Getting things done through others

In January, I wrote  about the relationship of Engagement and Accountability.  I hope you have had a chance  to talk about that in your facility and that you found it helpful.

For February, I want to discuss one of the key aspects of leadership: Getting things done through others.

I can’t think of a more basic aspect of leadership that many in supervisor/management positions don’t fully grasp.  When assuming a leadership position, one is no longer an individual contributor.  One’s personal performance is now predominantly a result of the collective performance of those being led, the followers.  Leaders have to move from being a “doer” to an “influencer” and realizing that success as a leader is about getting the most out of those being led.

At times, this “influencing” involves teaching, training, correcting, praising, focusing, and countless other supervisory/manager roles. You can’t get caught up routinely doing the follower’s jobs.  When you get caught up doing those roles, you aren’t fulfilling your role as the leader.  You aren’t having the level of presence or influence across the facility that we need.  I have seen far too many examples the last few years of leaders working really hard doing “followers” jobs.  I am sure there are many reasons, and I can’t tell you enough how much we appreciate your willingness to do what it takes to get things done and lead by example.  If you find yourself in these roles routinely though, that’s not what your facility needs.  We need leaders influencing and driving improvement every day.

Some key questions to ask yourself:

Have you set clear expectations to those you lead and consistently focus your attention on the team meeting those expectations?

Do you routinely go to what you know best in the facility (your comfort zone) or do you provide leadership/influence to all aspects of your responsibility

Do you find yourself getting tied to single issues for extreme periods of time and not managing the entire process (focus on winning a battle and lose a war

Do you fully empower and trust those capable of operating and handling issues or does your crew rely on you to solve all the problems?

Are you actively teaching and training so that others on the crew have your level of knowledge and can soon work independently?

Do you see those on your crew developing and getting better at their roles or are they dependent on your contribution for success?

Do you consider your time on the floor with crew as an investment and deliberately plan where to invest at different points of the day/night?

Do you routinely review performance successes and shortfalls with those you lead to communicate clearly how things are going and where we need to focus?

How does the crew perform when you are not there?

Do you ask a lot of questions to crew members and engage regularly in dialogue regarding operations or do you find it easier to just “do it yourself?

Getting things done through others is a basic leadership skill that we all need to be able to do; both for the success of our facilities as well as quality of life.  Let’s ensure we approach our jobs as supervisors and managers with that in mind.

Thanks again for all you do for our people.  Engaging leadership is the key to sustained success.



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