Friday, July 12, 2013

The Most Important Question a Manager Should Ask

Your direct reports are accountable for how they do their job.  As their manager, your success is dependent upon their success.

In Situational Leadership Training®, managers learn how to lead more effectively by flexing their leadership style and approach to best fit the situation and the person.  Successful managers consistently ask their direct reports “How can I help you be more successful?” and the do something about it.

Answers to this powerful question tend to fall into two categories.  Here are some good tips to be prepared to help:
  1. Complaints about you. This is a wonderful opportunity to model leadership and gain trust.  If your leadership performance comes under question, do not get defensive.  Listen, learn and encourage an honest dialogue.  Then ask yourself…Are these complaints justified? Try to be objective and consider the complaint from the employee’s point of view. Then, if warranted, adjust your behavior. 
  2. Complaints NOT about you. This could involve people, groups, practices, systems or policies. After deeply understanding their complaint, help your directly report to:
  •  Identify what is “in” versus “out” of their control
  • Prioritize the importance of solving the problem
  • Create a practical game plan to make a difference

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