Early in my leadership role working with small teams, I realized that most people liked me. My relational connections with my team members were very strong and I was able to please each one of them. I worked very hard at developing my people-pleasing skills. At one point, leadership for me is all about – “Make people happy and they will follow you”. I was continually asking myself one question: “Is everybody happy?”
What a mistake? 🎯
No leader can please everyone all the time. It took a while for me to realise that I was doing things backwards. All this while, my goal had been to get people to like me enough so that I could gain the confidence to ask them for commitment. If they declined I simply worked harder to try to get them to like me more, thinking that would solve the problem. I gave the most time and energy to the unhappiest and least committed people, even though they are neither superstars nor contributing to the vision or helping the company to move forward. I was letting the tail wag the dog instead of the dog wag the tail.
I finally realized that I wasn’t leading people. I was trying to please them thereby making them and myself feel good. I wasn’t moving the organization forward. I was in the friendship business, not in the leadership business.
I was not helping people to do better and get better. I have now moved from Pleasing people to Challenging People. It was not an easy process for me. My desire to be liked by others was deeply rooted within me to the point where the best days in my leadership were the ones when people affirmed me. I craved for affirmation every single day. Now, I realized that affirmation doesn’t equal leadership accomplishment.
WIth my new level of awareness, I am now on a path to become the leader people really needed, not just the one they wanted. It’s been one of the most difficult changes I’ve had to make in my leadership, but it has also been one of the most rewarding.
We often hear the word time management. There is no such thing as time management. I don’t understand how we manage something that is already set. Unless we miss understanding something whether we manage or don’t manage the time, it is always 24 hours in a day. It goes by itself. It’s not the time management that we need to work on but it is priority management. The 80 20 rule is quite handy when it comes to priority management.
The 80 20 rule is one of the most helpful concepts for life and time management and is also known as the Pareto Principle. This is considered to be the greatest time management tool from the 19th century economist Vilfredo Pareto.
According to this rule, 20 % of your activities will account for 80 % of your results. One day Pareto noticed that 20% of the pea plants in his garden generated 80% of the healthy pea pods. This observation caused him to think about uneven distribution. He thought about wealth and discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. He investigated different industries and found that 80% of production typically came from just 20% of the companies. In other words, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
We can take Pareto’s 80 20 rule and apply it to almost any situation. Understanding the principle is essential to learning how to prioritize your tasks, days, weeks, and months. If you observe carefully you will find Pareto principle all around you.
20% of roads will have 80% traffic jams
20% of the population will have 80% of the money
20% of people will have 80% of the influence
20% of the drinkers will consume 80% of alcohol
20% of students participate in 80% of classroom discussions
20% of customers will bring 80% of profits in business
20% of sales staff generates 80% of the sales
20% of the book contains 80% of the content
20% of your clothes worn 80% of the times
20% of the features cause 80% of the usage
20% of the staff generate 80% of the problems
20% of staff take 80% of management time
20% of your results come from 80% of your time
20% of people eat 80% of food in a picnic
20% of the most reported software bugs cause 80% of software crashes.
20% of patients account for 80% of healthcare spending
20% of mobiles apps will account for 80% your time on the phone
And many more…
Hence invest your best in what matters the most.
To determine the top 20% of your priorities keep asking yourself a magic question – what do I have to do that no one else can do except me? and the rest should be delegated to others. Its bit funny but all your life you need to work hard to get yourself out of unimportant stuff and it is such a precious gift.
The Pareto Principle is a concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together. The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20% of items that are the most valuable and important, the “vital few,” and busy themselves instead with the least important 80 %, the “trivial many,” that contribute very little to their success.
Here’s what we should do in order to effectively apply the 80/20 rule to setting smart goals which will boost your overall productivity. First, take a piece of paper and write down your goals. Then ask yourself: If you could only accomplish one of the goals on that list today, which one goal would have the greatest positive impact on your life?
Then pick the second most important goal. What you’ll find is, after you complete this exercise, you will have determined the most important 20% of your goals that will help you more than anything else. You should continue to work at those goals that you’ve chosen as the most valuable all the time.
Eat The Big one First:
You often see people who appear to be busy all day long but seem to accomplish very little. This is almost always because they are busy working on tasks that are of low value while they are procrastinating on the one or two activities that could make a real difference to their companies and to their careers. The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex, but the payoff and rewards for completing them can be tremendous.
Before you begin work, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20% of my activities or in the bottom 80&?”. The rule for this is: resist the temptation to clear up small things first.
Always stay focused on your main goal:
Finally, I want to tell you about a study that has just been done about the attitudes of rich people versus poor people in regard to goal setting. What they found is that 85% of rich people have one big goal that they work on all the time. So, if you want to be wealthy, do what wealthy people do. Pick one big goal and work on it all the time, and if you do, it will change your life. If you choose to start your day working on low-value tasks, you will soon develop the habit of always starting and working on low-value tasks. You should Say ‘NO’ to many small things to say ‘YES’ to a few big things.
Having clarity of your desires and a clear vision for your future will help you stay focused on your goals every day. Focusing on your goals daily is actually one of the most important habits of successful people. No matter what your situation, it’s important to remember that there are only so many minutes in an hour, hours in a day, and days in a week. Pareto can help you to see this is a good thing; otherwise, you’d be a slave to a never-ending list of things to do.
I have been thinking about writing a book for many years. I knew that becoming an author can change my life and gives me the ability to impact many people. I always wanted to write a book but I don’t know where to start. I delayed it for so long thinking that I need to understand everything about writing a book before I start. One day I decided to jump and build my wings on the way down. Although the idea of getting good first is so exciting but trust me when I say that no one would be good the first time. You have to make the decision to learn along the way. Growth happens through actions. So you should start to evaluate the experience and apply the knowledge that you have gained, and then do it again. Fear, confusion and doubt are the biggest enemies of our success. If we are afraid to take the next step, then we will remain exactly where we are instead of where we need to be.
You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Start with whatever tools you have and better tools will be found along the way. Go as far as you can see, when you get there, you will see how to go further. Don’t wait until you can do it perfectly before you start. No one was ever good at anything the first time. When I started writing the book, I have no idea about some of the basic aspects of book writing such as where to start, what each step entails, how to overcome fear, procrastination, writer’s block and how to keep from feeling overwhelmed?
Once I started writing I have realized that it is easier to quit than to finish the book. At some point, I was tempted to give up since I ran out of ideas, my own message started boring me and I was overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the task. I slowly started assembling my writing tools, settled on one big idea, divided the project into small pieces, constructed the outline of the book, started my research and had a firm writing schedule. I learnt a lot of things once I started writing the book. I am now slowly getting better at it. I started understanding what works and what doesn’t.
The perfectionist has to be sure that everything is perfect. If you are a perfectionist, you should bear in mind that there’s no such thing as perfection. You learn with practice and every time you do the task you become better. It is better to take imperfect action than perfect inaction! If you do the task for 30 minutes every day you will be further ahead one who is still thinking how to do it perfect. So, don’t think. Do it!
I can’t wait to finish writing and publish my maiden book Don’t Coast – Accelerate your personal and Professional Growth in 2020. I’m looking forward to your support and encouragement.
Leaders today face the challenge of influencing people from all sides of an organization. John C. Maxwell, In his book 360 Degree Leader, explained the principles using which how middle managers leverage their unique positions and become 360-degree leaders by exercising influence in all directions–> lead up(to the boss), –> lead across(among their peers), –> and lead down(to those they lead) in addition to lead self (self-leadership).
In this article, I would like to focus on the concept of Leading Up. According to John C. Maxwell to attain leading up mindset, first, we need to come out of the below myths #
I can’t lead if I am not at the top
When I get to the top, then I will learn to lead
If I were on the top, then people would follow me
When I get to the top, I will be in control
When I get to the top, I will no longer be limited
I can’t reach my potential if I am not the top leader
If I can’t get to the top, then I won’t try to lead
Lead yourself :
In order to lead up first, you need to lead yourself exceptionally well. Lead yourself. That’s where it all starts. Besides, if you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else? Once you start doing it you would soon realize that this will be one of your greatest challenges. If you lead yourself well, then you will earn the right to lead others.
Lighten your leader’s load :
Leading up is the process of influencing a leader. This process includes lightening the leader’s load by being willing to do what others won’t while knowing when to push forward and when to back off.
Many managers with leadership responsibilities feel that because they are not the main leader, that they cannot influence their bosses. One of the most commonly asked questions is: How do I lead when I’m not in charge? You do not have to be in charge in order to lead. It’s the biggest myth about leadership. If you’re on the front lines, you see things others don’t—you have a unique perspective. You have ideas that could make a big difference. You are thinking of solutions to problems some people don’t even know exist. Leading up will not only help your organization, but it will eventually help you.
You can think of lightening your leaders load by means of doing the following:
Do your own job well first
When you find a problem, if possible provide a solution
Tell leader what they NEED to hear, not what they WANT to hear
Go the second mile
Stand up for your leader whenever you can
Always go the extra mile
Always show in spite of attitude rather than instead of attitude
Ask your leader how you can lift the load.
Your ability to lead up NOW will help determine your ability to move up LATER. It doesn’t matter which position you are currently in the organization, leading up will open doors for more influence in your organization in the future. Organizations won’t excel without honest upward communication. Lighten your leader’s load. Find something that needs to be done and do it. The best team members don’t need to be told what to do because they intuitively find important things to do.
Honor your leaders:
Leading up can be risky. If you lead in the wrong way, you can get some negative labels and lose personal power. Honour your leaders publically results in getting an opportunity to influence them privately. If you want to be over people, you need to learn to be under them.
If you don’t feel a sense of honour for the person who is above you, they are going to sense it through you. One day, If you want to be OVER others, then you need to learn to be UNDER others and show honour from where you are now. Well, you may say that my leader is not amazing and if I work for a great leader it is easy for me to show honour. Please don’t get confused between honour and respect. Respect is earned. Honour is given. We simply honour those in authority over us. You should accept that they are in that position because they are supposed to be there. Therefore show your influence by serving them and helping them rather than being critical about them all the time. Still, if you feel like you can’t honour your boss then it’s better if you consider doing everyone a favour by going somewhere else where you can show honour. Here is what I know, without honouring UP we can’t lead UP.
Value Leaders Time:
If you are going to lead up, make sure the time is right. Value their time. Schedule a meeting, and keep it short and focused. Have a written agenda. If you’re leading up, it shouldn’t be to make yourself look better, or to be a hero, or to make someone else look stupid. Your only motivation to lead up should be to push the mission forward. Some leaders are moody. You can’t change who someone is. Be aware of your leader’s mood and then go on with your day like normal. The best thing you can do for your leader’s mood is to act as you normally do. Be the consistent force they can rely on. Don’t let your leader’s mood affect you. You have no idea what they are dealing with after hours.
Don’t just point out problems; bring solutions. Your leader would rather hear someone who has potential solutions than hearing about problems. Even if your idea isn’t perfect, it often evolves to a better solution. If you have only a critical spirit, you’ll never have an upward influence.
Always be honest and think critically :
Always remember that there is a world of difference between thinking critically and being critical. If you’re a yes-man, you will lose credibility. Truth always trumps flattery. The more successful you become, the more difficult it is to find people who will tell you the truth. Those who care enough to tell you the truth are incredibly valuable. Tell leader what they NEED to hear, not what they WANT to hear
As a leader, we must do everything we can to give opportunities for others within our organization to allow them to lead up. We should never penalize them for telling the truth. Instead, give them public credit for bringing good ideas, taking initiative, and putting the organization first. Saying you don’t care what your team thinks is unacceptable! If you say you don’t care what your team thinks, either you have the wrong people or you are the wrong leader. Change the people around you or change your mindset. If you don’t listen to them, you will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.
Always remember you don’t go into an opportunity, you GROW into an opportunity. Good leaders in the middle make better leaders at the top.
360 Degree Leader – John C. Maxwell
Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast
The Art of Managing Your Boss Podcast – Wharton University
Remember Everyone in the organization is Important:
Every team member is important in the organization. Every player has value but not every player has got equal value. An experienced person may have the gift of wisdom/experience as there is no shortcut to achieving wisdom. Sometimes the amount of time spent in an organization tends to equal to wisdom. But the downside of it according to Andy Stanley is the longer time spent in the organization erodes awareness. In other words the longer we are in an organization, we tend to stop seeing the problems and just accept them.
This is where a new team member would be incredibly valuable. So you need to tell your new team members that they are really valuable in the early days. Because they will never be more objective than they are soon after joining the organization. That is why I tell our new team members often that first 45 days in the team is when they are going to be most objective before they start accepting things as they are. So we want them to know that every team member has value. We are going to learn from the senior’s experience and we are also going to learn from rookies fresh perspective and together everyone gets better.
The most important thing we should do at our workplace is to
Hire them right
Train them right
Treat them right
I want to see my staff attending office every morning not because they have to but because they want to. Because we make them feel that they know they matter because of the way they are treated, respected, involved and listen to. During my initial days of leadership, I often wonder how can I do that? Later I learned that the best way to ensure people matter to us is to just tell them. Common sense right? You love your wife and you just tell her and your life will get a lot better !! You love your kids and parents and you just tell them. It’s easy.
Begin with the end in mind:
As a leader, one of the most important skills that we can develop is identifying, empowering and developing the right people. Nothing more important than who you bring in through the front door to work for your company. Who do you hire? We need to get that right. We need to be careful about it. If we get this wrong every day we have to deal with bad attitudes, non-performers and all kinds of bad things and negativity.
The potential of your organization rests on the strengths of its people. You can have the best product, best strategy, or best vision, but without the best people, your organization will always be limited!
Jim Collins said it this way: “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”
Zig Ziglar says “You don’t build a great business, you build people then people build the business”.
Craig Groeschel says “You don’t need a large, successful organization to attract great people. You need a vision worth following.”
When you’re writing a job description, be clear about what type of person you want—don’t just list duties, list characteristics the person needs to have. This one sounds simple, but many of us overlook it. A general idea of what you want won’t help you fill a specific role. We always hire for the future and not for the present.
I always look within our organization before looking outside. If you want to guard the culture, hire from within as often as possible.
The best time to fire someone is before you hire them. Making no hire is better than making a bad hire. The cost of hiring a bad team member is greater than the cost of missing a good one. Wrong hires recruited early will make it more difficult to make great hires later into the team.
We have the most rigorous selection process with multiple rounds. Why so rigorous? Because we won’t settle for anything but the best people!! My interview questions all fall under four main categories: skill, value, behavior, and character. In my experience, most companies only focus on skill and character. The best predictor of future success is past success. You can learn a lot from the past. If you find someone who is crazy talented but has vastly different values or behavior’s, they’re not a great fit! Make sure you ask questions geared toward your core values and don’t be afraid to put candidates in real-life situations to test them. If they don’t have the skills yet, but they fit your values, go all-in!
Try reverse-interviewing to help prospective employees understand the job expectations and ensure the job is a match for them. The prospect interviews the people who would be their colleagues about the job, the culture and anything else they’re interested in. The employees being interviewed don’t ask questions but focus on responding to the prospect. These sessions usually last 30-45 minutes.
If possible, give candidates an opportunity to test the job for a day. To ensure that prospects truly understood what the job would be like and what it would feel like to work in the office with their new colleagues, after receiving an offer and prior to accepting they are invited to shadow someone in the role and ask questions. The goal is to give the prospect a truly realistic representation for what the work will be like before they accept the offer. This reduces miscommunication about the job.
Never hire someone out of desperation and I have learned this the hard way after making few mistakes. Be careful when you find yourself talking yourself into hiring a candidate. When you see something that concerns you about a candidate, don’t try to make excuses for them—dig in! If the right person isn’t there, it’s not the right time to hire. Once you complete your hiring create magic with training and it will help you make your people your brand.
Bill Hybels in his Courageous Leadership book says “Hire people for their character, competency & chemistry”
Character – What do they stand for
Competency – Knowledge, skills, and tools to get the job done
Chemistry – Do I like this person?
Do not ever underestimate the value of Chemistry. If you like their character and competency and don’t like them then I suggest not to make the hire because chemistry matters too.
According to Warren Buffet, we should look for integrity, intelligence, and energy while recruiting someone into the organization. He says without the first one the other 2 will kill you. Patrick Lencioni in the book the ideal team player says to recruit people who are hungry, humble and smart.
Burn the free fuel:
John Maxwell says a man does not live on bread alone, sometimes he needs a little buttering up. No matter what each one of us says everyone needs appreciation, recognition and encouragement.
Appreciation – Recognition – Encouragement. That to me is the fuel that drives human performance. Ask the below questions to yourself.
Do you want to be appreciated? – Yes
Do you want to be recognized? Absolutely
Do you want to be encouraged? Yes by all means
The number one reason why people leave companies is that they do not feel valued. That is why as a leader I have a rule in appreciating people. My rule goes like this. What I want to do is to appreciate more than I think I should. Appreciate more than I think I should and then double it. Never rob your team member of the blessing of knowing that you notice and you care.
Finally in Craig Groeschel words….
When the leader gets better everyone gets better
Remember, you don’t have to know it all to be a great leader! Be yourself. People would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.