How Do You Get Results?

Don’t waste time trying to change what you can’t control. You MUST change what you can control for the better.

As a manager, when you want to know what’s happening, do you go straight to your team and ask questions? Or, do you speak to middle men? A highly effective leader goes straight to their team who are doing the work, and asks questions.

They do this so they can find out for themselves. They like to be visible to their team, and show that they care. By doing this, they continue to build trust with their team. because they are not stuck in the office talking to a deputy.

Highly effective leaders take the full responsibility for the team to achieve great results. They are not happy with speculating or assuming that things are happening. They need the facts, and the only place to find out the real facts is by going to the team, engaging, and asking questions.

1. Being Present And Willing For Your People

They may even get stuck in, and get their hands dirty. When I was an engineering production manager, I would love to do that, and mix in a little bit (not too much).

I believed that it showed the team I was willing to be there with them, and that I cared. I wasn’t one for sitting at my desk, and reading through mountains of reports all day. Or, looking through the systems on my laptop.

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A highly effective leader is one who gets results. A low performing leader is one who plans to get results. That is why you will never see a low performing leader walking around. They are never visible to their team, and they don’t show that they care.

They would rather look through reports all day. Why do you think they would rather look at reports, than engage with their team? If the report is wrong, then they have an excuse for not achieving the desired results. It is also really easy to just sit behind the desk and pretend you’re busy reading.

I want to discuss a story that will outline the difference between planning to get results (managing), and actually getting results (leading).

2. Planning Results vs. Getting Results

When I worked with the Liverpool train operating company, the first depot manager I worked with led his teams by report only. He would rather hold meetings with his immediate team of engineering supervisors in a conference room, than going down to the shop floor, and talking to the engineers.

He would demand that they all put a report together of what the issues were, and why the depot and the trains are not performing well. I had to attend some of these meetings, because it was me who had to put most of the reports together.

He asked me to come because if the reports were wrong then he could blame me, and he then had his excuse. For the engineering supervisors and himself, these meetings were a complete waste of their time.

They should have been spending their time walking around the shop floor, and speaking to the engineers who were in the trenches. The engineers had all the answers as to why things weren’t going so well.

The depot manager was not my line manager, but he did have an influence. His teams and our team had to work very close together. At the end of these meetings, there would be a long list of actions for everyone that needed to be completed by the next meeting.

In reality, nobody would do their actions because they were not inspired to, and we didn’t think they were necessary. So, when the next meetings came around, they just talked about the exact same thing as they did the previously. It was quite funny to watch.

3. Showing That You Care

Luckily for everyone, he was replaced by someone who was a highly effective leader. The very first day I met him, I could tell there was something different about him. He had a presence that the previous depot manager didn’t have.

He talked to everyone, he went around the shop floors to talk to the engineers, and find out what was happening. He even came in on nightshifts to talk to the engineers so that he didn’t miss anybody.

He accepted responsibility for the results of the depot, and wanted them to improve. He didn’t want to plan to get results, he wanted to actually get them.

He made sure that everyone had the right equipment, and had the right safety equipment. If anything was old, he would authorise for it to be replaced with new. He even authorised for the offices to be upgraded, and painted because he thought they looked a bit old.

This was all in his first month. He wasn’t one for reading lots of reports, so you would see him often walking around with his engineering supervisors. They were talking to the engineers, and understanding the issues.

He came into our office one morning and asked me to come for a walk with him around the depot. He told me he wanted to get to know me a bit more, and about my background. The previous depot manager just about knew my name.

While we were walking around we stopped to talk to one of the engineers, to see how he was doing. He told us that he was working on a fault with the underframe of the train.

So the depot manager and I got safety glasses and hats, and walked under the train to see what was happening. For the other engineers to see us under the train was great, it showed them that he cared.

This was one of the first times I learned about how important it was to listen when you are the leader. When we reached the engineer under the train, he allowed him to tell us what the issue was first. Then the depot manager would ask open questions of how he was going to resolve the issue.

He didn’t tell him how to do it or what to do, he allowed him to think about it himself. He made it extremely comfortable for the engineer to talk to him.

I remember thinking at the time, he has an amazing skill to get people to think for themselves, and come up with their own solutions. I really liked this new highly effective leader, and still keep in touch with him today.

4. Listening To Your People

He was the depot manager who would listen to me, and ask me questions. The questions he asked, helped me to come up with solutions that were required to improve our trains’ performance. Especially when the wheels on the trains were not lasting their full life of six years.

He asked me to “think outside the box” and work out a solution for making the wheels last longer. I loved that about him, he empowered us to go away and think about the problems we had. I would brainstorm with my teammates (teamwork), and then come back with our solutions.

When I had my solution to how we were going to increase the wheel life on the trains, he invited me into his office to discuss it. He would get out his whiteboard, a marker pen, and write down all the ideas I had. Then one by one would ask me thought provoking questions about them.

This made me think deeper, to see if there was anything I missed. Half the time I did, but that was because I wasn’t thinking deeper enough. It was an excellent technique he used, and was one I used with the teams I led, everywhere I went.

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Then, when we finished he empowered me to implement the solution and fix the problem. He didn’t once “tell me” what to do. When I did implement the solution, the wheel life increased, and it was successful.

The feeling I got from doing that, and how we worked it out together was amazing, I wanted that feeling every day. He was a highly effective leader and got results. His predecessor was an insecure leader and planned to get results.

Highly effective leaders want to fix problems. Low performing leaders want to discuss problems. As a manager, you can either be part of the problem by discussing it, or you can be part of the solution by helping your team fix the problem. It’s your choice.

If you want to get results, you must first get started

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

18 thoughts on “How Do You Get Results?

  1. This is a great article that really hits home with me. The company I work for recently acquired another company and I have been tasked to run it. Your article lets me know the things I am doing correctly ( Being in the trenches with the troops) as well as where I need to improve.
    Thanks for some great information.

    1. Hi Chuck,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that the article resonated with you, and that it confirmed what you’re doing well and need to work on. That is the whole point of all of my articles.

      If you need any help or further advice on what you are working on then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. Hello Tom, thanks for sharing your article. I value your input for discussing what an effective leader is.

    The points I especially like as an effective leader, is being visible to your staff, interacting with them, showing them you care, listening to your team and encouraging them to make and implement decisions, and meeting with them on a one-on-one basis as needed.

    May your site continue to successfully grow as you share your expertise.

    Take care,
    Joanie

    1. Hi Joanie,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      You are right, showing your people that you care, listening to them and being visible is so important.

      I appreciate your kind words.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. I love your articles they are always really helpful for me, I am pretty sure they are help full for others. as well.
    It is really important to listen and be caring towards people that are under your responsibility, I believe only the real supportive and best leaders have these qualities.

    1. Hi Nataliya,

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. I’m so pleased that my articles are helpful for you.

      If you need any further help or advice then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      Keep returning, keep leading and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. Great post. Nowadays, people in the workforce do not understand what it means to work hard and get results. I love the quote “A highly effective leader is one who gets results. A low performing leader is one who plans to get results.”

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Brian,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article helpful.

      I think you’re right, we need to coach our people what it actually means to get results, and how we get results. Highly effective leaders are great at doing that, so it is my job to help others to do the same.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Hi Tom,

    This is a really useful article you’ve written about an effective team leader. I’m very fortunate to have an effective management in the office where I work. I truly believe a good leader enables the team’s morale sky high helping them to be more productive and mentally healthy.

    I also believe that the management in a household is paramount, whether that’s parenting or general home running.

    Many thanks for this useful information.

    Kind Regards

    Habib

    1. Hi Habib,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article useful.

      I’m really pleased that you have an effective management in the office where you work. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Parenting and leadership is very similar, you are right.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. This is a fantastic article. I appreciate being present, listening and getting results rather than just planning to. Thanks for the great info.

    1. Hi Christy,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article helpful.

      Being present and listening is so important to actually getting results.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Leadership is really a crucial factor of achieving results in an organization. A supervisor that is close-minded, no trust in people, and doesn’t walk the talk will not go far and get a good result. More supervisors should be trained to listen to people, to improve management skills, and to be more open-minded at work. Thanks for the article.

    1. Hi Yongli,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found the article valuable.

      You are so right, supervisors should be developed as a leader before they actually become a supervisor. I see more and more that the right people are being put into leadership positions but with the wrong development.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. Everyone can benefit from your post on how do you get results, and no matter, if you are a leader of a team or just accomplishing personal goals everything you have shared, can make it happen for you.

    Jeff

  9. Hi Tom, yet another great, honest article on leadership. Yes, a leader should be the one who will LEAD, not just control and command. You can only lead people who trust you and you need to earn that trust. By being there, for example, whenever it is needed. Yes, as you say, if needed, go under the train, or whatever, but be there for your team. Let them know they can count on you, and you’ll be able to count on them. Be the first one who does what you demand from them and they will follow you. Listen to them, don’t just give orders. People will look up to you and be happy to really consider you their leader. Thanks for the wonderful reminder!

    1. Hi Minaher,

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      You are right, we can only lead with trust from our people. We cannot force people to trust us, we must earn it just as you have said. Having your team’s back and showing them that you are is so important to building that trust and building a strong relationship. Thank you for your contribution.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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