High-performing teams are rare. Getting together a group of clever, talented, experienced people who know their stuff isn’t enough, though too many believe it is. Today host John Laurito shares how you can set your team up for success and what you can do so that you, as a leader, and your team has mutual trust.
[3:29] A leader’s job
[4:47] You have to remove any obstacle
[7:22] Give authority to other people
[8:05] Simplify it for people
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. Alright.
Alright. Alright. Tomorrow’s leaders. Welcome to the show. All right, let’s get down to it. I’ve got a story to share with you that I want to jump into. I was talking to a leader. This is a successful leader at a large company who was telling me that they got a new boss that came in and this new boss was overseeing a group of this person’s colleagues. So they’re all senior leaders and are all veterans who have been there for a long time, all performing at various levels, but for the most part, very talented, skilled group. This new leader that came in one of the first meetings, I don’t know if it was the first or one of the very first meetings, made a comment and he told me, my friend told me this and he said, what do you think of this comment? And he and the comment was, So I want you to pretend like you are in a role. You’re a senior leader of an organization. And I came in and I was now your new boss. And my comment, which this person said was. We were they were talking about expense reports. When you submit an expense report, I just realize I say no to everything.
So I’m going to send it back to you. I’m going to decline it. I’m going to send it back because I figure that if you really believe in it and you really want it, you’re going to submit it again. And otherwise, I’m just going to say no. And I just thought I was like, I ask my friend, I’m like, what? What was how do you feel about that? Needless to say, what a horrible example of leadership was. So wait a sec. If I’m that person, so if I’m you and I’m listening to that message, I’m thinking to myself, okay, so this person now for those of you who have done expense reports, expense reports, Sock, they’re tedious. They’re no, they’re not. They’re no fun. But you got to do them right unless you have somebody else doing them, whatever. But they want one way or the other, it’s taken time to do it. It’s a lot of effort.
So what you’re telling me is you are taking a process that’s tedious and, you know, somewhat difficult and making it even harder. And you’re also telling me with that comment that you’re right away assuming that I’m lying or I’m not showing integrity and you’re just going to add a step without even inspecting anything. And even if it was just not even reality, it was a flip comment. What an asinine thing to say. Like literally you could not have said many things that would have created more of an adversarial, untrusting relationship and environment among that group. I just was like totally dumbfounded. So as I do a lot of times, I said, Well, I’m going to make a podcast out of it. How about that? So here’s the thing. The bottom line is your job as a leader and a leader’s job is to make his or her people’s lives better and help them achieve success and figure out ways to do that.
How can you create an environment where you are setting your team up for success, not failure, not trying to make their job more difficult? And just back to the trust thing. The way that you give, the way that you earn trust is you give trust. So if right away I meet you and right away I’m doubting what you say, or I’m assuming that you’re lying to me. You know, I trust people until they give me a reason not to trust them.
But if you don’t give trust, you’re not going to get trust. If you don’t give respect, you’re not going to get respect. If you don’t give people room to grow, they’re not going to die. I’m going to stay with you. You’ve got to give you’ve got to constantly be making people’s lives easier and helping remove obstacles, not add obstacles. So just totally dumbfounded by that comment. But in any event, I’ll keep you posted to let you know if that person stays in their job for very long. My guess is they’re going to have a tough time.
They’re going to have an uphill battle here. If that’s the way they lead, they’re not going to be in their role very long. So here are three keys to setting your team up for success or setting anybody up for success. Okay. One is you have to remove obstacles. So how about instead of that initial comment, that person or let’s say again, you were that person, you’re in that group, and I came in as your leader, and instead of saying, hey, you’re going to have to submit your expense reports twice, I’m going to decline it the first time, and then you submit it again, and then I’ll know you really want your money.
Hello. But instead of saying that asinine comment, I said, let me ask you, you know what? What keeps you up at night? You know what? What’s something that is making your job more difficult that’s an obstacle? Or what’s something that I could do to help make your job easier? How can I support you to help you do your role even better and achieve greater success in less time and create more impact and influence in the organization? What can I do to help you do your job better now? I started with that. How would you feel about me if I was your leader?
You’d feel great, right? You’d say, okay, this guy really is looking after my best interests, wants me to succeed. He’s on my side. There’s a supportive environment. I’m a servant leader helping you. I’m exerting my influence and maybe the power that I have to make your life easier. That’s what you want your leader to do. Do not throw an obstacle in front of you. Hey, I’m going to take a simple, dumb task and make it even harder. So you’re doing twice the simple, dumb tasks and taking you away from your mean key objectives. Crazy. So anyways, one is to remove obstacles, but a lot of times you don’t know what those obstacles are unless you ask the question. So ask the question, say what’s getting in your way. And I’m not saying I’m going to be able to remove all of them or any of them even.
But I just want to know let’s start with that question. What’s getting in your way from success? What would be one thing if I had the ability to wave a magic wand? What would be one thing I could do to make your job easier and help accelerate your results, your success, and your growth? What would that be? Ask the question and then listen and take notes and do something about it.
If you can take action if you can’t let them know that because the worst thing you do is ask questions and do. Nothing with the answers. But that’s power, right? That’s really how you’re getting to the heart of the issue. And I know some of the best leaders I’ve had have been really good at asking that question a lot. What’s keeping you up at night? What can I do? How can I help? How can I support you? I love working for those types of people. That’s how you gain influence. Number two is giving authority to other people. Give the decision-making ability to other people who don’t constantly have that have to roll up to you if you do. You’ve heard me say this on many, many episodes. You are slowing your organization down.
The organization will ultimately hit a bottleneck unless you have distributed authority. Go back a couple of episodes and you’ll hear about that. You have to empower other people. When you do that, you’re going to grow a very large organization. Accept the fact. Accept the fact that there will be mistakes. There will be growing pains with that. As you delegate decision-making, they’ll be bad decisions. There’ll be setbacks. But that’s part of growing an organization. And three is to simplify it for people. Give them fewer, but better or bigger or more impactful goals. It’s really hard for somebody to focus on ten different things. It’s a lot easier to focus on three. So ask yourself if it’s funny. I was doing a virtual mastermind earlier today and I asked the question, I said, Have you ever been in a situation where you feel over time you just feel overwhelmed? You’re trying to do too many things, so many things.
You just feel like you can’t do anything. Well, you’re not doing anything at the level that you want to. You’re doing B and C-level work because you’re focused on a zillion different things. You leave it. You go from one thing to the next. Do you know how many hands went up? Every hand went up. They shot up. So I know it’s a very common problem. And believe me, I’ve been there too. And that’s a whole nother episode on this topic itself. But as a leader, help your people narrow their focus. Fewer things are done better, okay? Fewer things are done better. So what can you do? How can you help them prioritize? Sometimes they’ll ask people, Hey, what are the two most important things for you to do every week or every day?
What’s number one and what’s number two? If they can’t answer that, that’s a problem, right? And that’s really your job as a leader to help them understand and be clear on their role. What’s number one? What’s number two? And you should know that for yourself, they can only do two things. Here’s number one. Here’s number two. Nothing else is as critical as these two things. That’s how much I’m talking about simplifying things, all the other stuff, you know, there’s a philosophy out there that, hey, really talented people work best when they get a lot, lot on their plate. It’s really hard. When you got the more stuff you’re adding, there’s a cost to it, right? So ask yourself, is it really critical, mission-critical or is that a nice to have is a need to have? What are the two most important things that can’t be compromised that have to happen in order for this mission to be achieved or our goals to be met? Those are the key things.
So just a few thoughts, and a quick episode today. Uh, be that leader that builds trust. Okay, go in there. Let people understand what your objective is. Go back to the four questions. Right. So the four questions they’re asking are, does this person care about me? Okay, what’s that person’s comment telling me they don’t care about me? They’re trying to make my life easier. Do they? Can I trust this person? In which case they’re not? Trust me. Why should I trust them? Okay, the third thing is, do I want to go where this person wants to take me? Do I believe in their vision? And then the fourth question is, do I think this person can take me there? Not only do I want to go there, but they’re the ones that can actually take me there.
Those are the four essential questions that every follower asks their leader. So food for thought, get the wheels turning. Let me know how I can help. I’m here. I’m only a phone call, an email, a text message, away. I’m here for you. I appreciate you listening. I appreciate your comments. Do me a favor. Go down below. Give a five-star review or whatever review you want to give. Give a review, please. That really helps. It helps push this out to more audience members Good Apple podcasts go down you’ll see at the bottom the reviews and just put your review there like subscribe share all that kind of good stuff and we’ll see you next time. Thanks.
Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!