Fundamentals of Management

Or “The best managers just make coffee”

It is said that most meaningful things in life are easy to say and hard to do. So how would I apply that to leadership? Well, here is my view on leadership, reduced to its very bones.

In a single sentence, a leader presents a compelling vision and then acts as a proactive servant to the team as they work to make that vision a reality.

Breaking it down one step further, as a leader you should always confidently and clearly be able to answer the question “What is expected of me right now?”. 

Susan Wheelan’s integrated model of group development describes four phases of maturity for your team. Depending on where your team is on that scale, the type of answer you should provide to the above question changes. Your team should be at stage 3 or 4 as the first two stages are waste.

As a leader, you should think carefully what you spend your time on to make sure you create real value and eliminate waste for your team and not the other way around.

Do a daily check-in with your team, either with the whole group or individually. In this checkin, you should ask and not tell. The exception is to congratulate them on their progress. Make sure that these meetings promote the psychological safety of your team members so they openly share their honest ideas and opinions.

Be available to provide meaningful answers to any question your team may have and provide useful help with anything they ask you to help them with.

Work on the strategic plan and present the latest version when your team sets new concrete goals.

If your team has outside stakeholders (Including any higher level management), make sure that these stakeholders only interact with your team in ways that the team finds useful.

Anything else you spend your time on is almost certainly waste. You should understand the reasons for why you are doing it and remove those reasons.