Paperwork

Office politics

Production snafu

Customer service issues

Isolation

Lack of honest feedback

Lack of emotional intelligence

Lacking skills and techniques

Lack of communication skills

Meeting to inspire others

Developing employees

Leading a team

Handling change

Having high-energy all the time

Creating leaders

Encouraging employees to take ownership Learning new technologies

A leader, how do you handle the above challenges? I’m willing to bet that if you could sit down and think for a moment you probably could add more items to the list.

You need Skills and Techniques and not a sales pitch.

How do we handle these challenges? What skills and techniques are required to handle these challenges?

During this series of articles let’s look at the 5 basic skills that are required. For some, this series will serve as a review, which can be a great reminder to refresh and reinstitute these techniques. For others, this will give you a checklist that you can use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to make sure you’re touching all the bases.

Being a leader is not easy. Don’t let anybody fool you into thinking that they were a natural-born leader. Natural born leaders do not exist. They never have and they never will exist. Leadership is a learned skill. Maybe these skills were learned in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, playing sports or by being a Musician in an orchestra or choir. Leadership skills are learned not inherited. You can look at so many different examples in society and you’ll see that leadership skills are learned. These are skills and techniques that you can learn. Leadership skills and techniques are things that you can review and refresh and be better at each day, each week, each month. They are not hype.

Skill Number One – Meetings

Meetings are unavoidable particularly for those in executive positions. In the July/August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, it was estimated that the typical manager spends 23 hours a week in meetings. That is more than half the week in meetings and does not account for the time it takes to prepare for these meetings if they are prepping for the meetings at all, which leads to more issues if they are not. We can only imagine the last 2 to 3 years how much more time we spend in meetings.

You must possess the skills to make those meetings valuable to all who are in attendance. Ensure that all your meetings bring value to the table. Please make sure that all your meetings including the one on ones have a purpose, a written purpose. In other words, an agenda. Ask yourself, if you did not have this meeting would anybody care?

Make sure that at the start of every meeting you have an agenda in place. Your agenda must include the following.What do you wish to achieve? What is the purpose of this meeting? What do you wish to accomplish in the meeting and what are the key points or steps to achieve your goal?

Example:

Discuss the budget for fiscal 2021

Review quarterly goals, quarterly expenditures

Understanding of line items that are key drivers for budget

Answers all questions

Confirm the chain of command for submitting reports to accounting.

Time and date of the meeting

The time a meeting is to start and what time the meeting is to end.

Meetings start at 7:00 AM and end at 8:00 AM

However, if your meeting is scheduled to end at 8:00 AM, it should end at 7:50 am.

We oftentimes take too much time by planning too many activities or topics in our meetings. Plan your meetings to only last 50 minutes of the hour giving your team 10 minutes to take a quick break between meetings. This will ensure that you are not trying to overstuff the meeting with agenda items.

 Plan a 50-minute meeting for a one-hour meeting and a 25-minute meeting for a 30-minute meeting.

Pay close attention to the meeting times that you set. The first thing in the morning on a Monday may not be the best time for meetings or maybe it is the best time. Do you know your team? You know when it is best to hold a meeting with your entire team. You know what must be done but please pay attention to the times that you are setting a meeting.

Your agenda should advise your team as to what they should and shouldn’t bring to the meeting.

You may want your team to bring a notebook, paper, pencil, iPad, laptop, whatever it is, make sure that they are aware of everything they need to bring. Additionally, make sure your team is aware of what not to bring. Cell phones for one. However, Cell Phones are a different discussion. The amount of time and the cost to the company that Cell Phones are responsible for in your organization is a huge problem. The cost of iPhones and Android phones is costing your organization but, again let’s not start down that track right now.

Do not run your meetings anymore.

It is your agenda; your topics will be covered so get in the habit of appointing someone else to run the meeting. Give them the authority and the responsibilities to run the meetings and keep track of the time and take the meeting notes. This has a side effect of building great leaders for the future. Remember it is your agenda so if it goes too long it’s your fault if it is too short it’s your fault. You have given complete authority to someone else to run the meeting so, you will need to respect their authority. Even if you are the only one speaking you still must respect and follow the person who is running your meeting.

  • What do you wish to achieve? What is the purpose of this meeting? What do you wish to accomplish in the meeting and what are the key points or steps to achieve your goal?
  • Example:
  • Discuss the budget for fiscal 2021
  • Review quarterly goals, quarterly expenditures
  • Understanding of line items that are key drivers for budget
  • Answers all questions
  • Confirm the chain of command for submitting reports to accounting.
  • Time and date of the meeting
  • The time a meeting is to start and what time the meeting is to end.
    1. Meetings start at 7:00 AM and end at 8:00 AM
  • However, if your meeting is scheduled to end at 8:00 AM, it should end at 7:50 am.
    1. We oftentimes take too much time by planning too many activities or topics in our meetings. Plan your meetings to only last 50 minutes of the hour giving your team 10 minutes to take a quick break between meetings. This will ensure that you are not trying to overstuff the meeting with agenda items.
      1.  Plan a 50-minute meeting for a one-hour meeting and a 25-minute meeting for a 30-minute meeting.
  • Pay close attention to the meeting times that you set. The first thing in the morning on a Monday may not be the best time for meetings or maybe it is the best time. Do you know your team? You know when it is best to hold a meeting with your entire team. You know what must be done but please pay attention to the times that you are setting a meeting.
  • Your agenda should advise your team as to what they should and shouldn’t bring to the meeting.
    1. You may want your team to bring a notebook, paper, pencil, iPad, laptop, whatever it is, make sure that they are aware of everything they need to bring. Additionally, make sure your team is aware of what not to bring. Cell phones for one. However, Cell Phones are a different discussion. The amount of time and the cost to the company that Cell Phones are responsible for in your organization is a huge problem. The cost of iPhones and Android phones is costing your organization but, again let’s not start down that track right now.
  • Do not run your meetings anymore.
  • It is your agenda; your topics will be covered so get in the habit of appointing someone else to run the meeting. Give them the authority and the responsibilities to run the meetings and keep track of the time and take the meeting notes. This has a side effect of building great leaders for the future. Remember it is your agenda so if it goes too long it’s your fault if it is too short it’s your fault. You have given complete authority to someone else to run the meeting so, you will need to respect their authority. Even if you are the only one speaking you still must respect and follow the person who is running your meeting.

What do you wish to achieve? What is the purpose of this meeting? What do you wish to accomplish in the meeting and what are the key points or steps to achieve your goal?

  • Example:
  • Discuss the budget for fiscal 2021
  • Review quarterly goals, quarterly expenditures
  • Understanding of line items that are key drivers for budget
  • Answers all questions
  • Confirm the chain of command for submitting reports to accounting.

Time and date of the meeting

  • The time a meeting is to start and what time the meeting is to end.
    • Meetings start at 7:00 AM and end at 8:00 AM
  • However, if your meeting is scheduled to end at 8:00 AM, it should end at 7:50 am.
    • We oftentimes take too much time by planning too many activities or topics in our meetings. Plan your meetings to only last 50 minutes of the hour giving your team 10 minutes to take a quick break between meetings. This will ensure that you are not trying to overstuff the meeting with agenda items.
      •  Plan a 50-minute meeting for a one-hour meeting and a 25-minute meeting for a 30-minute meeting.
  • Pay close attention to the meeting times that you set. The first thing in the morning on a Monday may not be the best time for meetings or maybe it is the best time. Do you know your team? You know when it is best to hold a meeting with your entire team. You know what must be done but please pay attention to the times that you are setting a meeting.
  • Your agenda should advise your team as to what they should and shouldn’t bring to the meeting.
    • You may want your team to bring a notebook, paper, pencil, iPad, laptop, whatever it is, make sure that they are aware of everything they need to bring. Additionally, make sure your team is aware of what not to bring. Cell phones for one. However, Cell Phones are a different discussion. The amount of time and the cost to the company that Cell Phones are responsible for in your organization is a huge problem. The cost of iPhones and Android phones is costing your organization but, again let’s not start down that track right now.

Do not run your meetings anymore.

  • It is your agenda; your topics will be covered so get in the habit of appointing someone else to run the meeting. Give them the authority and the responsibilities to run the meetings and keep track of the time and take the meeting notes. This has a side effect of building great leaders for the future. Remember it is your agenda so if it goes too long it’s your fault if it is too short it’s your fault. You have given complete authority to someone else to run the meeting so, you will need to respect their authority. Even if you are the only one speaking you still must respect and follow the person who is running your meeting.

One on One meetings.

  • You must also have an agenda for that One on One meetings. Depending on the experience level of your team the agenda will be created by your Direct Reports. A team that has some experience, six months or more, you will provide them with an outline and allow them to create an agenda. The created agenda will cover these points.
    • General discussion of challenges that they are facing
    • What do they need to be successful
    • Feedback of how you are doing as their manager
    • What are their goals for the next meeting quarter, month, etc…
    • Discuss progress on goals
    • How can you help achieve their goals?
    • Sharing feedback on you as a manager.
  • Receiving feedback on yourself as a leader for your direct report is the most valuable part of this meeting. Do not be surprised when they do not have any feedback for the first couple of meetings. This happens because they do not trust that this is a safe environment yet. Your direct report is not sure that you’re not going to hold their feedback against them.
  • One on One meetings should be scheduled on a regular basis. They should not be just an occasional meeting.  One on one meetings or designed to develop them for the future to help them find ways to do their job easier. This meeting will help you master your role as a leader. These meetings will help you achieve your goals as a leader while helping this employee become better and a happier more productive employee.
  • One on one meetings is not the time for a discussion about an error or counseling.  These meetings are for coaching, for helping your direct report to be better. There’s a difference between counseling and coaching. One on one is a coaching meeting. Coaching is when you’re helping your employees to get better. A counseling meeting is where you’re correcting a mistake or an error in their work. You will have a different meeting if you need the council  your direct report.
  • A one on one meetings requires you to understand communication skills, you need to speak in the language that your direct report and team needs to hear.  it is not the language that you are comfortable with and delivering. That takes work and understanding, and another article or two.

Please always remember that these one on one meetings are your opportunity to help your direct report to become better at their job. To help them build their skill faster while finding it more enjoyable. Most importantly one on one meetings give them ownership of their career. Ownership equals excellence. You are setting the guidelines for success.

Creating ownership is the most powerful motivational skill that you can have.

More to come.

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