction in the process and get everyone back aligned on the message/importance of your product or service, resulting in an effective and efficient team.
Only looking downstream will allow you to miss many areas that need improvement at the top. For those leading, looking into the mirror is hard at times but without constant accountability at all levels, you will lose track of your North Star and end up not even close to your desired destination.
If you found value I would appreciate it if you could share it with your friends and co-workers. If I can be of service please let me know.
Be safe out there.