Over the years I’ve found success in my career by doing these two things:
First I surround myself with people who are willing to share their viewpoints and ideas even if they may be contrary to those I have shared. Diversity in ideas and skills is a key to team building success. It is true with your clients and true with your team - feedback is a gift!
Second, I am always aware of how my goals align with the overall corporate goals and my leader's goals. In addition to understanding and ensuring alignment I am purposeful in making a contribution to these goals and look for ways to “lead up”.
Why is it important?
No organization will ever be as good as it could be without honest upward communication. Those we lead often have great ideas of how to make things better. They have ideas that we haven’t considered.
You have valuable ideas! Not only do you want to create the opportunity to listen and learn from your team but you also should be making valuable contributions to your leader and organization - influencing and leading up. Your leadership wants to hear your ideas and proposals.
So how do you lead up?
Here are 5 ways you take action to influence and lead up:
Timing: If you have an idea or suggestion make sure you take it to your leader at a time that makes sense - not right before your leader is going into a big presentation or in the middle of a meeting with other people.
Motives: Know why you want to move this idea or plan forward. Is it to make your world bigger or get noticed…then your motives aren’t in the right place. Bring ideas forward that further the organization's goals and solve problems.
Solutions: Don’t just point out problems - bring solutions. If you go to your leader and say I see a challenge and here are two possible solutions - that shows you are motivated and care.
Initiative: If you see something that needs to be done - offer to help. The best team members don’t need to be told what to do; they intuitively find important things to do. Understand your leaders goals and ensure you and your team are in alignment.
Truth - Don’t be a yes person. The higher your leader in the organization the fewer people willing to tell them the truth. Take the initiative to share the truth at the right time, with the right motives and offer solutions.
Wherever you are in your organization you can make a difference, you can influence and you can lead up.