Focus To What Is Shown and What Is Said

At the beginning of a project, some of our members started to complain about the limited information resource  and past documentations. On the surface, this was a valid problem. You needed those documents, then pass it to your members for them to complete the project in a perfect and timely manner.

Naturally, we sought to remedy the problem by giving access for information to those members and providing them guidance so that it would be easy for members to finish the project successfully. And naturally, this did not really solve the problem.

You see, the members were complaining about the lack of information which showed up as not getting the past documents. Once it was provided, the complaints moved to another manifestation of that loss.

O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done. (Al-Hujuurat 46: 6)

Only 7% of verbal communication comes from our words. The rest of it comes from voice inflection and body language. When listening to your staff and stakeholders, it is important to listen behind the words so that you can understand what they truly intend to communicate. You don’t need to guess what they are trying to say. You can ask questions, as you notice their body language and vocal tone, to clarify what they are saying. At the end of the conversation, it’s helpful to provide a summary statement and wait for the reaction. If someone says, yes, you got it right, but they look resigned, continue to ask until there is a sense of simpatico.

Teach, Don’t Talk

Each one of your is shepherd. And each one of you will be asked about your flock. A ruler also is a shepherd and he will be asked about his flock. And every is a shepherd to his family. And a woman is the custodian of her husband’s house and his children. Thus each one of you is shepherd, and each one will be asked about his flock. (Hadith: Bukhari and Muslim)

You know the saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” It’s the same with leadership.

When you tell your team what to do without giving them reason or context, they can follow the instructions and complete the task. However, when they need to do the same thing again, you will need to tell them again. On the other hand, if your provide for them the context for the directions, the next time the situation arises they can execute without your presence.

Another reason to teach your team and provide context, is that they may come up with solutions that you could not have conceived on your own. It may take a little more work on your part and a more time initially, but it will pay high dividends for you and expedite execution in the future. Best of all, you’ve empowered your team to execute without your direct influence.

Praise Publicly, Punish Privately

It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing. (Hadith: At-Tirmidhi)

When you chastise your committee publicly, you are alienating yourself from them and making your job as a leader infinitely difficult. It’s bad enough if you chastise the group as a whole. If you single one person out, you are embarrassing that person and you cause irreparable harm to that relationship and your team.

Take team meetings, and other public events as opportunities to praise you team for their performance and highlight individuals who excelled. Take personal evaluations or one and one meetings to discuss weaknesses or short comings.