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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 192 – How You Will Know You Are On Thin Ice As The Leader

Dear leaders, I have recently written a number of leaders letters that you have told me have resonated with you, from: 

Today’s leadership newsletter will make you take the time to analyse and your improve leadership skills. 

It makes my day when I receive feedback on the newsletters, I will always invite replies to my newsletters, to discuss the topic, and see where you have rolled something out or where you might be struggling and need a quick pointer. 

Since the turn of the year, there has been a theme of replies and they can be bucketed as:   

How Do I Know If I’m On Thin Ice As A Leader? 

Although each environment is slightly different; there are common themes that come up and there should be a series of warning signs you’ll spot or worryingly you could be blind to. 

From experiences here is a breakdown of the standard signs:  

  • Performance
    • Poor company performance 
    • Poor performance from direct reports
    • Bad decisions or poorly timed decisions leads to poor performance 
  • Communications
    • Waiting for everyone else to catch you up on the important updates
    • When you are days behind in communications (email, slack etc) and it impacts how the business operates 
  • Offbeat
    • When you are not in the same rhythm as the company
    • When decisions drive larger heartbeats jumps and is like a shock wave through the business   
  • Stagnation
    • Status quo from your team (if department lead) 
    • Projects and product(s) stagnate from decisions or lack of clarity 
  • Trust
    • Lack of trust among your colleagues 
    • Being uninvited / removed from meetings 
  • Feedback
    • More feedback from colleagues 
    • No feedback from colleagues and direct reports 
  • Discipline
    • HR issues and common HR issues 
    • Team members misbehave as they have seen others being rewarded for these behaviours in previous promotions 
  • Crisis Mode
    • Everything seems to be the highest stake meeting 
    • Everything is urgent or a crisis 

Leaders Duty

There is often a blend of the eight themes above, most often leaders are undone by their miscommunication and the lack of clarity and repetition of their important decisions. It is the Leadership Team’s duty to address the misfiring of the teams below them and build trust between internal customers and external customers constantly. 

Leadership IS

Leadership is incredibly challenging, and making the right and smart long-term decisions comes under the microscope of the business frequently especially the larger the business is, the more investors, advisors and shareholders evaluate you, one shift in the market and you will be under fire. 

Your Decisions To Delivery Hole 

In business leadership roles, there are thousands of ‘micro-decisions’ you make every day as a leader, you make what feels like small decisions and your business then gives them inflated weight, you are often judged on bad decisions part of your core team makes and frequently the disconnection between your leadership team and their department and team heads cause big directional shifts. 

AUDIT TIME! 

It is how you understand and improve: 

  • What is happening (not just the numbers – this is issue number one of bad leadership)    
  • The behaviours of you and the teams below you – if key individuals are causing the problems or allowing bad behaviours you will need to make hard decisions of keeping and improving them quickly or removing them to ensure improvements 
  • How you got to this situation as a timeline is critical to turning the problems around and addressing the majority of the issues 

Most leaders do not dedicate the time and then the resources to address the issues and core traits within the business, this is what makes the top 10% of leaders. Move into the top 10% and address the issues and audit performance of the business, the teams and the people. Get under the skin and inside the culture of the business to drive positive change within the business. 

This week’s focus action is to: 

  • Short Term: Dedicate the time to audit what is happening and not happening within the business and in your leadership 
  • Mid Term: Create an action committee from around you and your trusted team members to create the next steps and hold everyone accountable 
  • Long Term: Admit things were not perfect and present the actions under the 5 pillars you are changing and why these are changing 

Have a great week stepping up and being the leader you want to be and need to be, I will land in your inbox next week

Thanks,

Danny Denhard