Ever sat back and asked yourself that question? I’m sure that you have at one point and time. I ask this question today as it pertains to leadership and your role as a leader to get the best out of the people around you. The central question in leadership is how can we do better?
When looking at doing better the first thing you need to examine is how you are being as person. Before you can change your actions you have to make a commitment to yourself to change the way you are and also be willing to see your world through a different lens.
Leadership can be a challenge whether you are a business owner, a manager or a parent. What’s the right balance of support and toughness? How do I get the best out of the people around me?
What really made me think about this topic with regards to business was at a workshop that we run for business owners. We spend a lot of time talking about relationships and the subject of employees always comes up. Once you get business owners talking about their employees, you are likely to hear some of the following statements.
My employees are lazy.
My employees don’t seem to care.
Why can’t my employees just get it?
Young kids today are just bad workers.
These are just a few of the comments that you will hear. The truth is that maybe their employees really aren’t doing that well and there really are bad employees. However I never once hear business owners talk about how they can do better with regards to leading their teams. I never hear them ask, “What am I doing wrong?” It’s always their team.
Penelope Trunk wrote an interesting piece for BNET on how employees need to approach their work. I respect the article and the place that it was written from as it talks about the employee taking responsibility for the direction of their careers. I agree with that but I will say this, leaders are leaders for a reason. Employees are employees for a reason.
Leaders are supposed to handle things better than their employees that’s why they are in the position they are in in the first place.
If employees were that good at holding themselves accountable, they would already be a business owner or a leader somewhere. The reality is that they are probably not good at doing this currently.
So this puts a lot of responsibility on the leader and it starts with self analysis and a willingness to accept criticism. If you can continually ask yourself what you can do better as a leader for your people, you will drive much better results for your individual team members as well as your organization as a whole.
How can you do better? You can ask this of yourself as a parent, as a manager, as a business owners and even as an employee. If you keep asking yourself this question and don’t allow yourself to filter the results, there’s no question in mind that you will be better for yourself and put yourself in a position to get the best out of people around you.