How To Work Effectively With Your 2nd Line Of Leadership
As part of one of the largest volunteering initiatives in the country, I worked with a lot of individuals from diverse backgrounds looking to get in to the act of giving. In such a gathering of highly motivated individuals with the best of intentions, ideas come aplenty – each with their unique benefits and perspective. While the project head would be receptive to the ideas, his only question would be:
“What are you going to do to implement this idea?”
With that, the project would continue unwavering in its objective, and new ideas if implemented would only help to serve that objective, acting as catalysts.
For this to happen in a company, CEOs must decide the final objective of a task, and ensure that its execution is met with unwavering focus. One of the major dilemmas that every key decision-maker has to face is that of focusing between strategy and execution. Now, don’t get me wrong, both are equally good and important, however, like all good things, only if done in moderation.
Spending too much time strategising or acquiring ideas on strategy may not just tend to delay the execution but also lead to series of other management concerns. It could derail your people management agenda as well as impact employee communication. This is because employees may feel that the project may not be moving forward and action is missing. As CEOs, here are some of the things that act as red flags. Being aware and taking note of them could help you get back on track:
1. Low receptiveness towards tasks assigned
Check the receptivity of your managers each time you assign them some task. The fall in receptivity could be one of the initial signs of your managers not understanding the purpose of the tasks assigned to them. This could later translate to lack of interest or lower productivity in the given task.
2. Misunderstanding and misaligned action
At time you might observe that your managers are unable to understand the basic instructions and that would not just jeopardize their performance but that of their entire team. In a situation where the team is over dependent on the manager, the managers misaligned could lead to the entire team being delayed in execution because of the failure to comply with a new set of instructions or direction.
3. Managers unable to communicate effectively to the team
In a different scenario, the managers may understand all that you say and also the reason behind it but might not be able to communicate the same effectively to the team. This leads to ambiguity of roles, tasks and even deadlines. Quite likely may also result in delayed project closure and allied losses of finances, resources and more.
4. Increased complacency among managers
With too many changes along the way there tends to grow a certain amount of complacency among employees. They resist change and are more comfortable or accustomed to doing things in a particular way. This could make them prone to resisting the dynamic changes you might want to introduce from time to time.
5. Mistrust of managers in your decisions
Last but not the least, mistrust of your very own managers in you could be one of the most important red flags in your business. If your managers don’t have complete trust in your decisions and directions, you need to have a chat and help them regain their trust in you. They are the ones who do steer the implementation for you and hence having their confidence becomes extremely important.
Each of these points mentioned above can prove to be extremely risky if it exists in your organisation. These could not only lead to decrease in productivity but may also cause a loss in the revenue of the company. Being a CEO, if you see any or all of these signs; either in your immediate reportees or in your managers or team, it’s about time you take matters in hand and work towards a better management and productivity regime.
Employees, including managers, might not always see a holistic picture of the business like you would. It is therefore imperative that you train them to trust your leadership and also share your visions with them for better results of the company. Here are 5 ways in which you can reverse the situation:
1. When sea gets rough, trust the sailor
As simple as this gets, it’s important that an experienced captain guides the ship in rough waters if it has to make it out safely. Similarly, for a company to make it out of challenging situations, it is important that your managers have complete trust and faith in you. Imbibe this trust through constant conversations and mixture of formal and informal sessions with your team managers. This would help them know you better and also trust your decisions during testing times.
2. Address the doubting Thomas first
Just like it’s mentioned in the Bible about Jesus appearing to Thomas, one of his disciples who doubted his resurrection, you too need to address the doubting Thomas in your team. Constantly ask your employees if they have any kinds of doubts in your leadership and address it in the very beginning. Establishing trust or reiterating belief before every project would help them approach it with more confidence and clarity of purpose.
3. Effective passing of communication between you and the team
Your team managers are the windows to your team. They are the ones who would communicate to the team in your absence on a daily basis. It is therefore essential that they understand and have effective communication with the team without losing anything in translation. Effective communication is a key to any healthy relationship and in a corporate one, your managers are the ones handling it for you. Hence, it is important that they pass all the company goals and visions effectively to the team. Simple ways to keep a check this would be by conducting periodic skip interviews with team members or to capture it in through reporting systems.
4. Sometimes it’s okay to let go of perfection
While perfection and getting things right is one of the key factors in the growth of any business, it is not always mandatory to follow it. Sometimes, as a CEO you need to choose between perfection and result and you might have to choose result. In such situations having a manager who wouldn’t adhere to your decisions would prove to be more of a hindrance than a help. You need to explain to them when it is okay to let go of perfection and when it has to be at an uncompromising level.
5. Focus on making more progress than plans
Leaders need to motivate the team to make progress in every situation. Even in tough times, they should be able to leverage the challenges to their advantages. Spending too long in planning and strategizing would only make things slower at such times. Hence, if your managers are clear about the progress deadlines, their dependence on planning would be limited to just the essential. This would lead to increase in productivity in the long run.
As the driver of the organisation, ensure that your managers understand the objective and are included in your vision of achieving it. Only when they’ve bought into your vision and strategy, will they be able to differentiate the good ideas, from the noise, and lead the team to work with optimum efficiency.
At Yellow Spark, we excel in helping companies develop their 2nd line of leadership. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a personalized training module and executive coaching specifically designed to suit your managers and your business.
Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.