Hey manager! Want to get better results from your leadership efforts? Good. Self-improvement is a key focus in any industry. The day you decide you know it all is the day you cap your value. Once they know what you’re worth, there will always be someone willing to outbid you.
But that’s not you. You want to get better. So let’s get started. First, you need to exude the strength of your convictions. When you make a decision, have good reasons for that decision, and stick by it. You will receive “feedback” and, often, criticism, no matter how good and right and appropriate the decision may be.
Remember, it takes very little intellectual capital to complain about a decision. A person can complain or critique freely, even if they don’t have all the appropriate information. Sometimes a person with more experience, schooling or even gravitas will challenge your decisions. In those moments, it can be tempting to second-guess yourself. But you already did that before you made the decision, right? You sought counsel and got the best advice. Now it’s time to live with it – and learn if you have to.
Caveat: If someone brings you new or different information than you started with, ignoring it is foolish. It’s one thing to stick to your convictions. It’s something else entirely to ignore solid intelligence just because it’s new.
Next, just relax. Business is tough, the environment is stressful. That’s just part of the deal. If you freak out, you will never get anything done. You will be challenged. Things that should go one way will go differently. The best-laid plans will be blown up by random factors you could never have anticipated. So what. You are still responsible to Get Things Done. You don’t have the luxury of losing it.
Caveat: Don’t be a robot. You’re not one, and pretending to be is a fool’s errand. You will experience highs and lows. The key is to accept them and not allow them to derail your long-term game plan.
Consider others’ perceptions. In any business situation, how you present yourself matters. Sure, you can pretend otherwise. Look at all the hoodie-wearing tech billionaires and imagine yourself above “petty things” such as appearance. You’re not above them. How you present yourself communicates certain things. Ask yourself, what do you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room? What do you want them thinking when you are making your pitch?
Finally, understand how to deal with expectations. It’s not enough to share what you expect of your employees. You need to understand what they expect of you and the job they were hired to do. Just asking the question will open a line of communication with people who may otherwise never express what they are actually thinking. Plus, when you are committed to communicating your expectations, you will be forced to better understand and articulate them.
Sound easy? Take a minute, right now, and think about it. Consider each job and each employee. Right now, how would you express to them what their job should be and what your specific expectations would be for them on a short-term and long-term basis? If you can’t answer that question, you have some work to do.
Roman Temkin is a mobile entrepreneur from NYC.