Give ‘em the tools

Being a leader is a really tough gig.  Not only do you need to be good at your craft but you are, all of a sudden, expected to become some kind of people expert. You’re expected to know what to do with all kinds of humans, to develop them and keep them motivated.  And it seems that every bl*^dy blog or article in social media is directed at how YOU need to step up, how YOU need to walk the talk, how YOU need to be vulnerable about your flaws to unite a dysfunctional team and basically how YOU need to know everything! You feeling me?

It’s a really tough gig.

So here’s my perspective when it comes to how we should support our leaders, AND our people for that matter, when we are driving change or development.

We want to make it easy for our leaders and people for them to become the culture we are aiming for. Just let them get on with being operational experts and show them how to do the embedding piece. Don’t assume they know. They don’t. Make it easy for them and they will be more motivated and capable to do it. Help them to find their flow.

I was inspired to learn the value that Deloitte placed on equipping their leaders to make their new performance culture successful. Coaches were appointed for the leaders in the business to provide support and guidance when needed. Through regular ‘pulse checks’ they were able to determine which leaders were adopting regular catch ups with their team or not.

Instead of approaching it with a stick, they chose the carrot. They had ‘coaching conversations’ with them to understand what was working and what could be better. They also recognised, in hindsight, that this was something they should have driven more of from the start. It would have accelerated the implementation.


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Adobe did the same. Three years down the track they provided each executive with a coach. They need that doing this was one of the most important factors to drive success. Leaders can’t be expected to know how to do it all.

Provide your leaders with a toolkit so they don’t have to think about how to drive it. If you were embedding a feedback culture your kit could include:

  • Suggestions for team meeting discussions
  • Guidelines on running ‘kick-arse catch ups’ (yep that’s my language), that model giving and receiving feedback
  • Draft emails they can edit and send, especially the very senior ones
  • Ideas and initiatives to create habits

People are like dominoes – one has an effect on the next one. So, let’s work with this and stop expecting that one training session, workshop or email is enough.

Rant over!  If you want to know more about embedding change get your hands on a copy of my new book ‘Feedback Flow. The ultimate illustrated guide to embed change in 90 days’.