Successful Leadership Habits that Take Less Than 8 Seconds
During my business startup, I worked with a very knowledgeable marketing consultant who was communicating the importance of our website’s initial landing page. She was talking specifics, and one detail grabbed my attention. She said, “Did you know that you have about eight seconds to hook a potential client when they click on your website?” That made me think. Eight seconds seems like the blink of an eye. How can you possibly grab the attention of a client in eight seconds?Eight seconds. Stop and count them right now. One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand…eight-one-thousand. Not such a blink of an eye. This got me thinking. What else can be accomplished in eight seconds?
What if all managers, leaders, and executives placed more value on eight seconds?
No matter how long you’ve been a manufacturing leader, you can count on getting feedback. Whether you are a seasoned executive, new to the executive ranks or working to prove yourself and achieve your leadership objectives, your performance is being watched by those you interact with every day.
Sometimes this focus on your leadership doesn’t seem fair. There is a ton of pressure to be a “perfect” leader. Inc. magazine notes nine traits that great leaders demonstrate:
Even if you understand that perfection is out of reach, how do you use your time to solidify your leadership skills?
Think about smaller opportunities to grow as a leader. Think about what can happen in eight seconds with your boss, colleagues, and employees. How can you develop your identity as a leader in a little eight second interaction with those around you?
In a “normal” nine-hour workday, did you know that there are 4,050 (eight) second sections to your day? Pick a few of those snippets of time and make an impact. Let’s discuss how eight seconds can change the perception others have of you as a leader.
How can you effectively use eight seconds to be a better leader?
1. Acknowledge the people around you during the work day
It takes eight seconds or less to say "good morning," "how are you today" or even a simple "hello." Don't walk through the day with your head down and do take the initiative to engage and value your co-workers. Then take the time to really hear your employee if your greeting inspires them to talk to you about what they feel is essential.
Don’t underestimate the benefits that this small interaction provides. Your boss, your peers and your direct reports want to see that you are confident, assured and in control of your responsibilities. They want to know that you (as a representative of the company) are okay today. Empathy towards those in your organization also builds relationships and trust.
2. Send a short email to someone who deserves recognition
It takes eight seconds or less to type an email that says: "Thank you for your efforts today." Yes, it's a short email and others might say that they get 100s of emails each day that clutters their inbox. But, it's also inspiring and motivating to have someone put down in writing that they acknowledged your excellent work today. To recognize someone’s effort demonstrates that you are aware of daily activities and you want them to know that you appreciate them.
Think about how you feel when you receive real positive feedback. Most of the time the comments make you feel good, if only for a moment. Most of the time you’ll want to feel that way again so your effort increases. There is rarely a downside to the recognition of a job well done.
3. Ask challenging questions to help a team progress on important issues
It takes eight seconds or less to ask a question that causes a team to stop and consider options or solutions. You can ask "what are our next steps," "how do we feel about our progress" or "what is your opinion”?
Sure, you can sit in that soul-sucking meeting that we all have experienced in our careers in silent protest and watch the team struggle to come to a consensus on a critical topic. Or, you can add to the pain by spending 15 minutes explaining your position causing all other input to come to an end. Finally, you can even put an end to the meeting by independently coming up with the solution – ignoring the efforts of the team.
By facilitating problem-solving and working in collaboration with others, you are demonstrating that you believe in the growth of your team members. Yes, a leader should be decisive and focused but there are benefits to a collective decision that empowers all team members to move forward. And, contrary to popular belief, collaboration does not have to take more time.
Every leader has an example of eight seconds of effort that resulted in a big payoff. The key is to recognize the opportunity and to embrace the moment for what it is - a chance to become an even better leader.
Don’t forget the value of eight seconds. You’ll never regret it.
P.S. If you are looking for a partner to work with you to become a better leader, please reach out to us. At KM Shinn Consulting, LLC, we are focused on helping others by sharing what we have learned in 30 years of manufacturing and operational leadership. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at www.kmshinnconsulting.com. Schedule a consultation, and we can discuss your leadership journey and how we can help.