America’s Leadership Expert : Leading You

Clay Staires: This is Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert with podcast number 35: Leading Your Peers and Your Friends. Again, this is Clay Staires with Tulsa Business Leadership. The other day I was speaking with a gal in Arizona, talking about her company and how she had recently been promoted. We were talking on the phone and she was saying, “Clay, I’ve been promoted, and now I am actually in a leadership role over the people that I used to work with side-by-side on a daily basis.”

As she reached out to Clay Staires at Tulsa Business Leadership, we begin to spend time on the phone talking about the difficulties that she is having now having to lead her peers and her friends. She was saying, “Clay, this is really hard. How do I do this?” Well, first of all, it’s got to be bigger than just you telling them what to do because if you stick to that, if you just stick to telling your peers and your friends what to do on a daily basis it is going to be a nightmare. They are not going to appreciate it, you are not going to enjoy it, and it is going to get in the way of your friendship. I can promise you that.

At Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership we have spent time with leaders helping them expand to a point, expand their management skills, expand their leadership skills to a point where it’s not just them speaking from the mountain top and telling people what to do, but it’s actually aligning the people that you have working for you with the company goals, with the company core values, with where the company is going, and bringing that synergy, and bringing that alignment. At Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership, I have found that as a manager you will become aware of information that you weren’t aware of as a worker, and this new information will change things. You will know things that the workers don’t know, and if you’re not careful your workers will hold that against you. You will see a bigger picture. You will begin to learn things about your friends and your peers that you didn’t know before because before you were alongside of them. You were not in front of them or above them.

At Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership, we have found that your leadership over them will challenge the strength of your relationship, but the thing that you want to do is use your relationship to create end roads into what they want to accomplish in their life. What kind of life do they want? What is important to them? As you begin to find out what is important to them and what drives them, your next question is to ask yourself “Can this job, can this company help them move towards those goals?” If not, then the very best thing you can probably do for your friend is to help them find another job either within the company or with another company so they can get to the goals that they want to reach in their lives. If your company can help them reach their goals then you’re all set. Begin to point to the path to achieving their goals. “Here’s how this company can help you get where you want to get. You were telling me just the other day that this is where you want to go. Here’s how the company can help you.”

So I spent time as Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership speaking with this gal in Phoenix on the phone, asking her if she knew what were the goals of her friends that are now working for her that beforehand were working with her. She wasn’t for sure. She didn’t know exactly what their goals where, and I said, “Well, that’s the very first thing you want to do is have that conversation. Where do you want to go? What are your financial goals? Your friendship goals? What are your social goals? Your faith goals? All of these different things financially and emotionally that you are wanting to get out of your life?” As they begin to answer that you need to go to your company’s core values and your company’s mission statement to discover if this company, if this job can help them get where they want to get because if you just start telling them what to do it very possibly will not go well for you. Your instructions have to have context that they have to have, and your instructions have to have meaning that directly connects to what they want.

At Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership we know that the statistic from Forbes magazine and also from Gallop is that 70% of today’s workforce is disengaged. I think that disengagement comes specifically from the disconnection between the work that the people are doing on a daily basis and the goals that they have in their life. There’s a disconnect. So what do they want to do? What does your company want? Is there any synergy between what they want and what your company wants? I’ve had previous podcast on how to build a culture. It’s all about how to get people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. It’s about how to build and nurture a culture.

It’s important for you as a leader as I begin to talk with her on the phone with Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert Tulsa Business Leadership, as I begin to talk with her on the phone, I encouraged her to identify the culture and core values of her company. That was her first step. Step number two, we want to invite the peers to align with those core values. Step number three, you want to identify your organizational structure. It’s pretty much just your org chart. It’s amazing how many businesses do not have a defined, clear organizational chart. They just have a bunch of people working and a bunch of people doing different things, but there’s not structure or organization to it. It’s this organizational structure, I’ve talked about in other podcasts with Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership, where I talk about how to design this organizational chart that will actually create career paths for people, professional paths, personal paths, where they can grow financially, where they can grow personally in the company.

Then step number four, we want to reveal these paths of advancement to our friends, to our peers, the ones that we are leading. Holding people accountable, as we finish up, holding people accountable. Man, very few people embrace accountability, so when you do things as a manager to hold people accountable, most of them will not appreciate it. Most want to do the very minimal amount of work to get their very maximum of pay. When you expose them to who their responsibilities and accountability, they will get upset and they will accuse you of being the problem. It’s not that they’re not doing their work. It’s not that they’re not being diligent. It’s not that they’re being lazy. It’s not that their showing up late. It’s not that they are doing anything. It’s your fault simply because you are holding them accountable.

In this situation you will have to choose. You will have to make a choice to stand with the company or to stand with your friends. I want to encourage you to chose wisely there because so often we find leaders that in their efforts to stand with their friends they lose their position of leadership, they lose the respect of those they’re trying to lead, and over a long period of time, eight, nine, ten years, even though they are in the position of a leader they have not taken the company anywhere. They have not been able to achieve goals. They have not been able to be successful the way that they had anticipated because on a daily basis they are choosing their friendship over accountability. It’s very important for us to know as a leader. Now again, this isn’t all about becoming mean by any means. It’s simply holding people accountable.

If you have personal goals in your life I promise you there are actions, there are choices that you are going to have to take to reach those goals. You will have to be accountable to those actions, and if you are not accountable to those actions you will not reach the goals that you have set and you will do what I did so often. I lowered the goals. I lowered the standards so that I could reach them, so that I could feel good about myself. I promise you, you will not reach the level of success that you want if you don’t hold yourself and hold others accountable for their actions. This is Clay Staires America’s Leadership Expert with Tulsa Business Leadership with podcast number 35: Leading Your Peers and Your Friends.

Clay Staires