Managing in a Blender

Just as a complete breakfast sets you up for the day, starting your work day with a complete plan can set you and your team up to accomplish great things. Ideally, most days you start with a plan.

But when demands are at their peak, people often convince themselves to skip the plan and just dive in.

That got me thinking, what if there was a recipe – a fast and easy to remember checklist – of the leadership ingredients you fundamentally need to best serve your team; a Leadership Smoothie if you will.

Let’s face it, we all have days when it feels like we are working in a blender. So, here’s what you need in there to help your team function at its peak.

The 4 Key Ingredients for a Leadership Smoothie

  1. Connect: Every day you need to make a connection with your people. Check-in to see if someone is stuck. Give someone feedback. Give out strokes. Every day you need to make sure you create a face-to-face or voice-to-voice connection with people on your team. Let them know you are there, you are aware and you care. It’s critical.
  2. Think Big: You are a leader with big picture responsibilities. If you don’t do the thinking you’re paid to do, no one else is doing it for you. Strategy isn’t something you delegate. Everyday you need to spend some time with the door closed to strategize one of your bigger initiatives – hiring, creating a sales plan, setting targets – you have to do your thinking work. No excuses.
  3. Take Action: Every day, managers need to move the ball forward on something. Take an action step. Delegate something. Make a critical phone call or introduction. Whatever the big project is that’s on your team’s plate, you have to do something to make sure you move it forward.
  4. Make a Decision: I know managers are making decisions all day long, but here I’m talking about making sure you make one good, solid, important decision a day. The people on your team are waiting for you. Even if they aren’t telling you that, they are waiting. And remembering the blender analogy, skipping out on making a good decision a day is like skipping the liquid – everyone around you gets stuck.

No matter what, leaders need those four ingredients in their day. It doesn’t matter what your management style is, what your work flow is, or what your objectives are, if you remember those four ingredients you will be covering the essentials, and giving your team the best you can to help them succeed.

That said, I don’t advocate reaching for the Leadership Smoothie every day. It’s just a basic checklist that stands in on the days you really can’t pull a work plan together. If you find yourself taking short cuts five days a week, maybe there’s something there that you need to look at. I’d be happy to help.

Category: All, Homepage, Manage your People, The Leader's Toolkit
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