Let’s face it, being an effective leader is hard work. But sometimes it’s difficult to measure up to the expectations of others. Leaders that push any worthwhile cause forward will inevitably make mistakes. This is a fundamental part of growing and developing into a leader of consequence.
As a leader, your mistakes are usually on full display for the team to see. How you choose to respond to and learn from them is where you have control. If you use the right strategy to fix your mistakes, recovering from them becomes much easier.
Consider these five (5) leadership mistakes and how to fix them:
As your processes and execution mature, clearly manage the message of performance up and through the organization. Here’s a brief look at each type and how you can use each type as an advantage:
Messaging Up (to the Boss)
When it comes to MRO business performance, employee relations, and customer issues, bad news travels at the speed of light. Don’t get caught off-guard by a boss who’s misinformed, under informed, or worse yet, not informed. The blast area in these situations can be brutal and difficult to recover from if it’s commonplace. Instead, create a communication rhythm with your boss that’s consistent and covers key performance and business topics.
Create a one-page dashboard summary that walks through each element with a data point, variance against plan, and one or two comments that provide color on any recovery action you are taking. That’s it, don’t overwhelm your boss with too much data. If the bosses want more, let them tell...
It’s easy to think that we’re always transparent with our customers, right? I used to feel the same way until I led a major MRO turnaround and discovered what I thought was transparency was causing more customer confusion and frustration than ever. Typical customer transparency is often clouded by self-preservation, conflict-avoidance, and company politics.
Moving toward a more authentic customer relationship can be uncomfortable, for sure, but more authentic customer relationships result in customers for life and a deeper level of mutual respect. Play the long game, don’t settle for a quick “get-out-of-jail-free” card that’ll only last as long as a warm bath.
It’s human nature to want to shine the brightest light possible on any negative situation. Through my experience; however, I’ve found that most customers have a sixth sense in calling the bullshit card when they see it. When this happens, and it inevitably does, your personal...
Simple, simple, simple…that’s the way to think about creating and implementing an effective accountability structure. If the structure is too onerous and administratively complicated, it’ll never gain traction and will lose support within two weeks; however, if this structure is done correctly, it will be a total game changer for your MRO business.
Make this investment and build sustained accountability from the first-level shop floor employee to the most-senior leader in the organization.
Here’s what a starter accountability system might look like for a typical MRO work cell:
1. At the start of each morning shift, every employee assigned to a specific cell gathers around a 4’ X 6’ accountability board located in the middle of the shop floor or where the work happens.
2. The communication board includes a collection of elements that describe “What Success Looks Like” for that work cell. These elements should include the following:
For every MRO organization, there are standard sets of metrics we spend time and energy trying to perfect. Depending on your organization type and structure, these metrics can number from six to 20, or even more!
The challenge doesn’t come from managing any one metric in isolation but chasing a dozen or more simultaneously and actually believing that we can be successful. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus, which can cause your business to spiral out of control and be unable to adjust to the pace required for all MRO’s to effectively operate.
To become a successful MRO leader, it’s important not to get caught up in the “death by a thousand metrics” trap, even though your leaders may already be deep in the thorns on this. Let your business performance speak for itself and use that great performance to educate others.
I recommend you spend a good portion of your total time and brain power, (about 20%), managing the performance and outcomes...
Positioning yourself as a leader will make your work more meaningful and advance your career. You can gain influence based on your title, or on knowledge and skills you already possess.
While it could take years to climb the ladder up into senior management, tapping into your personal strengths is something you can start doing right now. Learn how to use your current assets to build up your clout in the workplace.
Using Your KNOWLEDGE to Position Yourself as a Leader
There are few things that a leader needs more than courage. The decisions you make as a leader will result in you being evaluated by others. They will criticize you from time to time. Sometimes you’ll take action and it simply won’t pan out.
Maya Angelou said, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.”
This is critical to understand. If you’re not courageous as a leader, you simply won’t do any of the other things necessary to be a good leader.
There will be times when you simply don’t know what the outcome of a particular action will be. In those moments, you’ll be tempted to avoid acting at all.
If you want to be a highly effective leader, you must hold yourself accountable for both your actions and the outcomes that those actions produce.
When things go well, you take appropriate credit (and give credit to your team, of course). When things don’t go well, you take the blame. You’re the leader of the team and, therefore, everything ultimately falls on you.
The opposite of the accountable leader is the “victim” leader. The victim leader blames everyone and everything else for their failures. They refuse to believe that their actions could result in any problems and so they constantly blame their challenges on others. They may take credit for successes, but they don’t accept the blame for failure.
If you’re going to be a powerful, compelling leader, you must accept 100% responsibility for the outcomes of your actions. You must take decisive action to influence specific outcomes and then embrace those outcomes, whatever...