Leading with Trust

Three Priorities for Leaders Now That Summer is Over

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer in the United States. Family vacations, picnics, and days at the beach give way to kids returning to school, cheering on your favorite football teams, and settling into the rhythms of the fall season. Depending on what business you’re in, the summer may have been a slow time that allowed you to disengage from work for a while and recharge your batteries. For some organizations, summer is the busiest time of year and you may be eagerly awaiting the fall season so that you can catch your breath. Regardless, heading into the autumn months is an excellent time for leaders to focus on three key priorities that will help them finish the year strong.

1. Review your team’s progress YTD and clarify your focus for the remainder of the year. When is the last time you looked at your strategic plan for the year? (You do have a plan, don’t you?!) If you haven’t reviewed it lately, now is a good time. With four months left in the year you still have time to make an impact. Over the summer it’s easy to lose track of your key priorities. The exuberance of the new year drifted into the promise of spring which eventually evolved into the dog days of summer and you find that you haven’t accomplished quite as much by this time as you had hoped for. Use this time to reevaluate your plan for the remainder of the year and put your energies and resources into the goals that will help improve your business today as well as set you up for a strong start for the next year.

2. Bring your team together to reconnect, reenergize, and refocus. Over the summer it’s common for your team to start to feel disconnected. People are in and out for vacations, team members are backing each other up, and it can seem like the “normal” routine of business gets thrown out the window. This is a great time of year to focus on team building. People have returned from vacation and are ready to settle into the familiar routine that the fall season brings, so take advantage of the change in seasons to hold a team lunch, have a potluck or cookout, and allow people to reconnect. It’s also the perfect opportunity for you to share with your team the top priorities for the rest of the year so that everyone is singing from the same song sheet.

3. Get back in the routine. Routines can provide security, stability, and efficiency…if they’re good ones! Some routines are just old habits that are a waste of time, so those are the ones you want to ditch and you want to focus on the ones that will help you achieve your goals for the year. Routines help your team know what to expect from you as a leader and what you expect of them as team members. Use this time to evaluate the routines you have in your organization and intentionally leverage the good ones to get your team focused on the key goals and priorities.

Each season of the year has its own vibe and autumn is one where we turn our attention to getting back to work and finishing the year strong. Set yourself up for a successful end of the year by reviewing your team’s progress, clarifying your goals for Q4, nurturing team relationships, and providing the structure and routine your team needs to finish strong.

Interview with the One Minute Manager – Three Secrets to Build Trust

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to interview the One Minute Manager for a blog article I wrote for LeaderChat.org. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of The One Minute Manager. With over 13 million copies sold in 37 languages, it’s one of the bestselling business books of all-time and continues to inspire leaders around the world with its practical wisdom on managing people. The elegantly simple techniques of One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands have enabled leaders and managers to be more productive, satisfied, and prosperous in their jobs.

I was particularly interested in the One Minute Manager’s (OMM) thoughts on what today’s leaders should be doing to build trust. Here’s what we discussed:

Randy: Congratulations on the 30th anniversary of your story being published. You must feel very proud.

OMM: I’m humbled that Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson felt my story was worth sharing and took the time to write a book about it. I’m gratified that it’s helped so many people.

Randy: I’m interested to know what you think leaders should be doing to build trust with their followers and stakeholders.

OMM: Well, I think having trustworthy relationships is the number one priority for leaders, and the three secrets support a leader in achieving that goal.

Randy: I thought the three secrets were techniques for managing people more effectively. Explain to me how they help leaders build trust.

OMM: One aspect of building trust is being competent in your role as a leader, and certainly practicing the three secrets displays your competence. Specifically, the first secret, One Minute Goals, allows leaders to build trust by setting clear performance expectations. People are more apt to trust you as a leader if you’re clear with them on what you expect them to do. Unclear expectations result in miscommunication, wasted energy, and ambiguity, which ultimately leads to mistrust of the leader.

Randy: So tell me how your second secret, One Minute Praisings, helps leaders build trust.

OMM: One of the easiest ways to build trust with others is to catch them doing something right! Recognizing and rewarding good work are key trust-building behaviors. When you take time to praise others, it shows that you value their contributions and you want them to succeed. If you fail to recognize the good work of your people, or even worse, hog the limelight and take credit for their work, you severely damage trust in the relationship. One Minute Praisings communicate care and concern, and when your people see that you care about them as individuals, they trust that you have good intentions toward them.

Randy: It’s amazing to see how One Minute Goals and One Minute Praisings support building trust. The third secret, One Minute Reprimands, seems a little counter-intuitive in regards to building trust. Help me understand.

OMM: On the surface it may seem counter-intuitive, but in reality, a One Minute Reprimand is another way of showing that you care about people and you want to help them succeed. When you give a One Minute Reprimand, you are reprimanding the behavior, not the person, and you’re giving the reprimand because you want to prevent that person from suffering the same mistake again in the future. People trust and respect leaders who give them honest, yet caring feedback about their performance. Leaders that hold themselves and others accountable create a culture of safety, security, and clear boundaries, which acts as a breeding ground for trust. A One Minute Reprimand is honest and caring feedback which is essential to have in a high-trust relationship.

Randy: Thank you for spending time with me. Your One Minute Secrets have helped me in my career as a leader and now I see how they’ve also helped me build trust with others.

OMM: It’s been my pleasure and I ask you to do just one thing: share it with others.

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