Your employees will make or break you this year. What have you done to prepare them for success?
As a business owner or leader, it’s easy for you to get caught up in believing that your success is all up to you. You’re the one who put your money on the line. You’re the one who developed your practice’s strategic plan. You hired the people, laid out their training, and got them fired up about what you were doing. You’re the one who lays awake at night worried that something will go wrong – and you’re constantly coming up with better ways to get the job done.
Yet intellectually we know that your practice’s success comes down to how well your people play the game. Do you have a team of star performers? Is a team full of go-getters out to prove something? Or a bunch of folks who have lost their passion for the dream? Your success ultimately depends on the people you hire.
But you know that, don’t you? Hiring a person is one thing. Inspiring them to achieve great things, that’s a whole different way of leading.
Many of my clients believe that 80 percent of the job is done when they finally hire the right person. “All I have to do,” they tell me, “is find that one person who can come in and save the day. Then I’ll be able to kick back and watch the problems go away.” But that’s not how it works, does it? You hire the right person, and the next thing you know they want something from you. They want a powerful vision, consistency, recognition, and support. They may even ask you to jump in and solve some problems or close a few deals. If you’re lucky, they bring a whole bunch of new opportunities that cause problems in other parts of the organization. Growth often does that.
So, I ask again: what have you done as a leader to prepare your people for massive success this year? This month is the perfect time to sit down and ask your employees what they need to be brilliant. When they shine at what they’re doing, so do you.
Here are a few strategies to use this month to get the most from the people who work with you.
1. Ask them what they want to accomplish in the next 6 months.
Too many leaders walk into their team meetings with an entire laundry list of how things are going to change. The leader has taken the time to set big goals, so they stand-in
front of the room and bark out orders.
Yes, you need to take the time to set inspiring goals. But what you really need is for them to believe in what you’re doing. They need to see how your goal ties into what they want. It’s the “What’s in it for me?” syndrome. Only then will they put in the extra effort to blow past expectations.
Do you even know what your people want to accomplish? This week take the time to talk with each of your direct reports and ask them what they want to achieve in the next 6 months. Even if you’ve spent the last quarter preparing for the year and everyone has their annual plans laid out, find out how reaching those goals is personal for them. Unless you uncover what inspires them, what gets their hearts pumping, you’ll have an uphill battle to fight all year long.
2. Ask them what they need to get the job done.
All leaders today must shift their focus from being a firefighter to being the obstacle remover. It’s your job to figure out what prevents your people from being brilliant and then clear the path. If one of your team members wants to achieve 120% of his quota, ask him what will get in his way of accomplishing this goal. Then do everything in your power to remove everything that stands in his way.
This is the year you create an environment where your people can be brilliant. All the time. Your people will thank you. And so will your bottom line.