3 things you can do daily to become a highly successful leader

Posted on Posted in Leadership

I have come to believe that the things that matter most in any relationship, this includes your relationship with your direct reports as well, is the small things that you do daily.

Here are 3 things that you can start doing today to improve your relationship with your team:

  1. Talk to everyone in your team at the start of the day. Everyday. This can be for a minute or 5 minutes. But do this as a ritual. You can say hi or ask them how did that meeting go or how was their day yesterday or even inquire about their family if you know them. Talk about anything, but talk to them everyday in the morning.
  2. Coach one person everyday: Identify one person in your team whom you would like to coach. Decide if you would like to reinforce and polish one of their strengths or work upon one of their improvement areas.
    • Give them a hypothetical scenario relevant to what you want to coach about. This could be a customer situation or a inter-personal situation or anything that is relevant.
    • Ask them to think through and provide their response.
    • Ask them why they chose that response and not any other response.
    • Reinforce the response if it was the right response. If not, talk to them about what you think could be improved in their response.
    • Don’t criticize. Just provide your feedback. Talk to them about how you would approach the situation and why. Don’t necessarily force your approach on them, but let them decide for themselves.
    • When such a situation arises, notice how they respond. Provide feedback based on their response.
  3. Catch someone doing something right, everyday: Make it a ritual to do this every single day. It can be about how someone handled a difficult situation or about how someone stood up for the team when it mattered or about how as a team they found a solution for a nagging problem. Find something to praise your team.  It is unbelievable what this one habit alone can do to the morale of your team. This will also reinforce the culture that you want your team to exhibit. You will start getting more of such behaviors that you recognize and praise. Just make sure that the praise is genuine, honest and prompt.

There are a lot that you will still need to do in order to become an effective leader – like being fair to everyone, living the values that you expect your team to live by, be consistent and open to feedback, to state a few.

However, the 3 activities that we have discussed today, will go a long way in creating a foundation of trust on which you can build on.

What other daily rituals you have that result in creating a high trust environment.

Let us know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below or by tweeting to me at @rmukeshgupta.

PS: A very different take on leadership by Friedman

2 thoughts on “3 things you can do daily to become a highly successful leader

  1. Mukesh,

    Good thoughts, must have evolved after bit of experience, “observation” and “learnings”.

    Item 1 & 2: Do you really think these are practical?

    Item 3: True, this would drive lot of people crazy to offer variety of solution; recognize and award out-of-box solutions will help both.

    1. Thanks PRK. I do think that these are practical and doable. Regarding talking to your team everyday, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on this. Just a few minutes. Most managers do this instinctively but only with people they meet in the hallway or on their way to office. However, truly great managers make that extra little effort and talk to all their direct reports irrespective of where they are. Experienced leaders will also tell you that this chat will also help them stay on top of their team dynamics and will get to know much more about the activities of their team than they could ever know from formal meetings and reports.

      Regarding coaching, it does take a lot of effort from the leader to indentify the strength/weakness of each individual member if their team. However, is that not part of their responsibility to do so? Also, even if as a leader you have these sessions with 1 member of your team, you will only get to coach about once or maybe twice a month or about 10 to 12 times a year. It at least takes about 3 – 4 sessions to do one round of coaching for a particular topic (strength/weakness), which means you will be able to coach each employee on 1 or 2 key aspects in a year. Also, in terms of time commitment, we are only talking about 90 minutes a day. Now, as a leader if you are not willing to commit this time, you will find it very difficult to build high performance teams.

      Also, I believe that the true success of a leader is when his team is considered to be the place to hunt for leaders for your Organization. Then you are making leaders of your direct reports.

      Hope this helps clarify your concerns about the practicality of the suggestions that I have advocated.. Take care..

Do share your thoughts and continue the discussion