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Maximizing Leadership Effectiveness: The Art of Tasking for Success

By Whiskey Tango

BLUF- It's said that making an assumption makes an ass of you and me. In a lot of ways, this is true. When it comes to handing out tasks as leaders we often assume that our receiving sections get it. We assume that they understand what we expect of them. We assume that they know exactly what to do with little guidance.

Short Story- Once upon a time in ancient Rome, there lived a renowned military general named Marcus Aurelius. Known for his strategic brilliance and unwavering leadership, Marcus was revered by his soldiers and respected by his adversaries. However, what truly set Marcus apart was his exceptional ability to task his soldiers effectively, providing them with proper guidance, managing their talents, and ensuring they had the necessary resources.

Amid a heated battle against a formidable enemy, Marcus stood tall on a hill, surveying the chaos that unfolded below. His soldiers, exhausted and outnumbered, fought with unwavering determination. Despite their resilience, they needed direction to secure victory.

Marcus descended from the hill, his cape billowing in the wind, and approached his troops with a resolute gaze. He called them together, their eyes filled with hope and anticipation, as he outlined the plan to turn the tide of battle.

With a voice that resonated with authority, Marcus told them the purpose of their mission: to defend their land, protect their families, and preserve their way of life. His words kindled a fire in their hearts, igniting a newfound sense of purpose and determination.

Marcus moved through the ranks, studying each soldier's strengths and capabilities. With a keen eye, he recognized their talents and assigned them tasks that aligned with their skills. He entrusted the archers with strategic positions, the swordsmen with protecting the flanks, and the cavalry with a swift and decisive charge.

To resource his soldiers effectively, Marcus made sure they were well-equipped. He ensured that the archers had an ample supply of arrows, the swordsmen had sturdy shields and sharp blades, and the cavalry had swift horses and spears that gleamed under the sun.

As the battle raged on, Marcus motivated his soldiers with unwavering support and genuine care. He moved amongst them, offering words of encouragement, instilling confidence, and reminding them of their collective strength. He inspired them to fight not only for victory but for each other, creating a bond that transcended individual aspirations.

But amidst the valor and strife, an unexpected twist unfolded. Amid the battle, news reached Marcus of an uprising within his ranks. Unrest and dissent were spreading like wildfire among his soldiers, threatening to unravel their unity and jeopardize their chances of victory.

With determination burning in his eyes, Marcus made a quick decision. He ordered his most trusted lieutenant to gather the dissidents, offering them an opportunity to voice their concerns and frustrations. Rather than punishing or dismissing them, Marcus listened intently, acknowledging their grievances with empathy and understanding.

Through heartfelt dialogue, Marcus discovered that his soldiers were not rebelling out of malice, but rather out of a genuine desire for recognition and a voice in decision-making. Realizing the importance of inclusivity and trust, Marcus swiftly restructured his leadership approach.

He implemented regular briefings, where soldiers could openly express their opinions and suggestions. He promoted open communication channels and created a system where every soldier's voice was heard and considered. By valuing their input and incorporating their ideas, Marcus empowered his soldiers, transforming them into active participants rather than mere followers.

As the battle continued, a remarkable transformation took place within Marcus's ranks. The unrest subsided, replaced by a renewed sense of purpose and camaraderie. Together, they fought with unparalleled unity and determination, overwhelming their adversaries.

The tale of Marcus Aurelius serves as a testament to the power of effective tasking, even in the face of internal challenges. Through proper guidance, talent management, and a willingness to listen, Marcus turned an uprising into an opportunity for growth and unity. His unexpected twist of inclusivity and open dialogue laid the foundation for a victorious outcome.

In our own lives, let us draw inspiration from Marcus Aurelius, realizing that effective tasking goes beyond mere commands. May we lead with empathy and transparency, fostering an environment where everyone's voice is valued. By embracing and addressing internal unrest, we can transform challenges into catalysts for unity and achievement.

Four T's

Tell Them - Help team members understand the purpose of the task and how it fits into the larger goals of the organization. This can help to increase motivation and engagement. Clearly define the task: Make sure that team members understand what is expected of them by clearly defining the task and any associated deadlines or expectations.

Talent and Training - Consider team members' skills and abilities: When assigning tasks, consider the skills and abilities of each team member. Make sure to match tasks with the right team member, taking into account their strengths and areas for development. Ensure proper training is available if needed.

Tools - Make sure that team members have the resources they need to complete the task successfully, such as training, tools, or equipment.

Time - Appropriate amount of time to complete tasks

Listen- Sometimes as leaders, we get wrapped up in our reputation and authority. It's important to remember that great leaders are not only great speakers but great listeners.

Once the task is given don't forget to:

  • Check-in regularly: Stay in touch with team members as they work on their tasks, and be available to provide support or answer questions as needed.

  • Provide feedback: Offer feedback and guidance to team members as they work on their tasks. This can help to ensure that tasks are completed to the best of their ability and can also help team members to grow and develop their skills.


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