Whether we are senior executive leaders or middle management leaders, our biggest and most powerful challenge is creating the best team. According to Jim Collins, it all starts and ends with people. He points out that: “It all begins with people. Right people on the bus. Right people in the right seats on the bus. Then we can drive. The single most important skill for an Executive? The ability to pick the right people, to make disciplined people decisions and get the right people in the right jobs.” I would add that there is also a concluding step that honors and recognizes the value in each person’s contribution. The lifeline of our organizations is still the talent and how we choose to cultivate those precious work relationships can make or break our success. So how can we honor the people around us?
- Make people a priority: When deciding on a strategic direction, leaders that carefully consider how to best align their team will have the greatest outcome. Making sure the right talent is available with the needed skill sets should be evaluated ahead of time. Additionally, think of your team members’ professional growth and interests. Ask yourself: “Will this project help a person’s career development and help them gain new skills and tools?” Leaders who can offer new opportunities for their individual team members will be developing new leaders and in turn be honoring relationships.
- Spend time mentoring people: Once we get the right team members onto our teams, let’s take the time to help develop them. Sometimes we are so busy that we think it is too time consuming to establish one-on-one feedback sessions with our team. The truth is that we cannot afford not to take the time listening and guiding our most important relationships. Ask the essential questions:
Do you have the necessary skills to perform your role?
What do you need from me to accomplish your goals?
What are some obstacles you are encountering?
What might you change and why?
Listen very carefully for the responses and try to take the time to brainstorm ways to solve the challenges together. By validating the team member’s concerns and by problem solving together, we are honoring the relationship.
- Help people find their passions: One of the most rewarding parts of being a leader is seeing those around us thrive and fulfill their dreams. When we work alongside others, we notice what activities and experiences propel them forward. We can sense what excites them. Leaders can then offer future projects that may complement a person’s passion to explore a particular area. What paths or journeys do those around us want to take? We can actually help them set their course. By locating those directions and passions we are honoring the relationships we encounter every day.
- Recognize people’s contributions: A step often overlooked by leaders is showing how much we appreciate what people do. Extending a heart felt “thank you” and saying “ a job well done” can’t be said enough. When team members work hard, learn new skills and achieve outstanding results, they need to be recognized. Organizations have different reward programs and they should be utilized to their fullest. Yet, there is nothing more satisfying for a team member to have their leader share words of gratitude. What a confidence builder! When we show others how much we value them, we are honoring the relationship.
How do you honor the relationships you have built over the years?