“You don’t lead by pointing a finger and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”
~ Ken Kesey ~
Sometimes you feel like your mid- and upper- level management are not on board with your views of the company. They lack the “buy in” you expect. Perhaps they aren’t accountable with their time or they spend company money not in keeping with company goals.
Here are three steps to coach your business leaders so they understand and commit to the company in ways that builds success.
1. Vent your frustrations. Not at the management, but on paper or with someone else in the company whose opinion you value. As you consider the weak points, create a policy that will bring the management more in line with your vision.
For example: You are not happy that vice president went on vacation for three weeks and turned off his blackberry. You think a person in that position needs to be accessible—at least on a limited bases—wherever they are. So you develop the principle you want your management to understand and live by. Perhaps you say: management needs to be available for critical contact by phone or email no matter where they are.
Recognize that your management doesn’t get it because they aren’t wired to think this way. They don’t own it. It’s not their money; it’s not their dollar. There’s a disconnect and it’s your responsibility to help them see your vision.
2. Insure your management understands and buys into the principles. Good business leadership coaching does not thrust principles on management and expect eager compliance. You want them to understand and opt in, if possible.
Sometimes it starts with asking your key people questions such as: Where have we failed you in not having you understand the importance of accountability, ownership, and urgency? What can we do now to help you be held accountable for these three things?
Call a seminar or half day event to have your management brainstorm what they can do to build more urgency, ownership and responsibility into their thoughts and actions.
Discuss what those words mean. Ideally, you want your people to drive the meeting and come up with ideas similar to those you created. You may have to correct issues and pull out the points vital to you. But the more they can come up with on their own, the more they own the principles. Your goal is to take these intangibles and quantify or systematize them.
First help them understand the concept. Ask: What does urgency mean to you? What does ownership at your level of the company look like? Then seek to systematize or quantify it: Does urgency mean that your people will work on the project with the greatest priority first? Make that a principle. Does ownership mean that people run expenses through a series of questions such as: does this give value to the company? Would the CEO spend money this way?
3. Review and measure performance. Once you get these values quantified and measured, you can hold your people accountable. Make their performance, evaluation, and bonus based in part on these three things. Maybe once a month as you make time for direct reports, you sit down and spend 20% of the time getting updates on how they are measuring up to these principles.
Then, throughout the year these concepts are getting reinforced.
Business leadership coaching helps your team come up with the principles you value. You help them to learn to think differently. You want your top level management to feel ownership in the company and accept responsibility. Then you will have outstanding management who will act with the same urgency and diligence as the CEO.
Joel Garfinkle guides CEO’s and upper level management to become more productive through business leadership coaching. He finds the solutions for your problems. Contact Joel now to learn how he can build your team to new levels. Or check out his newest book Getting Ahead.
Talkback: What are some of the things that frustrate you about your management? How have you had success in helping your team accept ownership and responsibility?
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