The End of Revolving-Door Leadership
2. Manage up to avoid “we/they” divisiveness.
What is managing up? Basically, it’s positioning people, products and organizations in a positive light. Most leaders inadvertently practice what we call the “we/they” phenomenon — as in “Well, Rick, I fought for your pay raise but you know Human Resources makes those decisions” — which has a divisive effect on company culture. This is rarely a deliberate choice but rather the natural fallback position of someone who hasn’t had formal leadership training. (After all, you don’t want Rick to be mad at you, right?) To counteract “we/they,” learn the fine art of managing up.
Instead of blaming HR in the above example, a leader might say, “When I talked to Denise over in HR, she pointed out that health insurance premiums have risen 23 percent over the past year, so pay increases must be postponed. The company is working really hard to maintain the best possible coverage for all of us.”
See the difference? Managing up keeps energy and enthusiasm up and boosts performance.
3. Round for outcomes.
What is rounding? It’s a critical leader behavior borrowed from the world of health care. (Think of a doctor making her daily rounds to check on patients.) Rounding helps you communicate openly with your employees, allowing you to regularly find out what is going well and what isn’t going well for them at the company. But remember, it’s not just empty “face time” — it’s rounding for outcomes, which means the process has a serious purpose.
In the business world, a CEO, VP, or department manager makes the rounds daily to check on the status of his or her employees. Basically, you take an hour a day to touch base with employees, make a personal connection, recognize success, find out what’s going well, and determine what improvements can be made. Rounding is the heart and soul of building an emotional bank account with your employees, because it shows them day in and day out that you care.