Posted by: Christine Donovan | January 6, 2010

The Number 3 New Year’s Resolution for Leaders

Let’s look at the third New Year’s Resolution for Leaders:

3.   Put a control structure in place that doesn’t choke creativity or motivation, but provides a foundation to make people feel safe.  Most folks need the security of structure but hate being suffocated by it (i.e. micro-managing). 

I’ve rarely worked for a leader who works with a balance of structure — either s/he was overly structured and controlling, or s/he had very little structure or plan.  But when that rare person comes along that knows how to give the team a structure that creates security and knowledge, while at the same time encouraging individuality and creativity… an empowered, motivated team of people emerges.

What’s “structure”?  Well, there are a ton of project management programs and books out there, which is a good place to start.  Structure involves planning, goal setting, and a method to track progress of goals.  It involves time management, organizational skills, prioritizing and delegating.  It requires an ability to look ahead, anticipate problems ASAP, and adjust the plan to address problems, changes and emergencies.  It involves budget administration and logistical management.  You get the idea… it’s the “management” part of management.

People skills are essential of course, and most of the other Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Leaders address those, but you can be an outstanding people person and still mess up with getting things done.  Which truthfully, is why you have a management position in the first place (Not to mess up, but to get things done!)

So make 2010 your year to get organized, set priorities, create a structure to track employee performance, deadlines, status, etc, and anticipate obstacles or challenges.  Determine that you’ll get out of the rut of ’emergency’ management, and learn that by being well organized and a good planner, you will actually put out fewer fires, have less stress in your life, and will be a much better manager.

Tomorrow, New Year’s Resolution #4: Learn the art of tempered honesty (or “tactful candor”).

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