What exactly should an executive leader do to avoid processing everything while still knowing the ins and outs of the business? The seven most important measures listed below is essential for executive leaders.
1. Know your business and people
In companies with poor execution, leaders are often out of touch with the realities of day-to-day operations instead of heavily relying on the information presented by direct subordinates. However, the info is filtered based on subordinates` own views and judgements which cannot fully reflect the truth of the business. These leaders are not involved in the action or engaged in the business, causing they are not able to grasp the whole picture of the organization. Finally, leaders will inevitably grow apart from their employees.
Leaders must learn to experience their businesses with all their minds and personally participate in the operation of the enterprise. Thus, half-hearted attitude must be avoided. It is necessary to have an in-depth understanding of the real situation of the company and the psychology of the employees, and to effectively establish the authority as a leader. Frequently asking tough questions will make employees be more aware of the problems the enterprise faces. By going deep into the real world, leaders can build a closer relationship with the employees and establish the dialogues with integrities and authenticities, which will cultivate the employees' sense of duty and loyalty.
2. Being realistic and seeking truth from the facts
Being realistic is essential to effective execution, since most employees and managers tend to avoid problems. Leaders must stick to the facts and make sure they are grounded in any conversation. Being realistic means that leaders must view their companies with an objective attitude, especially when comparing with the competitors. "Where do we stand now? Are other companies making more progress?" This is really an attitude of seeking truth from the facts.
3. Set clear goals and priorities for achieving them
Leaders should focus more on "certain" goals which most employees can easily understand and aim for: focusing on three or four goals is the most effective way of resource utilization. Most people in an organization also need clear goals to properly function in the organization. Leaders must set clear and realistic goals for their organizations, which can have a significant impact on the overall performance of the company. In order to clarify the order of the objectives, they must completely change the perspectives.
Leaders who are good at execution always follow up rigorously to ensure that the people in charge of the project meet the goals previously set to achieve, and identify the problems such as lack of discipline or lack of coordination between ideas and actions, as well as clarify the details to coordinate the pace of the organization's operating units. If the external environment changes, perfect follow-up can also enable the plan implementers to respond quickly and flexibly. GE executives, for example, use a 45-minute video conference 90 days after each annual leadership and organizational review, which is before the strategy and operations review, to get everyone involved in the review of the long-term plan.
5. Reward the performers
If you want your employees to accomplish specific tasks, reward them accordingly. Companies without an executive culture simply don't have the tools to measure, reward and promote people who are truly competent. Leaders need to ensure that rewards and punishments are well defined and communicated throughout the company, otherwise there will be no incentive for people to make greater contributions to the company.
6. Improve the ability and quality of employees
An important part of a leader's job is to pass on knowledge and experience to the next generation of leaders, and it is in this way that the capabilities of individuals and groups in the organization are continually enhanced. Coaching them is an effective way to improve their ability. Leaders should see every meeting with their subordinates as a good opportunity to coach them. An effective way of guidance is to carefully observe a person's behavior and then provide him with specific and useful feedback. Asking the right questions and force people to think and explore more deeply. The issue is not whether they have completed their tasks, but their actions.
7. Know yourself
The idea that leaders need to tap into their own personality traits and learn about themselves and their beliefs seems to be spreading throughout the industry.
One of its advocates is Kevin Koschman, founder and CEO of “Leadersource” and author of “leadership from within”. Leadership, Mr. Koschmann argues, comes from a person's personality, not from the outside knowledge. People who can face up to their strengths and weaknesses have what Koschmann calls "authenticity," "and that's what makes a good leader!" He said. Rick Mayberry agrees that the courage to dissect and improve yourself is an important quality of a leader. Only when leaders recognize their own shortcomings in some areas will they "ask questions". "Only those who don't follow their own routine can run a company well." He said. Former GE CEO Jack Welch is such a leader. "If you look at what he did in the 80s and 90s, he made a thousand mistakes." "But he never made two of those same mistakes. That was his fortune! Whenever he talked about himself, he would say that he was not a genius. But he knows everything from constant contact with people, from talking to subordinates, from chatting with gas station workers."
To get real information, leaders must have a certain emotional intensity, which means they have to face reality whether they like it or not. It is impossible to build an executive culture if one cannot tolerate opinions that are different from his own. Emotional intensity comes from self-discovery and transcendence. A long-term leader generally has his own ethical standards, which are the source of his strength to accomplish the task. Being indulgent to underperformers is common in almost every company, and in most cases, it is the result of a lack of emotional intensity on the part of the leader.
Emotional intensity consists of four core traits, which are:
1. Sincerity. Frank and consistent in word and deed, inside and out.
2. Self-awareness. Only when you know yourself can you objectively evaluate and treat your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Self-transcendence. It means you can overcome your weaknesses and truly take responsibility for your actions.
4. Modesty. A humble attitude enables you to face your own mistakes and shortcomings and to adopt a realistic attitude to solve problems.