“What’s your management style?” Leadership style? Here’s my Top 10:
There is never any reason to not be respectful. Nobody deserves to be humiliated, embarrassed, insulted, etc… However, this doesn’t mean I don’t have tough conversations and provide real-time feedback of job performance.
My goal is that when I write a performance review or 360 feedback, there are no surprises. You’re doing a disservice to your team, company and yourself if coworkers don’t know where they stand with you. I strive to provide real-time feedback – in the moment. Sometimes if its a tense moment, I might wait a couple of days. There are lots of great ways to give real-time feedback while still adhering to the previous point. You might ask a question after the meeting “Did that go as you expected?” Start a brainstorm, about how a different approach might have yielded a better outcome. I like to focus on aligning expectations. I might say “my expectation on this project was X, what was yours?”
Vision and Goals
How do I stay aligned and clear on what we are accomplishing? I’m a fan of creating a vision, organizational objectives and documenting SMART goals and objectives (G&O’s). I facilitate the process, but ultimately its the team members who come up with the content. We usually document our goals on 6-month time horizons and review as a team twice per quarter. Why do we do this?
- Let others know what we are working on. G&O’s should be shared cross-functionally and with management. Clear and transparent.
- Ensure alignment on priorities among team members, other teams and management.
- Resource allocation and needs. My boss or someone else wants us to work on something else – ok – but let’s all recognize that another goal is deprioritized. Or provide more resources. I want my team to hold me to this standard as well; so if I ask for something, they can say, “no problem Sean, but let’s talk about what we are going to stop working on”. That’s fair.
- The most important point perhaps: We don’t leave a G&O setting session without consensus. Meaning, all team members need to buy-in. Or maybe we agree its a ‘stretch’ goal.
I prefer to be managed. Meaning I don’t want to be micro-managing or reviewing what you do, day in or day out. Include me in meetings and have me review things as needed – a risk-adjusted approach.
At the risk of completely contradicting the previous point, expect me to deep dive into a lot of areas at least one time. Once I’m confident the process is sound, I probably won’t be back for awhile or ever.
Ideally every one of my team members has a deep desire to be challenged, develop and grow. I want to hire people that can replace me, and I hope that continues on down the line. I want you to work outside your comfort zone, take risks, make mistakes (course correct fast), be intellectually curious, be a thought leader and audaciously present your ideas in front of audiences.
Remain Calm in Stressful Situations
I’ll admit, I struggle with this one sometimes, but I’ve been consciously working on it for years. I thrive in crisis situations, but some people do not, and you need to recognize and accept different styles. As a leader, people will look to you as an example and your emotional response sets a tone.
Be Clear and Concise
My profession is documentation intensive. Memos, processes, presentations, etc… I live by the clean cut “Google home-screen” approach to writing and presenting analysis. Only include what is absolutely necessary, and nothing more. I work in finance and we have to perform what are called “account reconciliations”, which basically support the #’s underlying our financial statements. I have a rule: if the CEO can’t pick up the summary page, and within 1 minute understand the nature of the account and reasonableness of balance, then it needs reworking.
Have a Point, Move Fast and be Efficient
If you schedule a meeting, have a point, a goal and a desired outcome. You looking to share information? – then probably should send an email, likely not a meeting. You need a decision, then schedule a meeting and drive the group to a decision. If you’re going to take up others’ time by way of a meeting, then be considerate and appreciative of their time: send out an agenda, pre-read materials and follow-up the meeting by sending a summary of decisions made and action items.
Manage Your Own Time
If you’re going to be in late, gone in the afternoon or taking Friday off; I probably don’t need to know…and I’m glad you figured out how to get out for a long weekend. Point here is we know what needs to get done (see G&O’s above), so let’s get it done – remember we already agreed on it. So if you are getting it done, manage your calendar and don’t feel like you need to be constrained by the 9to5, 5-days/ week schedule.
Be Positive and Have Fun
We’re in this together. We are humans. Let’s have fun and enjoy what we are doing! And if you’re counting, this is #11. So if you’re not hurting anyone, not breaking any laws/regulations and it makes sense, go ahead and change the rules.