Monday’s! Most people dread this word because it often signals the end of the weekend and time to get back to the grind. The weekend is never long enough. Monday’s present a unique set of challenges for leaders who have have to do their best to help their team be motivated and highly productive on a day where everyone would rather kick back on the couch. The responsibility of ensuring leaders and their teams do NOT have a “Manic Monday” rests on leadership’s shoulders. If the leader has the right mindset and preparation, Monday’s can become the most magical day of the week for everyone.
Every week offers a new opportunity to re-invent yourself as a leader. Hold Monday morning meetings with each of your team members to help you reflect not just on the tasks at hand but how you can re-invent yourself as well as your team members so you both have an outstanding week. David Cottrell in his book “Monday morning leadership”, introduced innovative thoughts for leaders looking to re-invent their leadership style. His book is a story about “Jeff Walters” who feels stuck in his mid-career life and is in a state of “crisis”.
David’s book is narrative style with leadership lessons delivered as part of 8 “sessions” Jeff spends with his mentor “Tony” who is the kind of leader and person Jeff aspires to be. This book has golden nuggets that will not just make you a better leader but also a better person. I will summarize some key learnings from this book below:
#1- “Be A Driver – Until leaders accept complete responsibility for everything that happens within their “Sphere of Influence” aka teams/departments, they will not succeed. It is also the leaders job to develop future leaders and managers.
#2- The Main Thing- If you are losing employees, it is likely because of your poor leadership. Leaders must develop a deep-awareness of the “Main thing” within themselves and their team- Turn Profit, Ensure Customer Sat, Quality etc. Leaders must help equip their team to become successful. If EVERYONE on your team doesn’t know what the “Main thing” is you will continue to have problems.
#3- Escape From Management Land- Success in any business environment depends on one thing: Great people. Ensuring you have great people on your team is just scratching the surface. You will need to ensure you are able to invest time each week to “coach” your team members to become better. Focus on building a “connection” with each team member.
#4- The “Do Right Rule”- Thinking ahead is a necessary skill for any successful leader. Ensure you are constantly thinking about “Crisis Mitigation” and building plans ahead of any crisis actually unfolding. Most importantly, ensure all your decisions are made with a deep sense of integrity.
#5- Hire Tough- If a forward thinking leader has their plan of action in place, they will never make the mistake of hiring someone in a hurry. Having the wrong people on your team will lead to crisis. Set the bar high in terms of your hiring standards to ensure you are team is geared for success. Even better use the rule of three: interview atleast 3 people for each position and have atleast 3 people talk to each candidate.
#6- Do Less or Work Faster- Your time is your responsibility. Take control of your time so you can take control of your life. Working faster requires small changes- standing up during a meeting, taking lunch breaks during non-peak hours to avoid lines, de-cluttering and avoid interruptions to the best extent possible.
#7- Buckets and Drippers- This is a great concept. David suggests imagining that every team member has a bucket of motivation -for some its overflowing and for others its empty. And every team member has drippers- things that can spread negativity to you and others. Your job as a leader is to know how to fill each team members bucket and avoid the drippers. Identify what’s important for them to be great at their job, provide feedback to help them improve, and most importantly show them you care.
#8- Enter the learning zone- This is another one of my favorites from David’s book. He suggests that leaders must focus on growing themselves constantly and get out of their comfort zone. He introduces three rooms: Reading room: Reading books and audio content, Listening room – listening to your team and avoiding ego, Giving room- Teaching others what you learnt. Teaching is a great form of becoming accountable.
Raising your leadership lid through self-awareness is a great starting step. Leveraging a leadership coach to help you grow your leadership skills is another proven technique.