“Go on, eat your peas, they’re good for you!” we’d hear from Mom.
Eventually, so we could finally leave the table, we’d take a deep breath, and eat them. Yuck! But at least we were doing something “good for us”, right?
And so it goes in the business world.
There are a lot of “peas” out there that we have to just “eat”, because if we don’t, our leadership will suffer. It’s our Castor Oil – it doesn’t go down easy, but the dividends will make it all worth it.
Here are my 10 most important Castor Oils:
1 ) Learn how to do a spreadsheet – I’m sure dipping into an online Excel tutorial 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, if you are ultimately responsible for what’s on that page.
2 ) Fill out those performance reviews with more than 3 word sentences – Nothing met with more moans & groans in my workplaces than the annual call to fill out performance reviews. You just HAVE to put something into this, and make those reviews worthwhile, helpful, useful, and beneficial to the recipient.
3 ) Tell your boss the bad news immediately – Oh yes, there were times I would rather be getting a root canal than walking into my bosses 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 (And they’re heavy too). 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 both your paper and digital 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.
7 ) When you need to coach someone, or fire someone, do it – 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. Drink the oil!
8 ) Pay attention and engage at EVERY meeting – Admit it, it’s SO easy to coast through these things. 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.