I often get asked by my clients “What does a day in the life of being a leader look like?”
Like any job, your days look different depending on what your current workload is, the time of the year, and a multitude of other factors. For me, no two days ever look the same from a task perspective.
However, when I sat with this question, there were three things came up for me that I do every single day as a leader:
- Relationship Building
First and foremost, it’s building relationships with my team. I am checking in to see what’s going well for them, what blockers they have, if there’s something personal happening that they need to handle outside of work. My job is to support them so they have the ability to perform at their best. This requires constant trust building, taking a temperature of where they are, and anticipating what lies ahead.
If you stay consistent with this, it doesn’t take much time each day to do. It can be as simple as a quick Slack message saying “I hope you have a productive day. Let me know how I can support you today!” But, if you reserve your relationship building for that monthly hour long check-in call with them, you are going to miss a lot and likely be handed unexpected issues that could have been resolved in the moment.
For me, this also applies to building relationships with my clients and business partners. I don’t check-in with them daily, but I do check in frequently and make sure that it’s not always during our scheduled meeting time. A simple email to congratulate them when I see they announced something exciting in the news goes a long way to build and maintain a strong working relationship.
- Conflict Resolution
I see so many people fearful of moving into leadership because they know they will have to deal with conflict. The truth is, you’re going to deal with conflict most days, whether you are a leader or not.
Conflict doesn’t always mean a huge blow out fight between two employees that results in HR getting involved. Most days, it’s as simple as me and someone on my team seeing things differently on how we would approach a project or task and talking through pros and cons to each solution, and then coming to an understanding and agreement on how to proceed.
I am fortunate that I very rarely have to deal with conflict resolution that requires serious conversations requiring HR level involvement. Conflict doesn’t have to be scary and complicated. Moving through disagreements and building consensus is something that every leader constantly has to do. It requires you to be comfortable speaking up and talking through differing opinions, as well as being confident in yourself. Practicing speaking up daily on small things will help you build that confidence to handle the bigger, stickier situations when they arise.
- Project Management
As a leader, it’s my job to make sure my team has and achieves goals that contribute to our company’s overall success. Project management (PM) is different from micromanagement, if you do it the right way. To do it right, you need to plan, stay organized and constantly know where you stand through established forms of communication.
Setting expectations, milestones and the outcomes you need to achieve are the foundational principles to project management. You can leverage this to empower your teams so they feel accomplished every week and know they are going to meet your expectations come time for their next performance review.
Of course, my days as a leader are also filled with tons of meetings, building powerpoints, calls with clients, and several other tasks. Those things, though, are almost always wrapped up in these three constants. Knowing what to expect when becoming a leader can help you to plan your days and be more productive and effective.
What are three things you do every day now that you think will carry over when you move into leadership? Drop them below in the comment section.
Until next time,