For LEADERS Only: Post 1 - The Three T's

If you are a strong leader, you already know that you are only as good as your team.  Your team might consist of just your managers or it might be an entire department. Whatever your group consists of, you need to consistently practice the Three T’s.

“T” number one is TRAIN.  Although most organizations have “training” as one of their values or goals, few follow through with it on a consistent basis.  Literally everyone has something they can learn, even if they’ve “heard it a thousand times.”  A focus purely on interpersonal skills like communication and coaching can greatly reduce conflict and improve results at every level.  Your presence and participation in these trainings is critical.  It reinforces your commitment to the process, but even more importantly, it allows you to observe and evaluate your team.  Who needs a little extra help?  Who is the best to offer that help and share their expertise?

“T” number two is TALK.  Yes, open communication channels and constant feedback take time but the investment in scheduled, focused conversations centered on processes, ideas and progress pay enormous dividends.  I advise leaders to meet quarterly (minimum) with those who they directly manage.  The conversation is carefully structured to meet the following goals:

As the leader, you need to:

  1. Measure progress.  Did the employee reach their goals for the current quarter?  If so, make sure that special efforts are made to recognize (and possibly reward) the performance.  If not, why not?  During this conversation, identify reasons (not excuses) that your expectations were not met.
  2. Plan for the immediate future.  What are the pressing goals for the next quarter?  Define them in writing and include measurements that leave no room for doubt.  Consider any vacations, special project deadlines or other events that might impact the time that the employee will have to actually do their “job.”  Postpone or reassign tasks whenever necessary to ensure no one individual is overwhelmed.
  3. Seek feedback and ideas.  Challenge every member of the team to constantly look for creative ways to make work easier and more enjoyable.  Something as simple as a new form or a simpler process can energize a team.  Your team sees problems every day.  Challenge them to find - and implement solutions.

“T” number three is TRUST.  When put into action, the first two “T’s” will put you in position to trust your team.  You will be more confident knowing they have been trained and have the tools to do the job.  You can be certain that they know your expectations and are working hard to achieve the results that lead to profits (and bonuses.)  And last, but not least, both of you will share a relationship that allows you to challenge one another in the quest for perfection.