There are a few things a leader should never delegate. One of those things is vision.
If you are a leader, the vision for your team or organization must come from you. If your team’s idea comes from someone else, your leadership will be bright to those on the team. This doesn’t mean that you have to develop the vision yourself. It also doesn’t mean that only you can communicate that specific idea. You will have to embrace and live the vision that you want your team to aspire to achieve. This is walking the talk. It is casting inspiration of the future. It must be done authentically, and with passion. It cannot be delegated, even if you’re working with a team.
Another familiar tale is the issue of working on a project together with a team; it can seem as though there are always one or two people that distract the group from their goal. It could be that they actively speak out against the plan, or they could silently disrupt progress behind the scenes. It all comes back to you, as the leader with the vision, to take control of the situation. Here are some strategies that will help you overcome the rabble-rouser.
1. Focus on the majority. The simple method is just to ignore the person that is disrupting the group. If you can move forward with the majority of the group, then you can gain momentum.
2. Address the issue with the person separate from the group. Confronting the rebel in front of the group will only justify their message. So pull them to the side and try to resolve the issue discreetly.
3. Create wins to show the group the progress. People want to be on the winning side. Get some small wins, and you will begin to overcome any opposition.
There will always be someone that will stand in your way on your path to achieving your vision. Find a way around and don’t lose too much time thinking about it. In fact, there are plenty of workers out there that have one or two co-workers that they absolutely can’t stand to be around. Many people have to show up to a workplace that is extremely toxic. As a manager, there are several ways that you can avoid letting where you work become poisoned, whether it is because of co-workers or upper management. Robby Slaughter looked into this issue after reading an article written by Marcel Schawntes from Inc magazine. The very first tip is what caught my attention.
1. All sticks and no carrots
Management focuses solely on what employees are doing wrong or correcting problems, and rarely give positive feedback for what is going right. Or mostly carrots for the best performers, sticks for the rest.
This sounds correct. We want to be rewarded instead of punished. Right?
Not exactly. The notion of direct incentives (giving a raise / giving some praise) or direct disincentives (cutting pay or cutting people down) is not how human psychology works. In fact, incentive pay may be the worst idea in the history of modern business. And when mistakes happen, forgiveness is more effective than shame.
So yes, “sticks” are a sign of a toxic workplace. But carrots are a sign of a dumb, outdated workplace that treats employees like children.
So what’s the takeaway from all of this information? Being a leader can be extremely overwhelming, it’s important to acknowledge that! Use your position to create an environment that allows you and your employees to achieve your vision. The buck starts and stops with you, so it’s up to you to keep you and your workers on the right track.