What if the foundation of being a successful front-line leader could be broken down into just 5 questions? Try these on for size:
1. Are my people working safely? (making safe choices) How do I know? What have I put into place that guarantees that they are working safely?
2. Are my people working productively? How would they know? What knowledge and tools have I given them to let them manage their productivity? How do I know that they are using them?
3. Are my people fully engaged in their work? (physically and psychologically) What am I doing to check that they are in the best ‘state’ as they go into the workplace?
4. Am I setting the best example for my people?
5. Am I working at the right level? Am I anticipating the critical issues within my role? Am I anticipating my boss’ and my boss’ boss’ needs? Am I anticipating my people’s needs and putting in place actions to meet them?
There can be no doubt that a leader who has robust, positive answers to each of the 5 questions (and associated sub-levels of question) will be doing a very good job in any industry. The trick though, is to be rigorous in working out the answers - applying the brain power and discipline to do better than vague, hopeful answers. It's worth putting some time into!
Next time you're coaching one of your Supervisors or Managers, try the 5 questions on them. Try them on yourself! Be gentle of course :)