Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lead Your Employees to Soar: PILOT Them to Higher Levels

By Elizabeth McCormick

Have you noticed that your employees or staff members seem stuck and unable to move upward? If so, it may be time to PILOT your employees, rather than merely manage them. Not only will you notice an increased amount of motivation among employees, you will begin to notice that they are contributing more, and becoming more involved and invested in your business.
When you PILOT individuals you help them realize their full potential and you become the type of leader that every business needs in order to soar. The following guidelines will help your team become more motivated and realize their potential. Many employees are not as successful as they have the potential to be, simply because they do not realize the power they possess. Being a PILOT for your employees will help them realize their abilities, which will help them become more effective, productive and be a catalyst to their growth. 


Leaders develop others’ potential to be a better person, to perform better in their job and to be better equipped to grow into leadership. Leaders develop leaders, but you may not understand how. To develop leaders, one must be someone that they can emulate. Show your employees that you are learning alongside them. Your employees want to learn from the way that you handle failure, and you can do so with grace and ease. When your employees see you fail, they see that you are still learning and working at becoming a better leader. As a leader, use your failures as learning experiences to share with your team. These experiences will create a culture that allows for creativity and educated risk-taking to allow failure and not fear it. People tend to learn more when they feel safe and secure enough to make mistakes.


Have you ever had a meeting to discuss the meeting before the meeting? Are you spending more time getting ready to get ready? These behaviors occur when we become stuck in analysis paralysis. Turn your ideas into actions by taking action. There is a fine line between waiting for perfection and taking a calculated risk. Ask yourself, “Is the speed of implementing this more important than perfection?”  “What will we gain or lose from pulling this trigger? What will we gain or lose from waiting?” Then, ask yourself these questions: “Are you hitting the mark?” “What are the performance indicators we need to watch for?” Involve everyone on the team in the problem solving process and put everything up for consideration, and then discuss the pros and cons for each possible adjustment.


It is usually good to be the first. Leading your industry demonstrates innovation, and innovation does not happen without first taking educated risks. Effectively leading means communicating in a clear and concise manner. As a leader, it is important that you clearly communicate the vision and inspire employees to perform their duties in the manner that is expected of them. The speed at which you act can determine the amount of time in which it takes for your products or services to hit the market. The sooner you take action, the faster your clients will be able to benefit from the products and services that you have to offer. As a leader, commit to a course while you communicate with your team and take the required actions to achieve your goal. 
Your communication and action will lead you closer to your vision. When employees see your drive and dedication to achieving the end result, they will follow and lead their team more effectively because they can clearly understand your vision and the actions needed to reach your goal. 


As a leader, you must understand that you are responsible for the nurturing and culture of the organization and how it responds to risk, change and learning from failures on any level. To evaluate the strength of your team, you should evaluate how your team embraces change, welcomes change, initiates change, recommends change, and ask for ideas on how to change. If new ideas are raised in a meeting, do you properly explore them or shut them down immediately? Do you allow your employees to have a voice? 
At the close of every meeting, do you take the time to ask your employees if they have anything they would like to address? Do they have any feedback over what was covered in the meeting? Effective leaders understand the importance of asking these questions and actively listening to the responses. 


Too many people give up when they are so close to success. Do not give up on yourself as a leader, on your employees or on your organization. You are essential to their success. Be the pilot in command of your organization, not the copilot who follows along. 
Do you want your employees to willingly follow you? No one asks, “How can I be an average leader?” Every day you must show employees that you believe in the vision of your organization, your employees and the work that they are doing. To do this effectively, you must take the time to be the pilot in command and drive the action.

Elizabeth McCormick is a speaker, author, and authority on leadership. A former U.S. Army Black Hawk Pilot, she is the best-selling author of her personal development book, The P.I.L.O.T. Method; the 5 Elemental Truths to Leading Yourself in Life. McCormick teaches easy-to-apply strategies to boost employees’ confidence in the vision of your organization and their own leadership abilities. For more information, please visit