SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How “in touch” with the front lines are your leaders?

  • Very — they understand the front line very well: 13%
  • Kind of — they generally know what’s going on with the front line: 36%
  • Not very — they are mostly in the dark about the front line: 35%
  • Not at all — they have no idea what’s going on with the front line: 16%

Get Out of Your Office. How can you run a business if you don’t know how it’s running? Sitting in your office all the time and managing your organization without ever seeing how things are working on the front line is akin to driving your car by remote control from your laptop. Get out there. You might learn something. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Which aspect of your team’s work presents the most difficulty?

  • Quantity — they don’t turn out enough results: 18%
  • Quality — their work product isn’t up to standard: 22%
  • Timeliness — their work isn’t completed on time: 35%
  • Intangibles — they don’t interact well with others: 25%

When and How Matter. Timeliness and intangibles appear to be the biggest challenges leaders face with the results their teams generate. If things aren’t on time, you have to ask yourself if you’ve overloaded the team or not given them the resources they need. If the issues are with how team members treat others as they get their work done, come coaching and feedback is in order. Either way, having a clear assessment of their results helps you focus your leadership efforts not just on generating end products but also on how capable your team is of doing so. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How well do you stick to priorities after you set them?

  • Very well — I rarely deviate from my priorities: 15%
  • Well — I mostly stick to them but deviate occasionally: 73%
  • Not well — I have difficulty sticking to my priorities: 11%
  • Not at all — I neither set nor stick to priorities: 1%

Flexibility Matters. Things change every day. While it’s important to set priorities, don’t be afraid to deviate from them as required. Clearly it’s a balance. The most important thing to do when you do deviate from them is let your team know why the priorities changed. Help them understand why things move up or down. If you don’t explain it to them, they’ll feel whipsawed and won’t be able to see the bigger picture of how priorities are set and managed based upon challenges or opportunities the organization faces. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

What are the most important “services” you provide your team?

  • Directing — setting direction, priorities and coordinating efforts: 29%
  • Doing — making decisions, clearing obstacles and getting things done: 26%
  • Delivering — ensuring quality and managing change: 5%
  • Developing — training, coaching and growing your team: 39%

Point and Build. 70% of you spend your time either pointing your team in a direction or building that team. Clearly worthwhile pursuits because the stronger you make your team, the more effective they’ll be in meeting their goals. Don’t overlook delivery though. You’re the last stop in terms of quality. As for managing change, you play a critical role in moving the organization through the inertia that slows all change. If you can maintain a balance of services you provide to your team, they’ll perform well and always get what they need from you. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How well do reorganizations go in your organization?

  • They’re great — smooth with no issues: 5%
  • They’re OK — we get through them with one or two issues: 42%
  • They’re bad — we really struggle with them: 33%
  • They’re horrible — our reorgs are typically a disaster: 21%

Change is Painful. 55% of you say your reorgs go much worse than planned. People dislike change. That’s a given. One of the biggest reasons reorgs fail is because we don’t think about the human component of them. We move a box on an org chart, change some responsibilities, and keep on truckin’. Unfortunately if you don’t account for the personalities, aspirations, and skills of your people, you could be precipitating a mass exodus from the organization. (read more…)