This month my CEO peer advisory boards had the pleasure of having Jack Altschuler (fullyaliveleadership.com) speak to us on being a fully alive leader.  His focus was on how to get your direct reports to deliver their “A” game.  Expertly using a visual presentation with movie clips to emphasize his points, Jack gave us some practices to implement that not only work in our business life but in our personal life as well.  His ten practices to remember are:

1) Manage Things.  Lead People

There is a difference between a manager and a leader.  Be a leader.  Leave the managing to others.  Leadership is the earned commitment of followers (from contentedcows.com blog).

2) Make Room For New Leaders

Give your direct reports responsibility.  Let them make mistakes (although not so costly they jeopardize your business).  Let go.  It’s the only way they will develop their own leadership skills.

3) Listen

Have monthly 1-1’s with your direct reports.  Make it their meeting with their agenda.  Then listen.  Ask curious questions of them.  What is the most important thing they should be talking with you about?  “Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.” (David Oxberg)

4) Deal With Conflict

If there is an issue in your company deal with it.  It will not go away by ignoring it.  And if you think all of your employees don’t know what is going on you are naïve.  They are wondering why you don’t intervene.  Also remember, conflict in an organization is healthy but before it can be safe mutual trust must exist.  Trust is the foundation of any high performing team.

5) Be Here Now

Be fully present in the moment.  Nothing can happen anywhere else but now.  It is where your most effective leadership lives and breathes.

6) Set The Bar High

Expect the best from your people.  Set goals high but make them achievable.  If they seem impossible people won’t try.  If they are too easy then you aren’t stretching them to be their absolute best.  And be there with them.  Don’t give them a goal and then check in when it is supposed to be done.  A good use of your one-to-one time is to discuss how they are doing on their goals and whether they need assistance.

7) Deal With Reality

Sometimes our self-limiting beliefs get in the way of us being successful.  These are our “I can’t” stories that we tell ourselves.  If you feel one of your direct reports is being unsuccessful because of a self-limiting belief have a conversation with the person.  Find out what is blocking them.  What are other choices they have?  There are always other choices but our self-limiting beliefs keep us from seeing what they are.  By asking questions you, as their leader, can help them discover what they are so they can move forward.

8) Ask Great Questions

Rather than be the answer man, which is easier because it allows you to move on to the next thing on your to-do list, ask questions.  By asking questions of your key people you get them to think and come up with answers of their own.  In the game of “Who’s Got The Monkey?” you don’t want their monkey (their issue) jumping from their back to yours.  You have enough to do even though you know you can do it faster and better than they.

9) Be Their Confident Captain

Often times when things are not going well your people look to you for direction and support.  This is the time for you to be their confident captain, assuring them everything will be okay.  Be transparent.  Have open dialogue.  Let people voice their concerns and then develop a strategy with them to get things back on track.

10) Commit

Committing oneself to something is an absolute.  You either do or you don’t.  Are you committed to helping your direct reports be as successful as they can be?  Are you involving them in setting the direction of the company?  Do you mentor them?  Are you holding them accountable?  Are you celebrating their achievements?  And are they as committed to your company as you want them to be?  If not, perhaps they are not the right person for your company.

Consider Reading This

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink.  In this book Pink challenges the way we think we motivate people, with rewards and money.  He says that the secret to high performance and satisfaction at work, school or home is the need to direct our own lives and create new things.