Lead people better. That sounds nice. But in the real world, it is easier said than done! People are hard to lead and it’s hard to be a leader. But when the mission is important enough, the need for great leadership is too. Today, we’ll look at 4 things that can help you to lead people better.
But before we do that, we have to ask a question that many people struggle with when it comes to seeing themselves as a leader:
“Am I a leader – even if I don’t feel like one?”
It’s amazing to me how often this question (or one like it) comes up. Here’s my answer when I hear this. It may help you determine if you are, in fact, a leader and if this conversation today is for you or not:
“Do you see anyone following behind you?”
If so, then you’re a leader and this is something you should read.
Lead People Better
It doesn’t matter if you are a stay-at-home mom, a solopreneur, a real estate agent, or a single parent. In all likelihood, there is someone watching you, learning from you, or following your lead.
It is a rare situation when we find that someone is, in fact, not a leader.
This is not to say that you’re a good leader, but most of you reading this are leading something or someone. How do I know? Because you’re here – reading this right now! So let’s grow together and learn to lead people better.
There are 4 ways that you can do this:
1. Have clearly defined roles.
I have seen this mishandled so many times and the outcome is always the same: stress and broken relationships.
Why? Because well-intentioned and, typically, good-willed people did the best they could based on the loose interpretation of the job they filled.
Many times, people are brought into a company to do a job but they are not crystal-clear on what the job really requires or what is truly expected. Nor is it defined in such a way that makes for clear accountability. When this happens, people do the best they think they can do and are always surprised when the leader inevitably shows up and tells them to do it better or differently. Or worse yet, hands them the pink slip.
Or worse yet, hands them the pink slip. (I’ve seen it happen several times in different businesses I have been a part of!)
If you want to lead people better, you need to give them clearly defined descriptions, expectations, and understanding of their roles. Not only will this help them to be more productive and happy in their job, but it will also help you, as their leader, to lead with more certainty based on a mutual understanding of what is to be done or expected.
2. Help them see how their role fits within the overall mission.
Too often what happens when we’re leading people is that we tell them what to do and then wish them luck. Great leaders lead people better by clearly defining their role and then helping them to see how their job helps the overall mission and vision.
This is critical to getting the most from them and for your mission.
For example, let’s say that you are bringing on a “greeter” at your church. Help them to see that their role is not just to shake hands. Get them to see, instead, how the first point of contact for anyone coming into the service that day is them. They are the first impression of who you are as an organization and how people of God are. Seen from this vantage point, this role is no small job.
Good leaders lead people better when they help them see the bigger picture like this.
3. Review regularly
As Andy Stanley says in his short but power-packed book called, Making Vision Stick, “Vision leaks.” What this means is that you can’t rely on just telling people one time what their job is and how it fits into the overall mission. Over time, this will slip, fade, or change if not regularly reviewed and revisited.
To ensure this happens, lead people better by creating regular reviews with the person(s) you’re responsible for. If they are leaders, which is probably true, then teach them to do regular reviews as well. By doing this, you will help to ensure that the vision of your organization, family, or group is maintained and re-inflated on a consistent basis when vision begins to leak.
4. Celebrate wins
One of the best and easiest ways that you can lead people better is by helping them to have clearly defined “wins” – or ways that everybody can clearly identify as “that’s exactly what we need from that role/position!“. Then celebrate with them when you see it being done.
As the saying goes, “We repeat what we celebrate.” It’s so true.
Think about what you do whenever you’re potty training a child. When you want to repeat the behavior of “going potty” you lavish the kid with praise whenever they go. The kid loves the praise and encouragement and soon you see the goal repeated with less effort by you.
The same is true for those following you. Lead them better by celebrating with them and you’ll see what you want to be repeated more often.