Tip #11: Do the Hard Jobs First

March 4, 2009 -- Sal Silvester

Dale Carnegie once said, “Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”

When it comes to leadership, one of the hardest jobs for managers to do is interact effectively on a day-to-day basis. I’m not talking about saying a quick “hello” and “good morning” as you pass each other on the way to the coffee pot. That’s all well and good, but what I’m talking about is the kind of interaction that maintains and enhances self-esteem.

Problems on the job are the hard stuff. They can be solved more effectively and less stressfully when a manager deals with what people do rather than with their attitudes or personal characteristics.

Are your leaders tackling the hard stuff first?

1. Are they delegating, evaluating performance, correcting work habits, dealing with complaints, and resolving conflicts while supporting team member self-respect and self- esteem?
2. Are they basing discussions about performance and work habits on behavior rather than on personalities and attitudes?
3. Are they involving team members in goal setting, problem solving, and decision making?

A cross-national study by the Center for Creative Leadership indicates that today’s leadership involves more collaborative and innovative approaches. Leadership is likely to be a major driver in helping organizations to retain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Our experience has shown that first-line managers, and the leadership skills they possess, can determine not only whether an individual stays with an organization but also how much that individual contributes to the organization’s success.

“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”

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