Five Questions to Propel Your Leadership Forward

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Running a business is more difficult today than ever before. If you’re a CEO or President, you have to worry about revenues, ROI, personnel, product development or service enhancements, and most challenging of all, creating satisfied and repeat customers. But if you’re a first-time manager, you often don’t get the training you need to be effective – most often, first-timers are thrown into management roles due to timing or need. If you don’t have a mentor or a cheat sheet nearby, there are five questions you should memorize to be a good manager and leader.

leadership

photo credit: lumaxart via photopin cc

Despite the myriad of books that address the manager vs. leader debate, for this post, let’s agree that if you’re a new supervisor with employees who report to you, then you must step up and lead them. Your team members need direction, vision, answers, and a clear understanding of how they fit into the overall company picture.

Leigh Branham wrote in his book, The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It’s Too Late: “As the saying goes, people join companies, but they leave managers.”

Liz Weber wrote in her book, Something Needs to Change Around Here, The Five Stages to Leveraging Your Leadership: “Being a manager or a leader is a privilege. It’s an honor to have others respect your abilities enough to allow you to lead them. It’s an honor to have others trust you to guide them and support them as you work together.”

So, if you want to be a good leader, you need to create an environment where open communication and transparency are noticeable 100% of the time. Day in and day out – not just at review time.

As a new leader, create a tool chest of leadership tips. Once you start supervising, you will notice that everyone you encounter will offer advice. Listen to everyone and then choose what works for you and your leadership style.

But as a leader, there is no doubt as to what your number one priority should be: to provide a work environment where your employees excel. Here are five questions to add to your tool chest to facilitate open communication between you and your employees so that a great work environment exists:

  1. What are the resources you need to do your job?
  2. Are there any roadblocks to your success? If yes, how can we remove those roadblocks?
  3. Can everyone on our team rally behind this project? If no, why not?
  4. Do you want more responsibility? What would you like to do that you’re currently not doing?
  5. How can I help you to be more productive, collaborative, dedicated, etc.?

In the words of Aditi Chopra, “Managing people is not just a career, it’s a rewarding career.” But, you need to work at it daily and never phone it in. In order to become the best leader possible, review your experiences and accomplishments on a regular basis. What worked well? What can you improve? Above all, which employees helped your team to succeed, and how were they recognized?

Do you have a question to add to this list?

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Debbie Laskey
Debbie Laskey has 15 years of marketing experience and an MBA Degree. She developed her marketing expertise while working in the high-tech industry, the Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France, the non-profit arena, and the insurance industry. Her expertise includes brand marketing, social media, employee engagement, leadership development, and customer experience marketing. Currently, Debbie is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Exceptional Children's Foundation in Los Angeles. Since 2002, Debbie has served as a judge for the Web Marketing Association’s annual web award competition and has also been recognized as one of the "Top 100 Branding Experts" to follow on Twitter.
Debbie Laskey

@DebbieLaskeyMBA

Marketing & Brand Strategist - tweets focus on marketing, branding, management, leadership, customer experiences, employee engagement, and social media.
Can all your employees state your competitive advantage? They can if they work for Zappos, Starbucks or Southwest. #brandtip - 1 hour ago
Debbie Laskey
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Comments

  1. Well done Debbie, unfortunately too many in today's business culture confuse leadership with power. You bring up some great points here defining the role of leader. Love the line "people join companies, but they leave managers." Excellent…thanks

  2. Debbie,

    Great point – 5 good questions.

    I think the accepted definition/answer of what it means to "excel" has changed, and is changing. But a topic for another post.

    Your words: "So, if you want to be a good leader, you need to create an environment where open communication and transparency are noticeable 100% of the time."

    Social media – and practicing good social business – is a catalyst to that.

    Thanks for sharing,

    ~Keri

  3. To be a good leader, you have to be a human being with a knack for honesty and ethics.

  4. Simply but effective!

    The biggest lesson for a manager is that they cannot do it all by themselves. These 5 points certainly will help new managers hopefully ask the relevant questions as to how they can ensure that the team come with them.

    From my experience, some of the biggest lessons I learnt early on were from the managers who were not so great around the 5 points, and what I would do differently to make the difference.

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