Don’t Blame the Team If They Don’t Know the Rules

What do you assume and don’t say?

My family recently hosted a foreign exchange student at our house for about a month. When he arrived at our house, his first question to me was “What are the rules at your house?” Not wanting to sound like some kind of ogre, I said, “We don’t have too many rules at our house.” And I told him a couple of rules that we had in our house. And I thought that was that.

rules

Over time, I noticed that he did some things that annoyed me. And my thought was “That’s really rude. Why doesn’t he know any better?”

I told him that I was disappointed with what he was doing. Later he told me, “You didn’t tell me what all the rules were.” Then I realized I couldn’t hold him accountable for something I didn’t tell him. He had asked to know what the rules were, but I didn’t tell him what they all were.

This same thing applies to your employees at your workplace, but they won’t necessarily ask you what the rules of your culture are. That’s incumbent on you to tell them. They won’t know how to operate in your organizational culture if you don’t tell them.

Here are the things you need to tell your people so they know how to follow the rules of your culture.

Put Others First to Win Respect from Others

Be Respectful of Your Team to be Respected by Your Team

The best way to win respect from your team is to put them before yourself.  In order to be respected by your team, be respectful of your team.

win respect

When you are willing to respect your team for who they are—not for what they can do for you—they will appreciate you for who are.  People don’t care how much you know until they know much you care.

Here are three practical ways to show respect to your team—and win respect from your team in the process.

Self-Awareness Is Key to Good Leadership

You Cannot Lead Well If You Do Not Know Yourself Well

If you are to become a good leader, self-awareness is something you must develop. In fact, self-awareness is one of the key fundamental building blocks of good leadership.

self-awareness

There are many powerful and wealthy heads of companies in the world who are not good leaders. They are driven by ego and are blind to their own weaknesses. As a result, they do not know themselves well.

As Polonius said in Hamlet,

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

To be true to yourself, you must know yourself. Developing self-awareness will help you in all areas of your life—not just with your team at work, but with your family relationships at home.

Here are three levels of self-awareness to develop as you progress as a leader.

Who Gets the Credit on Your Team?

How to Create a Team Culture by Creating a Team Environment

Harry Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” If it’s all about you, then you won’t get much done. But if you are willing to share the credit with others, then you will end up getting a lot done.

credit

People want to be part of something larger than themselves. When they feel like they are contributing and seeing progress, then they are more likely to want to stay at it. But a leader who doesn’t see the team’s need to be recognized will lose their team very quickly.

Here are three things to implement a team culture by focusing on giving credit to others on the team.

How to Have the Perspective to Guide Your Business

Leadership Starts with Seeing Clearly

Leadership starts with understanding your starting point and your ending point. By having a proper perspective, you can chart your course. Otherwise, you will end up like Alice taking directions from the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland.

perspective

Too many business leaders set their course like the way Alice asked for guidance from the Cheshire Cat.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

In effect, the Cheshire Cat says that if you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will get you there. And too many businesses function in that environment.

If you don’t have a good perspective of where you are and you are going, then you won’t be able to get there. While that sounds obvious, too many businesses don’t have a process for getting to where they want to go.

Here’s a three-step process to determine the perspective needed for seeing clearly enough to chart the course for your business.

The Road to True Success is Lonely

Most Don’t Want to Do What True Success Requires

True success in the workplace doesn’t look like what most people expect it to look like. They think it means occupying the corner office. Having lots of money. Being a powerful individual. But that’s not true success looks like.

True Success

Jesus said that the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). That model of leadership applies not only to the realm of faith, but also to the realm of business.

Here’s what true success looks like in the workplace.

A Leader’s Default Answer Must Be “No”

Leaders Should Not Say “Yes” Too Often

I have a relative whose job at one time was to find all the problems with all the big equipment the company was trying to design. In effect, he had to expose all the design flaws in what the designers were trying to build and show why it would not work. From an economic perspective, it was important for him to find why it wouldn’t work out before they would actually start building it. From a safety perspective, it was important for them not to create something that would end up malfunctioning. As a result of faithfully doing his job, he got tagged with the nickname of “Dr. No” because of his default answer.

default answer

As a leader, you are tugged in different directions all the time. Some people want you to do one thing, and others want you to do something else. You are constantly being asked to do things that are outside the scope of your focus. And your default answer must be “no.”

It’s not easy saying “no.” But that’s why you’re the leader. It’s important for you to focus on where you know you need to go. You can’t do what others will suggest most of the time. That’s why you have to be prepared to say “no” most of the time.

There are three reasons why your default answer must be “no.”

Leaders Must Always See the Big Picture

And Everyone on Your Team Needs to Hear You Talk About the Big Picture

After I recently guest lectured to MBA students at a local university, one of the students asked me a question about alignment. I explained that one of the most important things for a leader to do is to be able to connect long-term goals to short-term actions. And leaders can do that best when they can share the big picture.

big picture

As a leader, it is imperative that you always remind your team why they are there. Help them to understand the purpose behind your company. Give them a reason to see that the little actions they do every day are important to accomplishing a bigger goal. Help them to see that they are many artists contributing to one masterpiece.

No job is exciting all the time. There are times that every job will have its drudgery. You can either inspire your people to put in their best efforts in even the drudgery, or you can let them trudge on their own just for their paycheck. It’s your choice whether you will help your people see only the little areas they are contributing, or if you will help them see how they are contributing to the big picture.

Here are three ways you can remind your team of the big picture when they are trudging through their daily grind.

How to Give Bad News

How to Say What Needs to Be Said

When I was a new manager, I had the hardest time giving constructive feedback to my assistant. When it was time to share with her what she needed to know to help her improve, I couldn’t even get the words out. It was so difficult for me to say, that I had to try multiple times just to be able to tell her—because I was too concerned about saying what she might have thought was bad news.

bad news

My early days as a manager showed one extreme of improper communication in giving performance reviews. Other managers think that yelling the hard truth is the best way to give bad news. They think that it’s OK to say whatever they think needs to be said, without thinking about what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of what they said. Clearly both extremes are not helpful.

So how should we give bad news? What’s the best way to help employees improve? Here are four tips for how to say what needs to be said, even if it’s bad news.

What’s better: Innovation or Productivity?

Why Innovation Beats Productivity Every Time

Do you think innovation or productivity is more important? Here’s a better way to ask that question: Would you rather work smarter or harder?

innovation or productivity

Forcing a choice of innovation or productivity is a false choice. Innovation will lead to productivity. But certain factors need to be in place in order to have an innovative workplace.

Here’s why you should focus on innovation instead of productivity in your workplace.