Developing Your Leaders and Your Team: 3 Questions Leaders Must Ask and Answer
When you are tasked with developing the skills of your organization’s leaders, where do you start? Leadership is undeniably complex and affected by an unlimited number of variables, circumstances, and personalities, but even during the chaos, every leader should always be able to answer three critical questions. As you build your leadership development program, start with the three questions below to help leaders establish purpose, direction, and focus.
Where are we as a business going?
Managers/ directors/ supervisors focus on day to day and clinic functions including adherence to regulations and compliance issues. Owners/leaders focus on vision and strategy. Effective leaders not only have clarity around their vision they are able to engage their staff to create alignment and thus have an impact on the growth of the business
The vision determines the destination and the communication effects the response and outcome. Without clarity of vision, you find yourself chasing your tail or trying a lot of different things only to wear yourself out.
You have likely heard “common sense is not common.” Owners and leaders often assume that once they shared the vision with the staff, that should immediately engage and follow the direction. It is quite common for the vision to only be reviewed with staff 1-2 times/ year. How many times have you asked either your Leadership Team and/ or your staff if they know where the business is headed? Or even the purpose and mission? Would their responses match your response? If your answer is yes to both questions, then you are on the right track. If the answer is no to either or both questions, then you have some work to do.
If your staff does not know where you are going, they will have a hard time with the purpose of their position. You will likely need to set an intention to create an open discussion with both your leadership teams and staff members that involve vision, mission, and purpose. Then create the connection between the vision and how each staff member’s position contributes to and compliments attaining the vision. This needs to be done every 30 days. Along the way, you are likely to identify tasks or other processes that are not necessary or need revisiting. This is so important for the growth of not only your business but your most important asset, your team.
How are will we get there?
Now that the vision and destination have been defined, how will you get there? Choosing the “path of least resistance” sounds simple, but consideration of barriers (regulations, compliance, staffing, reimbursement, referrals, etc.)
The owner/ leader must develop a strategic plan including, specific tactical steps. Successful leaders communicate the vision and then empower all team members to implement the components of their position while growing successfully with the business.
The owner/ leader and/or leadership team should be asking the following:
- Does each team member know and understand their own expectations and why they are important?
- Are you encouraging and listening to creative ideas?
- Are you supporting the development of individual staff members ideas?
What does success look like?
As an owner/ leader have you defined success and what it looks like? Have you engaged your team in defining and gaining clarity toward this end? If success is not articulately defined, how do you know if you achieve success? Without this being clearly defined and discussed with the team, the vision will be adversely affected, and you will have a difficult time measuring progress.
Being an effective leader starts with being laser-focused on your vision and being able to engage your staff while communicating the purpose, mission, and direction.
A strong leader creates meaningful relationships with staff members. Successful leaders figure out what others excel at and support and empower them to grow. These leaders lead by example, consistently, and equip their team members with the tools they need to be successful.
Leadership requires ongoing growth, it is not a single event; it is a journey that begins by being able to ask and answer these three questions.