“The wind blows on us all, its not the blowing of the wind that effects us but the set of the sails”
We all have struggles, it’s a part of life no matter how many moments of success or failure we experience somewhere along the journey we struggled. If you think back on how you got into the struggle or out of the struggle you will find you were not in it alone. You were a part of a team because again that’s how life works we are all connected. Therefore all TEAMS struggle, from the great teams to the awful teams struggling is a part of the process. Its where we get our chops, its where our character is truly made. As people we naturally cheer for those whose struggles we identify with and begin to see a glimmer of hope in. hope only appears in times of need, its always there but its one of those things that only appear when we truly need it. Hope. Belief. Faith.
In todays leadership corner we are going to share how one Manager used strong leadership to help her team overcome their struggles and unite to become a top performing team.
Nicole Lamanna-Givenrod (the name is a handful, no pun intended) recently promoted to Admissions director role at Ashford University shares with us her struggles to get her team to perform and what she did to help the team not only perform but go on to be consistently one of the highest performing teams in the division, as well as manage to promote 3 new managers.
The Business – 12 players 1 coach or so they thought
When I first sat down with Nicole she had just received an award for top performance at her job that was voted on by her peers, which is the highest of honors I believe. After asking how she got to that point, she shared with me how when she first took over the team they had a bunch of talent which is always exciting, however that talent wasn’t enough to help get them over the hump. Like all managers she went into her bag of tricks to try and figure out how to get this talented group to work together and really put their talent on display. She tried everything from being very hands off to the hands on micromanaging approach and everything in between. Some weeks the team had great success and then of course there were those hair pulling weeks where nothing went the way it was planned, unfortunately the trends showed that there were more back to back bad weeks then there were back to back good weeks. In the high pressure environment she works in this type of trend can be very stressful and frustrating. If you have ever worked anywhere then you know what its like to work for a manager whose frustrated and stressed out. They stress you out and nobody wins in those situations. The following is an account of 9 things Nicole did to right the ship and get her team bought it, working together and displaying their high level of talent.
1. Finding middle ground-
a. Real leaders will show up if the opportunity presents itself, good managers create those opportunities for their people
b. Encourage everybody to be a leader, we all have different strengths the team is at its best when we are all using those strengths to work together.
i. Highlighting those individual strengths will make your people feel valued and will give them confidence they need to take on other projects
2. Clear roles-
a. People want to win, they also want to know how to win.
b. Having clear roles and setting expectations removes obstacles from the road, gives people clear passage, and makes them want to push on and go forward.
c. We all need direction to start out with, tell your people where to go, show them how to get there, and help them along the way
a. Look for help in people who are doing what you want to do and are where you want to be and ask them for help.
b. Set clear and tangible goals together (management 101 if you can measure it you can’t manage it)
c. A good accountability partner will not only help you achieve the goals you agree on but will also push you to do more than you ever thought possible
d. Don’t be afraid to hold your people accountable to their goals
4. Successful people engage
a. Create an environment where your people are focused
b. Set standards, rules and guidelines then stick to them and hold your people to them as well
c. Have the be here now mentality
5. Work hard play hard
a. Celebrate the victories big or small to encourage your people to keep doing things right
6. Create personal relationships
a. The more they know you care the tougher you can be with them
b. It also gives you a chance to evaluate where you’re people are on an individual basis as well as on the team basis
c. Make yourself available
7. Know your business
a. Knowing the ins and outs of the business is key
b. When your people are lost they will lean on you to get them to the next step
8. Empower and delegate
a. Empowering encourages leadership
b. Delegating creates buy in and individual responsibility
9. Be organized
a. Have a daily schedule to follow all day everyday
b. Don’t start the day until you have it finished.
c. Planning ahead will keep you from falling behind.
Follow these 9 simple steps isn’t always easy and it was definitely a trial and error process but they have been guidelines that have helped Nicole grow not only professionally but personally. They not only have helped her to get to where she is professionally but have helped others achieved their goals along the way, some of them achieved goals they didn’t even know they had. That’s what being a true leader is all about.
- You Are Not a Superstar – Inside Talent Management (loosenyourwhitecollar.com)
- Get started, Get ahead (thewazo.wordpress.com)
- Fistful Of Talent Webinar: Zombies, Grinders & Superstars (i2i-align.com)
- How Many Leadership Styles Do You Need – Life Cycle Leadership (wisewolftalking.com)