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Get It Done!

Four Leadership styles for getting things done

I've never considered myself a "follower"; while I don't mind taking direction from others, I do like to understand the "why" behind the "what" I'm being asked to do. I find it is much easier to accomplish the desired result if I understand the reasons behind what I have been told to do.
This is true not only in business, but in my personal life as well; many years ago, when my 18 year old son was just a baby I took him in to see the pediatrician to help figure out why he was constantly crying. I made an appointment with a doctor in our practice that I had never met before. At the appointment my son was fine...no crying, and the doctor told me I was over-reacting and that he was fine. When I tried to explain that he wasn't fine, I was completely dismissed. He was very condescending toward me and his attitude was very much that I couldn't possibly know anything... after all, I was just the mother and he was the Doctor. It was awful, and it didn't help to resolve the issue.

The next day when the office called me to do a follow up call and heard my son wailing in the background, they ordered me to bring him back in because something wasn't right. This time I saw a different doctor in the practice, one who actually listened to me, and we worked together to figure out what the problem was using his medical knowledge and my knowledge of my son's crying and behavior. By working together, we figured out that it was most likely Acid Reflux, and after we put my son on medication the difference was night and day...Needless to say, I REFUSED to see the first doctor again, with any of my children.

How often in life, either in business or in our personal life, has this happened? How often has someone who may (or may not) have knowledge we lacked, swooped in to berate us simply because they could? Maybe they truly feel they are helping, but this isn't a very effective style of leadership. As human beings, we need to understand the "why" behind the "what".
When working with your team, there are four distinct ways to get things done:

-Telling
-Selling
-Participating
-Delegating

In today's blog, we'll explore the conditions when each of these communication styles is most appropriate.

Telling or directing does have its' time and place in management. When there is no room for debate, and something just needs to get done, this is likely the best approach. Maybe there is a new safety protocol that was put in place and it MUST be followed. This is a time where TELLING is the best way to go; however, giving the "why" can also be a helpful addition. For example, we are implementing this new policy to avoid injury to our guests or team members.

Selling Is making the case for something to be done based on an incentive or motivation. For example, you might say to your team, "If we can sell 10 more souvenir books then we typically do, today you will all receive a free meal voucher when you meet the target." Selling is all about calling people to action and getting them excited about accomplishing a task you would like them to do. At home, you might say: "If everyone helps with KP (Kitchen Police) tonight after dinner, there will be ice cream."

Participating occurs when the leader actively participates in the task being completed by the team. Getting "in the trenches" with your team shows them that you care about them and the goal and that you will do what it takes to make it happen. it sends a message of comradery which can be very motivating. One of my favorite jobs ever was working at the Disney Store for this exact reason, even though our Managers didn't do "front line" jobs everyday, we knew without a doubt that they would if we needed them to.

Delegating - "You do this, and I will do that." - is a great way to assign work task by task. Let's say you have a big project that requires research in multiple areas, the leader could delegate by assigning different research topics to individuals who can then collaborate once the research is done. You assign work task by task to ensure that all needs of the project are being handled without overwhelming any one person. The Leader will still take point and ensure each person is completing their task and allowing the group to succeed.

Each of these ways of getting things done can be very effective, when used in the correct situation. A successful and effective Leader will use a combination of all of these methods with their team to motivate them and ensure that they have the knowledge needed to succeed. A Team that understands not only "what" they are being asked to do, but "why" they are being asked to do it, will have a much clearer view of what they need to do to reach their goals!

Have a wonderful week!

Melea