All entries for Saturday 27 February 2016
February 27, 2016
Since I was leader 4 times this week (lucky me) I had the chance to receive lots of feed back and I learned that giving and receiving feedback is a process of caring and love, because the person giving you feedback only wants the best for you, that person is taking the time to think about you and what things you have done well and what things you need to improve to be even better.
I know sometimes can be difficult to hear which are the improvement areas, but if you just receive them with gratitude, with a possitive mentality they can become focus points to be better. Anyway excellence is a journey sorrounded by the need of continuous change, so by taking your feedback as an input of the process of improving yourself and changing to better, you are just being a living representation of what excellence means.
The leadership and excellence module have thought me lots about humility, transparency, caring and love. At the end, being a leader has lots to do with human aspects, and even though I am task oriented-person, I am more than convinced that there must be a balance between reaching goals and constructing an enviroment in which my people want to work, not because I autocratically impose it but because they want to.
Yesterday was the last day of the module, and once more I had the opportunity to lead, this challenge was more diffucult than the others, since as a leader I was the only one who had read the rules, requirements and characteristics of the task. I was a bit afraid when the excercise started because in the preparation time, I could not finish reading the rules and I had no time to make a plan of action, I came to my team without all the information and without a full understanding of the what to do or how to do it. At the end of the activity the goal, which was to was to identify in one and a half hour, the routes and stops from one city to another, spending only the budget and days allocated while earning at least 1800 points, was not reached.
So, we actually could not win the game. However, now that I reflect on the experience I can see some of the good points I made and also others I need to improve:
First, good ones:
1. Honesty is something really important in a leader, so the first thing I did with my team was tell them that I could not finish reading the rules, that I was sorry about that but that and that I will go back and ask for the folder later and finish reading.
2. I am clear when I explain requirements, so I explained clearly what was the objective of the game, the way to earn points and the rules.
Second, areas for improvement:
1. I need to be able to not follow the details and let the team work more without me, I think this way I empower them more.
2. There was too much discussion and we were moving forward really slowly , I believe it could be better if since the begining, the team was divided into two to define the two routes.
3. I need to control my body to not show my stress, the team should not notice that I am stressed when things are not going as expected. My job as a leader is provide vision and motivate my people to reach that vision.
4. Time management, we did not follow a plan on when to finish certain points, and at the end we were runing and we did not finish the task.
As a conclusion, in any activity that you lead, you need to make the most of the resources you have (information, money, people, time...), and your role as leader is to motivate, inspire and help your people picture the where we are going and get there, without you looking stressed or without you getting into the details of the task. I know the way the leader acts should depent on the situation and the people; however, I am learning that the idea is not to run as a crazy person knowing how to do everything, you need to understand the big picture, the goal, your people but all the solutions dont need to come from you, there is a team with you composed with people with different talents that you must assess so you put them to work in the right area or problem.
There is no need to overstress, explain the objective, empower, motivate your people and trust them. Provide vision, support when they need and learn to step back to see the whole picture, analyse when things need your action and when they dont, and remember your people is valuable and inside them there is a lot of potential to get things done.
During the module there was this seminar about how to make employees loyal to the firm and not to the leader and I link the answer of that question is related to the organisation culture. If the organisation has a culture in which people's intrinsic motivations are addressed, people's carrer and personal grow fit within the organisation's goals, people is valued and recognised and there is respect for the individuals, people should be loyal to the firm. But there is loyalty to the firm because the aspects mentioned above come from the company, its policies, normes, etc., because they are embebed in the way the company lives day to day.
When is just a leader and no the company who provides the culture, then there is a risk that when the leader leaves, the people will want to leave the company too. I have heard about many cases in which when a good leader leaves he takes many of his followers to the new company with him, and for me this happens because it is he and no the company the one addressing the employee needs.
So the challenge here is to help our companies create the culture in which no matter what leaders leave, the people stay because they enjoy working here and they feel valued.