Give yourself permission to do this one thing and your team will thank you
I'm sure like me, you've probably been watching the US Election with interest and maybe a bit of trepidation.
As the media coverage, campaigns, debates and election day unfolded; I've been thinking a lot about leadership and the legacy one can leave.... for themselves, for organisations, for businesses, for countries.
Add the management of COVID-19 into the mix, and I think you would agree, this year has provided a keen observer like myself with many examples.
We all like to think it's easy to be a leader. Yet unfortunately for many RTO CEOs and Managers, leadership is one of the areas they struggle with - to the detriment of themselves, their team and their business.
But it's easier than you think to change from being a leader which can often frustrate their team to instead, being a leader everyone wants to work with and for; and when this happens, everything shifts.
I spend a lot of my time helping rebuild RTO teams so management and staff are back on the same page – or at least very close to it.
One of the first things I do is ask everyone a number of key questions around what's working, what's not and what can be improved so we can all move from blame and band-aiding to how do we solve the actual problems causing the frustration and confusion.
Because unless everyone is truly honest with me and shares what I call 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly', I can't fully understand the challenges around the productivity, profitability and performance of the RTO.
And do you know what is one of the top 3 complaints from staff every single time I do this process?
Their frustration around a CEO/Manager who is all talk and no action.
Staff are continually frustrated, confused and ultimately fed up with having endless conversations - be it one on one or in meetings - where they share ideas about what can be improved, the problems they're facing, the tools they need to do their job; and they get these responses.
• Yes that's a great idea, I'll make that happen.
• Oh really – let me look into that.
• I didn't know that was happening –I'll fix that.
And the unfortunately, it continues to fall on deaf ears and results in nothing. Hence the frustration.
So why do RTO Leaders act like this?
For a number of reasons including:
• Believing there is no time to stop and change things
• Not knowing how to solve the problem
• Forgetting because they are too 'busy' with their emails and To Do lists
So with the best of intentions, ideas are parked, forgotten, ignored or dismissed; and staff become ever more frustrated with the lack of action etc.
But it's not even the lack of action which annoys them the most. It's the lack of communication back to staff about why something is not happening now, how valid their idea was, what problem still isn't solved.
Because if this is not done especially when there are valid reasons for not proceeding with an idea, staff feel dismissed, ignored and devalued.
If this continues to become the mode of operation or business as usual, then eventually that pent up frustration will not only result in a unhappy and unproductive workplace; but you will end up losing some very good staff who believe 'there has to be a better place to work than this'.
And then what will you do?
In my book, The Five Little RTO Pigs, one of my 5 steps to getting CLEAR on your Business, People and Systems is DARE to Lead.
DARE is an acronym for
When I was discussing this idea with one of my clients who was already a great leader, she said to me:
You've given me the confidence, conviction and Permission To Lead because I thought I was doing really well.
But now I can see from our coaching sessions, how a few tweaks to what and when I communicated changes to the team, and then standing behind my decisions (even if some people don't agree with them), that I have truly stepped up and embraced my CEO role with more clarity and purpose.
And my team thanked me for it.
Now you might be wondering why this is the change staff are looking for?
Because they are craving strong leadership which simply means this:
Don't be all talk and no action, and don't keep changing the goalposts unnecessarily.
They simply want clarity to know what they can and can't do, as well as providing them with the tools and systems to do their job.
They want to be valued; and know their ideas will be heard, considered and implemented where possible.
And when it's not possible, they want to know why – and it's OK to say because I've decided not to for the moment.
Remember: You don't have to disclose absolutely everything to your team about the operations of the business. But you do need to keep them updated – even if for a while, that answer is 'it's parked'.
And here's my final thought:
So I strongly encourage you to give yourself Permission to Lead so you start building a Leadership Legacy for your RTO which is one of positivity, strong decision making and action taking; rather than being a leader whose intentions are good but results unfortunately in being labelled by your team as an 'All Talk and No Action Leader'.
And if you need a bit of help with this, you might consider taking on board advice from President Bartlet in the TV Show: The West Wing when he talks about his decision to hide his MS condition from the American people.
I was wrong. I was. I was just – I was wrong! Come on, we know that. Lots of times, we don't know what right from wrong is, but lots of times we do and come on, this is one. I may not have had sinister intent at the outset. But there were plenty of opportunities for me to make it right.
No one in government takes responsibility for anything anymore. We fluster, we obfuscate, rationalize. Everybody does it, that's what we say. So we come to occupy a moral safehouse where everyone's to blame so no one's guilty. I'm to blame. I was wrong.
As always, leadership begins and ends with us.
P.S If you need any help and support in starting this step, I know a fantastic specialist RTO Business Coach who would love the opportunity to help you, your team and your business.
Dedicated to helping your GROW your RTO business