How do they influence your team?
In my continuing effort to improve my skills as a manager, instructor, and influencer, I expose myself to a wide variety of ideas and perspectives to make better decisions. I am a firm believer in learning as broadly as possible where I attempt not to exclude potential information simply because it is outside my intellectual comfort zone.
Some of my key discoveries have been with concepts that I thought would not have any impact or relevance in the workplace. But I’ve learned over the years that seemingly unrelated topics can be integrated and applied to create innovative solutions. There are gems of information yet to be discovered that can help us significantly. Lifelong learning will help you find those gems.
Pursuing lifelong learning keeps you from remaining a “status quo” person or manager. Lifelong learning is a path which we should embrace. It keeps us out of our comfort zone. As managers, we should identify our roles and responsibilities to become better at our craft. This allows us to create a process to become better at what we do.
Our roles and responsibilities as managers can be identified by several traits. I’ve created a list of traits which you can use to become a better manager. It is a fundamental list of traits which I challenge myself to live by. They are good for our professional lives and they can make work a fun place to be. Each trait provides a good foundation for managing people and living your life.
- Curiosity: Being curious leads us not to accept the status quo. We question every aspect of the workplace. It could be processes, hierarchy, alternative solutions, or anything else that we must address. Curiosity leads to new discoveries and more importantly, new solutions.
- Motivation: Most people are good fraud detectors; particularly at work. We assess and judge peoples’ motivation daily. We have a good feeling if a person is being genuine or if they are simply going through the motions. Assess what drives your motivation and evaluate how it will be assessed by others on your team. Your motivation should be for achieving the greater good for the benefit of your team, yourself, and the organization. Don’t fake motivation.
- Influence: This is the basis of leadership. In order to lead others, you must be able to influence them. This influence can be built upon relationships or a title.
- If your leadership is based upon your position, then your influence is limited. Your team may only do what is required of them since the work relationship is based on a title. There is little emotional investment involved.
- If your leadership is built on a work-based relationship, you will have a significantly higher level of influence with your team. They will perform well beyond the minimum since you have taken the time to invest in a working relationship where they know you care about them personally. They will work much harder and accomplish more for you. Be genuine in developing these important relationships.
- Collaboration: Reach out to your team for solutions. This allows you to build good work relationships while clearly demonstrating that you trust them. Trust is foundational in demonstrating that you are committed to the team and their contributions.
- Analysis: Take an objective approach to solving problems. Attempt to find data, related research, or case studies which are applicable to your situation. Go outside of your profession to seek out this information. The process may lead you and your team to a better solution.
- Mission: Let your team clearly understand the goals of the team. They need to know the answer to the “Why are we here?” This simple question allows you to describe the mission of the team. More importantly, the question reveals to each team member their role in accomplishing the mission. Today’s employee must understand their contributions to the team. If not, they will leave.
The list is not comprehensive, but it is a starting point if you do not have a plan of action for your team. Begin with one trait that you need to improve. Remember that small wins lead to larger victories.
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Al Cobos is the owner and lead consultant for Dychelon which improves team performance and promotes successful team building. Al has successfully built teams over the past two decades. He has over thirty years of public sector experience in addition to teaching for several universities. His focus is to improve people in their personal and professional lives.