As anniversaries approach, like many other milestones in life, we find ourselves becoming reflective of what we have been able to achieve (or not achieve). In this retrospect, we as a people often look to recognize patterns and habits first; while possibly missing the message that individual actions are conveying. When I look back at any year in which I was active in a management position, I like to coach myself on the platitude of “Everyday Leadership”.
Now, while this is not an uncommon exercise, I do find that when I discuss this with many of my peers or influencers, they appear to view their year with greater criticism than their days. It’s all too easy to view a single workday as a success, while holistically missing key goals during the year.
In a perfect world, one of the first questions we as leaders should be asking during this review is: Was my team or I’s daily focus in lockstep with the vision for the program? Being able to take the small step each morning to consider every team member’s daily tasks and comparing it against this question is actually a very large step in graduating from manager to leader. Having the ability address this daily focus question also means that as a leader you are setting up your team for a more adaptable paradigm.
The next question we as leaders should be asking during this exercise is: Did I coach effectively in the moment, every day? Coaching in the moment is a daily strategy that often requires a deft execution. Utilize your EQ and keep in mind that the delivery is often more important than the message. Ultimately, team members deserve to know, with immediacy, when their actions or inactions are negatively efficacious. It builds their trust in their leader and keeps them aligned with the values of the organization, rather than letting bad habits gain a foothold on the team.
Lastly, we leaders need to ask ourselves (you guessed it!) daily: Did I show up today? This implies more than whether we were present in the office on any given day. Leaders need to be willing to go the extra mile, get their hands dirty, and do what is required to follow through on commitments. If this is not your passion, ask yourself whether you truly enjoy leading a group. You will never see a team in the Final Four whose coach is not on the sidelines, red-in-the-face with the desire to see their team win.
Developing healthy habits for ourselves as leaders are the building block for the team’s daily successes. When constructing anything of value, we have great consideration for what each brick brings to the whole structure. We must bring that same amount of love and consideration to our businesses and employees.