5 Tips to Lead in Today's World

5 Tips to Lead in Today's WorldAs much as we would love for those we lead to leave their personal life at the door when they enter work, it’s not always that easy or possible. There are a lot of things that people are dealing with personally that is not easy to check at the door (e.g. illness, death, financial stress, relationships, community and world events and more). We are hearing more and more of individuals shooting in colleges, schools, places of employments and more. We hear of more suicide situations due to personal challenges individuals are dealing with. 

Sometime we don’t even realize that individuals are not okay. I have personally experienced this by losing a very close friend last year by suicide. I saw him 4 days prior at work and I had no clue that anything was wrong. He hid it very well. I had wished that instead of just saying “Hi” I would have taken more time to talk to him. Maybe that would have made a difference, or maybe it would not. 

As leader I take my responsibility extremely serious to effectively lead those that report to me.   So as a leader how do you lead individuals who may have a lot of personal things going on in their life? 

As I’ve been leading here are 5 tips I have found effective to lead through the world in which we live in today. 

1. Know Your Team - there is something to be said when a leader knows their team members. Your team member should not feel like a number but rather an empowered and engaged employee where their work makes a difference. It’s okay to get to know your team members on a personal level (as much as they are willing to share). It’s more than just saying, “How are you doing today?” and hoping they will just say good and you feel great that you did your good deed for the day. It’s actually listening if they want to tell you truly how they are doing, even if you are uncomfortable. You never know what a person is going through and you may be the person that may just make a difference in their life just by listening. Take time to understand what motives those on your team. Take time to understand what irritates them.

2. Open and Honest Communication - I find that I’m quite transparent with those I lead. I take time to share person things about myself, which opens them up to share things they feel comfortable sharing with me. I’ve created an environment where team members feel comfortable talking open to me about tasks assigned. My team will tell me if they are frustrated, irritated, love what they do or hate what they do. Now sometimes we all do things we don’t like doing, but I do listen to their feedback and adjust as much as I can appropriately. I have found that when team members see that your listen and execute on feedback you can, they tend to trust you more and feel comfortable talking to you. Feedback is a gift and open communication is a must. This area right here could actually result in life and death as scary as that sounds.

3. Identify Signs of Change - I I remember leading a team member who is extremely laid back, flexible and adaptable. He is my voice of reason go to person. He is the one who never really gets excited not matter what challenge comes his way. However, when day we were on a call together and he just didn’t sound himself. It was just 3 of us on the phone, so it was a very safe environment to talk freely. I actually stopped the call just to ensure was okay and there was nothing more serious going on there because he was extremely frustrated and irritated. It really just amounted to the nature of the initiative we were working on and his frustration around that, which we were all frustrated and irritated with. However, I wanted to ensure there was nothing else going on there that I should be aware about. Of course, I don’t ask for team members to share more than what they feel comfortable sharing but I have found that when you ask and show genuine concern they are willing to open up.

4. Don’t Add to the Stress - It’s very easy to get caught up in the day to day work and try to make miracles happy to keep your business partners and mangers happy. However, when your team raises their hand that too much is on their plate or if they have other concerns, those items cannot be ignored. If you already have stressed out team members and you keep piling on more and more work you will burn out your team and lose your high potential team members. There are some things that are out of our control and I understand that; however, as leaders we need to speak up and fight for our team as well. Sometimes we need to go against the status quo for the betterment of the team. I would hope that management is not intentionally trying to stress out their teams and are really trying to make good decisions on resource allocation as much as we can. However, we really need to listen to our teams and identify those signs of stress and do as much as we can to alleviate it.

5. Know the Resources Available to Help Your Team - It’s important to know the resources available not only to you but to your team members as well. Having those resources at your fingertips is extremely crucial. It’s important you use them as well if you need them. Whether they are resources within your organizations or outside, or even a combination of both, it’s important to know what they are.

Now you may say this seems pretty much like common sense and everyone should know this already but what I’ve found is new managers are more focused on managing and showing they can reach their goals. Managers that have been managing for a while are so engrained in the day to day that sometimes leading their team can be lost because of all they have on their plate. It’s a good reminder with all that is occurring in the world today to remember that any of us could be that tragic story and sometimes we just have to stop, take a step back and spend some time away from the day to day grind to ensure those doing the job are okay and have the support they need to be successful.

Paula Bell, Business Analyst Certified, B2TAuthor: Paula Bell, Business Analyst Certified, B2T

Paula Bell is a Business Analyst, mentor and coach known for consistently producing exceptional work, providing guidance to aspiring business analysts (including those that just want to sharpen their skills), as well as providing creative and strategic ways to build relationships for successful projects. With 15 years in project roles to include business analyst, requirements manager, technical writer, project manager, developer, test lead and implementation lead, Paula has experience in a variety of industries including media, courts, carpet manufacturing, banking and mortgage. Paula has had the opportunity to speak on a variety of topics to include business analysis, project management, relationship building, diversity and software methodology.
Website: www.paulaabell.com
Email: [email protected]
Blog: The Journal of a BA and Much More


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