As you know I like to help people out, and inspire people to become better leaders so I was over the moon when on my feedly homepage up popped a post from Forbes alluding to an article titled ‘How To Be A Better Leader: Four Essential Tips’. I thought great – something to read, digest and add my spin (including psychological tweaks) to. Only to discover it wasn’t a blog at all and instead it’s a 5 photo slide show using stock images and a ‘tip’ consisting of a word, and a useless sentence following the ‘tip.
So while I’m heartily disappointed at Forbes attempt to inspire people to become better leaders I am not discouraged and will still do that which I set out to do. But I am afraid there’s going to be a lot more of ‘me’ in this blog than anticipated so if you’re not into my style you probably want to just give up right now and read something else…
Onwards and upwards!
Forbes Tip #1 ‘Delegation: Finesse your vision and trust your team’
BOOM! Forbes hit you right there with a biggie which has never been mentioned before ever… Oh wait isn’t delegation part of the job title?
Yes, I understand that many people in leadership roles have a few issues when it comes to letting go of things – and this is often what causes conflict, and serious difficulties down the line.
OK, we’ll agree that yes it is a ‘tip’ but what on earth do they mean by ‘finesse your vision’? Why are they talking about ‘your’ vision as in my vision as the leader?
For a start, it should be the company’s vision you’re talking about, not yours as an individual.
Secondly ‘finesse’ as defined by dictionary.com means ‘impressive delicacy and skill’ or ‘great subtly and tact in handling or manipulating people or difficult situations’ (there’s also a definition about tricking people with cards but I’m pretty sure that is not what Forbes were alluding to…).
Maybe the reason they just dumped a one liner on a stock photo is because they themselves couldn’t work out how to ‘finesse your vision’.
I don’t even know what to say about this… Or how to help – sorry.
Finally, ‘trust your team’ – yes absolutely otherwise why are you paying them?
My take on tip number 1 it should instead be something like this:
Katie Tip #1 Inspire: Set all goals and targets in line with the company vision, and mission and inspire your team to achieve.
Forbes Tip #2 Communication: Create authentic conversations, and be succinct while speaking directly.
Oh my days, this just gets better and better!
Communication – is a great tip… I’m pretty sure 100% of people out there managing a team are communicating what needs to be done.
While I agree it may not be communicated in the most appropriate fashion, and one of the main reason’s employees decide to leave (linking heavily with being overworked, undervalued…).
But what do they mean by ‘authentic conversations’? Authenticity links to originality.
I’m so confused right know, I really can’t even work out how you go about doing this?
Maybe they’re encouraging you to create new words?
Especially as a key feature of happy organisations is consistency in its message. Could you imagine turning up to a job and not knowing what’s going on every day, or having no clue what your line manager is talking about because every time they’re talking to you they’re trying to be ‘original’…
…’succinct while speaking directly’
So speak briefly, clearly and to the person who need to talk to… Think we’ve just contradicted ourselves here Forbes. The first half is telling you to go off the walls and create authenticity, and the second half is telling you to talk to the person you need to (a little bit of a no brainier – I doubt many leaders spend their days playing Chinese whispers), and keep it brief…
Katie Tip #2: Effective Communication: Communicate direction effectively, and consistently across the team.
Forbes Tip #3 Enthusiasm: Morale is linked to positive energy, so keep an upbeat attitude and remember – it’s OK to fake it
PLEASE DISREGARD THIS ONE AT ALL COSTS!!
Being ‘fake’ with your team will just ruin any relationship you have with them.
Morale is not linked with positive energy that’s twoddle.
Morale is linked with being treated fairly, appreciated and supported.
Let’s be honest – no one likes that one person in the office who is happy all the time. In fact that one person who just does not stop beaming really bugs everyone else.
Yes, it’s a good idea to stay positive and talk in such a way which is not all doom and gloom. But trust me as an enthusiastic person myself – it doesn’t tend to go down well…
I will forgive Forbes this one because it is American, and there may be a few cultural differences at play here. But still, if you’re telling someone every thing is about to go belly up with a big grin on your face, or throwing loads of buzz words around it really isn’t going to come off very well!
Katie Tip #3: Support: Support, appreciate and treat all your team fairly.
Forbes Tip #4 Accountability: Act ethically and responsibly, and don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Nope. Not a tip. Didn't think I could be more disappointed than I was with Forbes Tip #3 ...
If you behave like the bankers did back before the economy almost imploded then you are absolutely not a great leader.
If you’re not responsible then you shouldn’t be leading.
If you make promises you can’t keep then you’re an idiot.
Let’s instead try.
Katie’s Tip #4 Lead: Spend time planning, monitoring, supporting and coaching your team to achieve.
I hope that my take on Forbes tips have been useful, and can at least support some of you to become better leaders. At the root of it – great leaders do just that they lead from the front and everyone else falls in line and follows.
Have a fabulous Tuesday! Katie.