Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Effective succession planning: following a good leader

I have written several articles on the topic of leadership. People are very reluctant to take on leadership roles for many reasons. John F. Kennedy said, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." The number one reason is FEAR. There is a learning experience that will always lend an opportunity to develop and improve leadership, teambuilding, and communication skills. Following a good leader is easier than succeeding a bad leader because there are no messes to clean up, no wrongs to right, or points to prove- all you have to do is carry the torch. Here are 4 ways to keep the torch burning:

  1. Ask your predecessor to be your mentor.

    If the previous leadership was good, ask your predecessor to mentor you. Learn some of their techniques and get valuable feedback from your own actions.

  2. Mimic their actions and behavior.

    Repetition is the highest form of flattery. Mimic the behavior of the previous leader. Communicate in the same manner that they did, recognize members of the team in the same way, or have team meetings as often as before. People who are used to the previous leadership will conform more quickly to the new leadership if they recognize similar habits.

  3. Don't fix what isn't broken.

    The old say, 'if it isn't broke, don't fix it" is very true. Why change a policy or procedure if it worked well? Work on improving things that need modification. For example, if team members are frequently late to the regular meeting times, think about changing the date or time.

  4. Retain the previous leader's expertise. Ask them to be a part of a committee (ex officio if necessary) or be a consultant to your team.

    Even though the previous leader has stepped down or declined to take the lead again, ask them to work on a committee as an ex officio member. You and the team would still benefit from the presence of the former leader and the transition of leadership would be easier for you and the members.

Look for the next article that will discuss ways to follow bad leadership.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Are you a supervisor or a super visionary with a super vision?

Stephen Covey, the author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
wrote, "Great leaders see the world differently and do things differently." What kind of leader are you?


Super visionary with a super vision

Assigns instructions to subordinates.

Sees the task as more than just an assignment, but as another step to success for the department, company, and the employee.

Monitors tasks and goals to completion.

Begins with the end in mind.

Has the authority to make decisions in regards to the well being of the business.

Listens to the input and feedback from personnel and makes decisions based on analytical and strategic planning.

Anyone can be placed in a supervisory role, but only a select few can see past the mundane tasks and envision the bigger picture.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Multi-Hat Professional

Multi-tasking is one of the most important skills to have in the workplace. Everyday situations arise, customers are angry, deadlines need to be met, food needs to be ordered for a meeting, and there are other small crises that need to be tended to- all this on top of the daily responsibilities.

Sometimes hats are worn at the same time. Ever had to negotiate a price with a vendor because food needed to be ordered and delivered at the last minute? This is the negotiator, caterer, and fireman. When you greet someone entering the office and it turns out they are soliciting business, this is the hostess and guard. Or what about immediately locating documents that your boss is demanding? This is the soldier and magician. Here are a few of the roles that admins play:

Fireman – putting out fires, crises that arise

Magician- producing documents, making arrangements that seem impossible, but the boss is insistent

Caterer – making sure refreshments are ordered for meetings and events

Negotiator – talking with vendors, cutting deals to save the business money

Mind reader – knowing what your boss is going to say, need, or do before he or she does it and being prepared

Soldier – sitting on the 'front lines' to defend their boss and the decisions that are made, dealing with a boss who is not very polite, or absorbing unfriendly fire from customers or clients who are less than cordial

Hostess/host – greet customers and clients

Editor – proofread documents and correspondence before it is made public

Guard- protects the office from solicitors and keeps unwanted or uninvited guests out

Repairman- fixing office equipment

Administrative professionals are the cornerstone of the office and wear many hats. Which hat(s) did you wear today?