Little Things Do Make a Difference

Friday, January 4 2013

Many of us believe that in order to make a difference we must undertake a massive change. This is absolutely not true! Small things can have a significant effect, and may multiply into additional positive impacts. Ravel`s Bolero is an example of this. This musical composition starts off quietly, with only a few instruments playing; instruments are added one at a time and the music gets louder and louder, building to a magnificent crescendo.  Each new instrument is only a small change, yet it enhances the final results.

As leaders we can use this same principle to enhance our leadership and build stronger teams.

Here are ten areas where a small enhancement could make a big difference.

1. Clear Expectations
When you are delegating make sure the expectations are unambiguous and understood by the other individual. Expectations should include clear outcomes, and time frames. Plan for on-going communication.

2. Regular Formal Coaching
Formal coaching sessions should happen regularly, every 4 to 6 weeks, and focus on the person and how they are doing in the execution of their job. This is in addition to day-to-day interactions or situational coaching.

3. Involve Team Members in Decisions
Involve your team in decisions that impact them. Dictating goals can kill motivation. In addition, the organization loses out on potential great ideas.

4. Get to Know People
Spend time getting to know your team members. You want to understand what motivates them and determine what support they need from you in order to be successful.

5. Be Authentic
Be honest, open and genuine with people. Be yourself. Trust and respect help build stronger relationships.

6. Take Responsibility for Your Actions
You are responsible for the results created by your team. Pointing fingers or laying blame erodes trust quickly. Support your team and develop them to succeed.

7. Focus on the Top Payoff Activities
Ensure that at the end of the day 80 percent of your time has been spent on activities that are critical to getting results. Track your time over a couple of weeks and if time spent is out of balance, make a change. Say no to some things.

8.    Address Concerns
Deal with performance issues and misunderstandings within 24 hours. Be positive and non-judgemental in your approach.

9. Listen with empathy
Listen to understand how others feel.  You don`t have to agree with their perceptions but they do need to feel heard. If you are ever in doubt try mentally reversing roles with the other person and think about how you might feel in that situation.

10. Manage your stress
If you are feeling stress, deal with both the cause and the symptoms. Relaxing, deep breathing, and exercising are simple techniques that can help. Be proactive in minimizing stress to reduce harmful reactions. Seek advice from your own coach or mentor.

Few of us will score 100 percent in any area. Small adjustments are worth the effort and can have big impacts on your results. Little things can and do make a difference.