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Some people say the job of a front line leader is pretty easy — as long as you have all your team members report for work with the necessary skills, your machines, and equipment work properly, your raw materials are good and the production schedule is stable — it’s a piece of cake! Right?
Most days, one of those essential pieces will be missing and you’ll be scrambling to move people around to make the best out of what you’ve got. Most front line leaders become really good at reacting to what gets thrown at them every day.
You’d probably agree that after a while, that constant reacting gets a bit stressful and discouraging, both for you and your team.
Giving your team a sense of hope is important. They can get discouraged when they see more and more frustrations keeping them from being successful. When they see fewer problems, their spirits are raised and they become hopeful for better days ahead.
Most of the population tends to have a move-away-from tendency — they focus on the things they don’t want in their life.
Fewer people actually focus on what they want. By taking a more-towards approach, you’ll create more motivation for you and your team.
Remember when you first learned to drive, you had a tendency to look just over the hood of the car and your driving was uneven and jerky. Then when you learned to look up to the horizon your driving became smoother. In the same way, when you keep yourself and your team focused on the horizon, it will create better results.
Here are three steps to create a practical, powerful and compelling vision for you and your team:
Step One: List Your Hassles and Frustrations
Start by listing the most frequent things that tend to go wrong in your department. Those might include employee attitudes, lack of teamwork, unreliable equipment, lack of support from other departments, a constantly shifting schedule or people taking extra long breaks.
Depending on the length of your frustration list, you might need to prioritize the problems using the 80/20 rule, also called Pareto’s Principle. The 80/20 rule states that 20% of the hassles on your list will cause you 80% of your frustration. This helps to focus your limited time and attention on resolving the issues that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Step Two: Develop Your Vision
Create a picture of where you would like to take your team in the future. A motivational speaker might say, “If you can conceive of it, if you can believe in it, you can achieve it!” Take a few minutes to record what you would like to see happening around you. It doesn’t need to be fancy or eloquent, just keep it practical.
Step Three: Implement Your Vision
Take deliberate steps to implement your vision. Solicit ideas from your team, request resources from other departments and acknowledge all progress towards your goal. There will be inevitable setbacks and you’ll need to stay focused and persevere to achieve the desired outcomes. Even if you ultimately fall short of your vision, you will have no doubt made significant improvements.
Your team will respect you as a leader when you lay out a compelling vision and move forward in a way that reduces hassles and frustrations so your team can meet its goals with less stress and aggravation.
In what ways are you creating a better team in your workplace right now? Share them with me in the comments below.
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