Do you want your clients to view you and your firm as the go-to source for your products or services? Do they view you as a strategic partner or trusted advisor? If the answer is yes to both these questions then the key for remaining relevant and top of mind is constant improvement, growth and innovation. As a leader, you may thrive on change because it makes you better but what about your employees, do they fear or fight change? What do you do with those that just don’t buy-in or even resist? Some companies make it so unpleasant for employees that they leave while some leaders live by the motto – “firings will continue until morale improves”. I’m clearly not advocating either. I have witnessed the very best leaders get buy-in based on their personal actions and behaviors, not by issuing edicts and orders.
We’re on the doorstep of a new year which means it’s a good time to ask yourself what should be better within your organization relating to how your employees are implementing new approaches to engage, serve and delight your clients.
Employees often fear change or resist it because they don’t understand the big picture and the new desired state. It’s your responsibility as a leader to clearly state what is changing and why? Show employees where you are today and where you intend to be in the future. Explain what you are doing and why it matters to the organization; how it will positively impact their careers and how you will equip them to succeed. Knowledge and skills dispel fear. Do this publically rather than relaying it via email to communicate this is important.
Ensure the tasks you assign to each person play to their individual strengths. When people are equipped to succeed, they are more motivated to achieve. Like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, nothing will get done if you have a big-picture person working on detail-rich tasks. Be clear with each person about how their work is vital to the overall outcome. Set measurable goals and let staff know how they will be held accountable and rewarded.
Just as employees resist change, leaders can fail to realize that their change efforts aren’t working. Self-awareness, permission for others to give you feedback, and a desire to improve are all critical for growth. When you have the right person on the right task, solicit their feedback and suggestions to make things even better. Listen carefully to comprehend and then be prepared to act on their advice and adjust the game plan. That may mean midcourse corrections. Other times, it means scrapping the plan and starting from scratch. That’s not defeat – it’s the ultimate sign that you are listening and that you value their input and ideas.
Here’s a link to one of my previous blog posts to help you improve your effectiveness: If you are a leader, show some emotions and be approachable.
If you think you’re leading and no one is following, you’re only taking a walk. John Maxwell