As 2018 begins, it’s a great time to think ahead to the upcoming year and set some resolutions as a Leader. Think about what you’d like to see as outcomes for this year, professionally and personally. Think about what you’d like to see your team accomplish or develop, and spend some time reflecting on how you can support them to get there.
As we are at the beginning of the year, it’s also a good time to go back to the basics and re-group. Before tackling new challenges and opportunities, make some time to lead and ensure your team’s foundation is strong to tackle the year ahead. As leaders, we can tend to get ahead of ourselves from time to time and miss some foundational stepping stones that allow us and our team to be successful.
Ask yourself (and your team) about some of the basics – would they agree with the following statements?
- Do they understand what is required of them in their role?
- Do they have the tools, resources and material to be successful in their role?
- Do they have the training needed to be successful in their role?
If these are areas that can be strengthened within your team – here are a couple ideas as to what you can do:
Conduct a “What are we Missing?” Inventory. Facilitate a conversation with individual employees and gather information from your team to understand what’s missing. Are expectations unclear? Are there tools or resources missing? Is additional training required?
Take the time to understand where the biggest gaps are and set priorities with your team.
When expectations are unclear:
- Review items such as their job descriptions, standard operating procedures (SOP’s), policies, etc. as needed.
- Ensure you are communicating what and why – why their work is important to the overall big picture of the organization.
- Spend some time to learn how each member of your team best processes information, and if you are unsure – ASK THEM! “What would be helpful for you the next time we are reviewing something so that we can ensure we are on the same page?”
When tools, resources and/or materials are missing:
- Identify areas that are low-hanging fruit and begin with those for some quick wins but also be prepared to invest in items that are hindering employee performance.
When additional training is required:
- Consider what changes may have taken place to their role, or operational processes that could impact training.
- Review the on-boarding process as well to understand if employees are properly trained and up to speed when they start. A tracking system can help ensure no training is missed.
- An annual check-in with employees is helpful to continue to stay on top of training needs.
By focusing on expectations, tools and training you will be laying a foundation to support the upcoming year. When employees know what’s expected of them at work and have the tools and training to execute in their roles, their level of engagement increases. They will also be more resilient and able to adapt to changing organizational demands.
Once you’ve set them up for success, help them stay the path. Focus on removing roadblocks and deal with operational and people problems in a timely manner. Communicate and explain the WHY behind decisions and even as the year progresses always make a little time to get back to basics and check that your foundation is still holding strong.