For every leader, there is a time away – usually a holiday, or perhaps a long sales trip. This is also a leadership opportunity to make a good return to work, an influential return to work.
When you are away, the team hasn’t felt your influence for a while, and you have had the chance to get away from the daily whirl of activity – meetings, emails, texts, reports. This gives you the chance to work on your business rather than in your business.
Being away, your team grow used to not hearing or seeing you. Your team start to focus on other drivers. Now that you have returned, they can be more easily influenced. They want to hear from you and this makes your first day back particularly powerful.
How do you best harness this power? Surely not by working through the accumulated letters, emails, reports and papers – this just hides you away and squanders a valuable leadership opportunity.
Instead, as you return to work, focus on the really critical values and tasks that your whole organisation needs to align with. Demonstrated values reflect how we behave, how we treat each other, our clients our stakeholders. This is the opportunity to reinforce the organisation’s values, at the individual, team and organisational level.
Reflect on recent performance, opportunities and threats. Consider our strengths and weaknesses. What are the top three tasks we need to undertake, not just to deal with today’s challenges but to be ready for tomorrow’s opportunities. Think about success and what it looks like. Paint a picture so that each and every team member knows what they have to do to achieve success.
Once you have these thoughts clearly in your mind, write them down. Make the words short, simple and clear. Practice saying them out loud, turning them into your mantra. Remember that for every seven times you say something, there is a chance your team members will hear you once.
Build a simple communications strategy around your chosen messages:
What will you say to your leadership team? What do you want them to say? What will you say to the organisation in your next leader’s message? How is this communicated with clients?
As you now run through the backlog of work, consider each item in light of your message to the organisation. Think about what is important and what is not. Be comfortable that you are running the job and the job is not running you.