Five Ways that Leaders Can Find More Freedom
The ability to grow, be more efficient, operate more effectively and utilize the knowledge of others for our own good is exactly why I started Frenzy to Freedom.
Below, I speak about five ways that you can create more freedom for yourself. More peace of mind for your team and advisors. More security for your vendors, employees, customers, and supporters. And, they all include opportunities for you to begin trying today.
1. Maintain Consistency
Whether we are talking about products, services, customer service, or just your workflow, consistency is key to managing expectations. People like to rely on things that they know. And they like to have pleasant experiences that they can expect. And no, consistency doesn’t have to be boring!
Consistency means that they have the same great experience dealing with you that they do dealing with the person you hired two months ago. It means that they have an understanding of how working together goes and what they are getting from you.
It means that they know what to do next and more importantly what you expect from them. By creating consistency with your workflow, you are setting an example that someone else could learn from or follow. You make it easy for things to be replicated. And you also create an opportunity for conversation about what could work better or be improved.
It means being able to trust that your customers are in the right hands. It keeps you from micromanaging. It means you can step away when you want to and understand that things are covered. It means FREEDOM.
2. Set Expectations
Closely aligned with consistency are expectations that you set. What do you expect out of your team? What should your customers expect from you? Would does success really look like?
One great way to set expectations for important areas of your operations are to create standard operating procedures (SOP’s). SOPs that you test, measure, and review annually. You do not need to spell out EVERYTHING. These are standards of how you work and how you produce results. These can include checklists and step by step instructions. If starting from scratch think about what you already have a process for and what it would take to write it down. Involve your team members and new hires. [Check out the blog on getting started with documentation or process documentation for more details.
These are a sure-fire way to let team members know what you are expecting from them. No one should work for a company without having a clear job description. Again, what does success look like? What are my main priorities and what key indicator lets us both know that I’m on track? How can I ask for support if one my accountabilities is impossible or not making the list of priorities? I.e. how can I ask for support?
Often these are appreciated by everyone but often left as unspoken rules. You may have them in your SOP’s it’s helpful to turn them into a quick list of what it is like to interact daily. How do we treat each other and what assumptions can we make, or what do we need to avoid? Often these seem like common sense but go a LONG way to reminding everyone how to work together effectively.
Follow your own rules. Trust becomes diminished when you don’t practice what you preach. And if rules are meant to be broken then they will be.
3. EMPOWER OTHERS
Find and train capable people like employees and outsourced experts. Pay attention to the budget to decide when to hire full time and when outsourcing is sufficient. Don’t micromanage. Use their strengths to your advantage.
Foster an environment where your team trusts each other and you. Do what you say you’re going to do and hold all people to the expectations created.
Take the time to review the good, the bad, and the ugly. Celebrate success and analyze what could have been done better for the losses. Provide an opportunity to learn. And above all, make these conversations a natural part of your environment. With the right attitude to analyze and try again differently less losses will occur and people will be more willing to try harder.
Encourage growth and specialization. Not only will opportunities for career growth improve the loyalty of your team, but you will reap the rewards of their skill development.
4. PLAN for the Future
Numbers, numbers, numbers. Understanding where you are at, where you want to be, and what it will take to get there can most easily be visualized and realized with spreadsheets – ok, maybe this is just my world! Regardless of whether you’re a numbers person, as a leader, having a good grasp of what your reports tell you and someone smart to ask questions can make or break your business or organization.
What do you want for the future for work and for personal time? All too often personal life is left out of work goal setting sessions. But if you’re like most leaders, you can’t rest until you have things covered. The steps outlined on this page can get you there but what is your motivation? What says that you did a good job? Create a measurement for success and understanding of why you want it and keep these things front and center.
5. Grow and improve
Failure is an opportunity
High performers can be hard on themselves. Learning that failure is a part of the game and accepting it broadly across all manners of life can be powerful. Sometimes we say we are ok with failing but then have some real difficulties when that time comes. Give yourself grace and step away with a big picture vantage point when this happens.
As a company
If you are satisfied going to the same work every single day, then you probably didn’t get this far into the article. Growth can be a cap that you set, or it can be a continuous improvement based on your overall desires. If you’re measurements aren’t showing growth, what could you change? Consider measuring quantitative alongside qualitative marks. Take a step back and reevaluate the path you are on and where it is leading you.
As a person
It is hard to grow an organization if the team and leadership don’t grow along with it. If you find yourself – or a team that you are on – resisting change, consider that a red flag and an opportunity to evaluate your own position.
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