All beginnings need a vision
... or a start to one. Since we've all just escaped the clutches of 2020, right now is a great time to orient people to what's important in 2021. It signals change (the good kind) and opportunity. No, you don't need all the answers. Yes, it's enough to just gather your troops to talk about the next quarter, six months or a year. Talk about "the good, the bad, the ugly, the questions, the uncertainties" or organize it in any way you like just so you all come out facing, more or less, in the same direction. But don't let too much time pass. Do it soon.
But I'm not the boss! Then reach out and up. Break the cycle of uncertainty and ask for a few minutes to talk about the next few months. Confirm priorities, pick her brain, create a checklist, connect on a personal level, remind him it's important to do the same for others on the team. Haven't you heard? Covid changed everything. Take the leap.
You are not alone
...even if it feels like it when times are tough. Take more chances with those who work with you. Ask folks on your teams to help you untangle a really hairy problem. Or just noodle on something. Or find a way forward. Too many managers underestimate their people and rob themselves and the company of rich perspectives, insights and ideas.
But they're too busy! Do it anyway. Bring them in, flaunt your weak spots, ask people to stretch. In a word, engage them. Or did you think "engagement" was sending a memo blast with foregone conclusions?
One last thing (for now)
If you're entrusted with a leadership role, it's not enough to have good practices. Good practices often die somewhere in the middle. Teach your teams to pay it forward.
This article is part of "A Couple of Things" series. If you're curious about the name, in speaking to clients, I tend to preface my observations by saying, "So, a couple of things..."