Supporting Key Staff and Leadership

Supporting Key Staff and Leadership
Monday, March 11th, 2013 Scott Bossart

                In all Businesses it is imperative all key leadership maintains a certain level of connectivity between what each other is doing.  At the top, this is typically achieved by communicating a vision and a strategy throughout the organization as well as reporting of metrics.  All of which are paramount if there is ever a hope of not only sustaining a viable business model, but growing the organization.  In spite of this, some business leaders figure they have the right staff in place and utilize a fairly hands off approach towards what is happening.  In the higher levels of the organization this approach can work fairly well to a certain extent, but as you move downward in the organization, there is certainly a need for a more focused reporting model.  This is not say there is a need to micro manage any group or entity linked at or below the level in which you are currently working.  On the flip side, it also does not mean you simply wait until the performance review at the end of the year to see how your direct staff is doing.  It is tough to find the balance between micro managing and no managing at all.

                How many times do we hear in the news how a key leader in the organization goes off in a different direction, only to have grave impacts to the organization?  When the leaders are interviewed, the typical response is, they had no idea the detrimental events were happening.  It is important for any leadership role in the organization to keep a handle on what is actually going on within their scope of control.  This is easily accomplished to a certain extent by using report metrics and having routine reviews.  In other cases where reports are not practical or easily obtained, given the scope of work the subordinate is responsible for, there may be a need to simply periodically check in, in order to obtain any confidence of what is actually happening.  Again, I certainly do not under any circumstances imply any formula that micro manages the situation.  There should certainly be a level of trust and expectation to any position and anyone reporting to any position…regardless of who holds it.  A good leader can very easily and politically perform a simple organizational health check on their staff.  I hear folks make comments all the time regarding how their boss has no idea of what they are up against and has no clue to what it takes to perform the role.  This typically means one of two things; either the boss is not an effective leader within the organization or the staff member is under skilled in performing the role at hand.  In either case, it is important the “Boss” has a full understanding of what the staff member is facing day to day.

                This writing is in reference to the leader/boss being in tune with what is actually going on.  If you have folks working within your control, it is one of your primary responsibilities to ensure everyone is performing to an expected standard.  In many cases, when a key staff member struggles, they will find it a sign of weakness to simply ask for help.  Ultimately, over time, this methodology leads to sub-par performance.  If a staff member is struggling and the person in charge never reaches out to, it is as sign of a sub-par leader as well.  Often times I find folks in leadership roles who present themselves at a higher level than those that report to them.  This attitude establishes a barrier and ultimately limits the ability to achieve long term success for both the leader and the person/people reporting to them.  That one extended hand for assistance can make a huge difference in achieving a goal and reaching a long term sustainable Business model.  It is important to fully understand the constraints your staff is faced with.  This is not to say you are proficient at their tasks but you know and are able to assist in guiding them to overcome obstacle in their way…LEADERSHIP.

                You don’t have to wait for the routine performance review to find out how things are going within the organizational life of someone who reports to you.  A good leader will periodically check in to a certain level, more than simply asking how things are going.  Every position within the organization requires being approachable which is especially true for any leadership role.  This basic performance function should also be a requirement.  As a person in charge of other staff or processes, being able to inquire in a manner that is not stepping directly into the role of a direct staff member, yet providing an open window for them to speak through, is something a good leader does on a routine basis.  The second key is the manner in which the response is given and being able to recognize when you may need to step in and provide a higher level of support or even assist in removing hurdle.  Understanding and assisting with those things that impede performance can greatly improve not only your success but also facilitate theirs, even if that impediment is only gone for a short period of time.  It is more important to focus on what is in the best interest of the organization.  As I stated many times before, long term success means everyone is pushing in the same direction with the same effort.  Leadership means you step up and provide guidance and assistance for your staff to successfully function without micro managing their role.

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Stay Well

Scott B.


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