10 Tips for Leading Your Team
Clear and effective leadership helps set a company's culture and motivates employees to work together toward a common goal.
1. Have a vision and dream big. Put in the work with your team to find a niche that allows you to revolutionize logistics. Be creative and set your sights on something far-fetched. A great vision should feel beyond your reach. If you could do X in 15 or 20 years, what would it be?
2. Calibrate your culture. Core values are the compass that guides your team's behaviors. I'm not talking about the things everyone should embrace, such as safety, integrity, and success. These values need to represent something deeper and should be easily recognizable in the best of the best employees. Make them your own, and use them to calibrate everything you do, aligning everyone on your team to a common heading.
3. Brand a clear mission. Who, what, and why are you delivering today? Make the mission as concise and clear as possible. A mission statement ensures you stay grounded in what brings profit and success today, so you can think about tomorrow. Make it visible. Everyone on your team has a purpose tied to this brand; make sure they feel it.
4. Know your role. Every link in the chain—every person, every function—is critical. Make sure your team understands the communication and products they own, so every link in the chain is just as strong as the previous and next. Document the playbook for the positions on your team, and make sure people work together and understand each other's distinct purpose to avoid turf battles and power struggles.
5. Assess your anchor points. Each operation has critical anchor points that hold your chain in place. Don't take these strong backs for granted. Identify and invest in your anchor points, maintain them, and constantly evaluate how they are doing. Reward the success they enable and create more anchors along the value stream.
6. Engineer flexibility. Prepare for change; it is constant. Engineer and design pivot points along your value stream. Forecast mitigation actions and prepare succession strategies. Built-in flexibility will allow you to weather the storm when the environment suddenly changes, and it will.
7. Delegate and empower. Know how to manage risk, at all levels. Predefine levels of authority for cost, schedule, and technical levers, then push that control to the lowest level by empowering those closest to the work. Collect and track data to assess the health of your teams' decisions and adjust based on risk tolerance. Data should drive decisions at every level, and everyone needs to be empowered to make decisions with good data.
8. Over communicate; control the message. We live in a world overflowing with information, and it is your job to calm the noise. Your communication must reverberate across 360 degrees—forward visioning, backward reflecting, and sideways sharing. Know your customers, stakeholders, suppliers, and team members. Constantly drive transparency of your messaging.
9. Be vulnerable as a person. Bosses are not superheroes, nor are they mythical creatures. Be great by staying humble and approachable. Be thoughtful and thankful, and show appreciation to everyone who enables your team's successes. Make sure everyone sees the person you are—share your story and inspire theirs.
10. Plot out your seasons and celebrate the wins along the way. Track progress toward your vision, honor the milestones along the journey, and build in time to relax and reflect. Find your battle rhythm, and make sure the milestones consider the need for people to recharge. Allow the team to celebrate both at work together and away as individuals. Cultivate this healthy balance and have fun.
SOURCE: Mark Wiese, Manager, NASA Deep Space Logistics Gateway Program, Kennedy Space Center