If you feel lost and over your head, or just want a few practical tips to help you gain confidence and skills as a leader, these articles and books are a great place to start.
As I was wrapping up work for the day in my home office, my 6-year-old daughter burst in and grabbed my arm, dragging me to the garage. She knew what time it was. Time for daddy to be done with work so she could go ride her bike. I grabbed a book and a lawn chair while she grabbed her helmet.
“What are you reading, daddy?”
“I’m reading a book to teach me how to be a better boss,” I told her as we were walking down our driveway. She smiled and took off on her bike. I thought that was the end of the conversation, so I sat down to read while she raced through the cul-de-sac.
“Daddy, what does it mean to be a boss?”
“Create a thriving staff culture.” This was one of the objectives my supervisor gave me when I stepped into a new leadership role. My eyes got wide with excitement when I first heard this. From the beginning, I had been talking his ear off about ideas I had to make our workplace better. Now, I was finally getting a chance to do it!
I work for a non-profit and the people who work there are generally happy and fulfilled. It wasn’t a toxic environment that needed cleaning. It was a healthy culture that I wanted to make even better.
My excitement lasted all of a day before the concern started growing like a knot in my stomach. I’m a detail and numbers guy; I like things I can measure. The more I started thinking about our staff culture, the more I started wondering, “How do I measure this? How do I know if it’s thriving?”
How many people do you lead? It can feel like a status question, right? We’re tempted to think leading more people is better. This isn’t necessarily true.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: you shouldn’t have more direct reports than you have time to meet with every week. Before I tell you why a regular check-in is so important (and by calling it a check-in, I’ve already given away some of its purpose), we need to understand something else about being a great leader.