We all remember those times when our parents made us eat something on our plates that just didn’t appeal to us.
Like broccoli, for example. “Eat that broccoli, it’s good for you!” we’d hear from Mom. That green stuff was so unappealing compared to a nice slice of pizza, or a double cheeseburger.
Eventually, so we could finally leave the table, we’d take a deep breath, and eat it. Yuck! But at least we were doing something “good for us”, right? Indeed we were. Mom knew we needed those nutrients
And so it goes when it comes to leadership.
There is a lot of “broccoli” out there that we have to just eat, because if we don’t, our leadership will suffer. It’s business Castor Oil – it doesn’t go down easy, but the dividends will make it all worth it.
Here are my 10 most important things leaders hate to do (but really should do them anyway):
1 ) Learn how to do a spreadsheet – I’m sure diving into an online Excel tutorial and learning the fine points of pivot tables is not most people’s cup of tea, but believe me, there’s a lot more to reviewing these things than admiring the pretty formatting. You just have to be able to dig into the logic and the set-up, and know how do sort everything, because you are ultimately responsible for what’s on that page.
2 ) Fill out those performance reviews with more than 3 word sentences – Nothing meets with more moans & groans in any workplace than the annual call to complete performance reviews. You just HAVE to put something into this, and make those reviews worthwhile, helpful, useful, and beneficial to the recipient. Those teammates are your most valuable resource, and your considered feedback is critical.
3 ) Tell your boss the bad news immediately – Indeed, there were times I would rather be getting a root canal than walk into my boss’ office to let him know about something bad going on, particularly if was my own error. In the end, it was ALWAYS better if I bucked up and just went on in there, right away.
4 ) Study your policy and procedures manual – I know, this is like reading the phone book – boring, boring, boring. But this can SO come back to haunt you if you don’t have more than a passing knowledge of just about every policy and procedure that pertains to your overall responsibilities.
5 ) Read your employee handbook – You oversee a lot of employees – there are a lot rules, policies , and official company positions that everyone should follow – do you know what they are? For example, do you know your company’s Social Media usage policy? Don’t let HR make those calls for you.
6 ) Keep your in-boxes cleaned up – This was, and continues to be, the hardest one for me to do. I just let too many things accumulate, and it always comes back to get me – mostly in the form of losing track of something, or not answering something, that was important. “Inbox zero” indeed! (one day I’ll get there, I promise…)
7 ) When you need to coach someone, or fire someone, do it right away – These things ARE distasteful. It’s never easy to let someone go. But knowing you need to do it, and putting it off, is one of the worse things a leader can do. Just get it done!
8 ) Pay attention and engage at EVERY meeting – Admit it, it’s SO easy to coast through these things, even when you are chairing the meeting. Nobody likes meetings. But you’re a leader, remember, and leaders have to set an example, and “show the way”. Even if its “engaging” by suggesting that the meeting isn’t even necessary (yep, sometimes that works).
9 ) Hold your tongue when you get angry – It’s going to happen. It’s not a walk through the rose garden every day. You will get angry, at something or at someone. And what you DON’T do at those moments is critical. Even screaming “Serenity Now!” would be better than lashing out.
10 ) Realize that a business is NOT a Democracy – Your boss, and your company, are going to make decisions you disagree with. There may even be a time that you REALLY disagree, and want to make a big deal out of it. Don’t. These are not democracies, and when the buck stops with you, you’ll really understand this concept.