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The Importance of a Leader Book.

A great leader knows their people and their numbers.

I’ve seen it all the time. Information that should be in the hands of a first line supervisor held at the HR level or worse shoved into a obscure filing cabinet that only gets opened three times a year. Let’s get the numbers and the employee information directly into the hands of our leadership! We can do this through a tool called a Leader Book. This can be a powerful tool for leaders at all levels it will track important numbers, tasks, Goals and Employee Coaching Documents.

What Is A Leader Book?

This will be a book or binder that will be held by a department or team leader that will give them a quick look at the entire team and system they are in charge of. It will have all the coaching they have done on each individual on their team (click here to see how to create and utilize an employee coaching program). It will have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for their specific department, and it will track all the important tasks, trainings, mission and goals of the department. It will track all the lead measures to ensure the departments meets all of its goals. If you’re a Lean Six Sigma geek like me it can also help you with system analysis.

The best part of this system is you as the leader get to create it. We would like to give you some ideas on what items you may want to start to acquire to get your book up and running.

How Should I Set Up My Leader Book?

This will depend on your job title and industry. But the setup is completely up to you. However, there are some specific things you should have that I would recommend across all industries and teams. Below is a list of these.

1. Coaching Program – I am personally biased, and I believe this should be the number one reason you have a leader book. This is what cased me to start our company Retain Today. I believe if you take the time to understand your people you will begin to understand loyalty. (click here to see how to create and utilize an employee coaching program)

2. Team Strengths and Weaknesses – This will be something that will change and maybe even move in a cycle. But understanding this and having it recorded will help when you need to give estimates on timelines and when you need to disperse tasks to individuals.

3. Event Reviews – In the Army we called these AARs (After Action Reviews). This is where you take the time to discuss a project with your team that has already be accomplished and you review what was done right and what could have been done better. If you are careful to record the lesson learned in an actionable way, you will see less mistakes made by the team and your tasks will be accomplished faster.

4. Mission – It is important to have this as a constant reminder of what the bigger picture is. This also serves to ensure that whatever Goals and Tasks are in this book are in direct support of that mission. This can help keep distractions and more meaningless task at bay.

5. Goals – Where would we be as leaders without our goals. An important part of leadership is being able to set that compass and what better way to do it than to track our team goals. I would encourage you to not just record them, but track them.

6. KPIs – Key Performance Indicators. This is what you will use to communicate with your leadership when you have specific requests and can even be used to show off your teams’ performance.

7. Lead Indicators – When we look at our indicators, we should always keep in mind there are lag indicators and there are lead indicators. Lag indicators are more like goals and by the time we know if we met them, it can usually be too late.

An example is a lag indicator is “I want to cut expenses by 8% for the year.” This kind of indicator won’t tell you anything until after it has passed.

A good example of a lead indicator is I want my department to increase sales calls by 20 per day. This can be directly affected and if you fall behind on one day you can increase it the next.

8. Track Training – It can be very important to track individual and team training. This can help you better assign tasks as well as ensure your team is cross trained (crossed train means one team member also knows how to do another team members job). You can also use your knowledge of your teams strengths and weaknesses out of part 2 to decide what training your team might require.

9. Tasks – Tracking tasks is a great way to ensure continuity. Things happen, and if one of those things takes you as the leader out for a couple days this books can be passed to the next in the “chain of command” so that the team doesn’t lose a beat when continuing with the mission.

A Leader book can be an important tool for you and even if your organization does not require it, I would highly recommend creating one yourself and set yourself apart from mediocre managers. Once you create it and your leadership sees the affect it has on your team don’t be surprised if they ask you what your secret is.

**If you need further assistance in creating your leader book, we would love to help. Please feel free to reach out to our office to have a discussion on your organization’s specific needs.

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