4 Actions for Simple, Quality Leadership

We welcomed our third child almost three weeks ago.  With five-plus years between this one and our now middle child, we got rid of almost every piece of baby gear we owned. We kept the car seat and base, but come to find out, car seats expire. Who knew? 

It’s amazing how many seats, swings, monitors, plastic crap, etc. you can get for a baby. Most move, make noise, light up and can be quite expensive. We had a lot of this stuff for our first child. 

So, as we went to decide what “gear” we had to have, we took a minimalist approach this time around.  We got: 1) car seat 2) stroller 3) sling and 4) borrowed a small seat and a boppy pillow from a friend.  None light up or move and our infant seems to be quite content. 

Turns out, too, that the minimalist approach might be best too with leadership practices that lead to satisfied employees. Research out from Microsoft shows that four things lead to satisfied aka content employees: 


1. Don’t make people work evenings and weekends (and you working evenings and weekends makes them think they should): 


“One of their findings was that people who worked extremely long workweeks were not necessarily more effective than those who put in a more normal 40 to 50 hours. In particular, when managers put in lots of evening and weekend hours, their employees started matching the behavior and became less engaged in their jobs, according to surveys.”


2. Have one-on-one meetings with your direct reports: 


“Another finding was that one of the strongest predictors of success for middle managers was that they held frequent one-on-one meetings with the people who reported directly to them.”


3. Build your network and relationships across departments: 


“People who made lots of contacts across departments tended to have longer, better careers within the company. There was even an element of contagion, in that managers with broad networks passed their habits on to their employees.”


4. Stop keeping people in meetings all the time: 


“The issue was that their managers were clogging their schedules with overcrowded meetings, reducing available hours for tasks that rewarded more focused concentration — thinking deeply about trying to solve a problem.”


Your leadership practices don’t have to be fancy.  Simply respect people’s time out of work, meet with them regularly, build relationships, and stop having so many meetings.  

Which one of these things can you implement today to be a better leader?   


Mary Ila Ward

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