Friday, March 14, 2014

How to Build a Leadership Team part 1… Keys to Getting Started Off Right

OK… back on track.  so we’re pretty much done with the hiring and indoctrination, although we will need to talk about the training, and follow up with our new team member sooner rather than later, so we might see another aside.

For now, we need to move forward with building a Leadership team, without which we have no chance of building a high functioning team out of those great people we just learned to hire.  We started the process by meeting with our apprentices, to define our current reality.  Again, I find myself working on two things at once here.  We need to proceed to defining our goals, determining what needs to change, now that we agree on what is happening, and in addition to that there is also the personal work that needs to happen…

I am going to guess that the vast majority of you reading this do not have a boss who is a great Leader and is mentoring you.  You are more likely on your own in your hunt for the skills it takes to hire and keep the best team members.  Keeping those team members requires Leadership skills.  If you were sitting here with me we would talk about what I see you doing, how you are interacting with your team, why those things are or are not working for you, what behaviors need to change, and how to change them.  Often we would also need to talk about what thinking needs to change.  Since you are there and I am here, I can only talk about what should happen, at least in my experience, and you will have to find ways to get an objective look at your own emotions, behaviors, actions, and reactions to determine why you have been failing to achieve the results you want, what needs to change, and how to go about making those changes.  If you have specific questions post them in the comments box and I will do my best to answer them.

I think, if you don’t have a boss who is a good leader, you should do your best to find a mentor.  This person must be the kind of Leader you strive to be, otherwise how will they know how to get you there?  As John Maxwell would say, a leader can only develop others to his or her own level, and not beyond.  If your mentor is in a Leadership position, and yet is micromanaging, overbearing, and is not developing Leaders, they will not be able to show you how to be the kind of Leader who does those things.  Does that make sense to you?  Good. 

I would suggest starting with other Leaders who work around you.  You will know you are onto to a good choice when you find a Leader who: has the respect of their team, has team members who don’t want to leave the team except to be promoted, promotes more team members than most, has a high functioning team, helps the team members achieve their goals, and is achieving their own goals as a team Leader.  Someone who fits this description will most likely be willing to talk to you about helping you develop your leadership skills.  You AND your apprentices are also, I expect, reading one of the two books I suggested in Hiring part 15.  You should all be reading the same book, so you can talk about what you’ve been doing wrong, and how you are all going to act moving forward.

For now, we’ll get back to our team building…

Once we know and agree where we are, and what is actually happening, we need to decide as a team where we want to be.  We will have goals that we will need to reach, such as sales goals, margin and labor targets, etc…  In addition to these we will set our own goals for the team.  What is the minimum quality we will accept?  What level of service?  How will we judge ourselves?  How will we move those unacceptable people off the team?  Is there any chance we can change their behavior rather than losing them?  How and when will we give each other feedback?  This is important because many of the things we will be doing moving forward will be new to us, and may even seem unnatural.  We will have to help each other along in order to stay on track.  If you, as the Leader, think you can do this alone, and are not willing to accept feedback from your apprentices, you will not succeed in achieving your goals.

This is a key… Humility… listening to the people who work for and with you, and actually hearing how you come across, how you are as opposed to how you want to be, is a mandatory skill.  If you have ever come across in a way other than you intended… see this post…  Building our Leadership skills…  You took it the wrong way!  If you believe: that you are smarter than everyone around you; that you know better than everyone around you; that you could fix most every situation if they would just listen to you; or if you blame anyone but yourself for your failures, please make an appointment to see a therapist or a job/leadership coach.  You have some issues with humility, and will NOT be able to be a great leader, or build a great team without doing some personal work.

Now, we all agree that we are going to raise our standards, and reach whatever goals we have set for ourselves.  Look at each of your goals and make sure that they are all quantifiable.  That is, can we measure them?  If not, how will we know how we are doing, or when we have achieved them?  Some of them may have to be modified to make them measureable.  Remember, we are still doing this as a group.  It will not turn out well if you meet, agree on our reality, come up with goals, and then the Leader takes them and returns with a different list.  Your apprentices will not buy into your list of goals, and you are certain to lose some of the trust you have been building. 

I would also want you look at your tasks, and make sure your break down builds in lots of smaller goals… one of the keys to maintaining a high energy level around something big like raising standards, and rebuilding team morale, is celebrating lots of small wins. 

Another quick but important key here… We get more of what we reward and celebrate.  So… when you are setting up your goals, you must be sure to align the way you reward the team with your goals.  The majority of these rewards don’t have to be huge… they can just be small tokens… movie passes, free meals, etc…  Your main reward system should also be aligned with your goals, however I realize that many of you will not be in a position to alter those.  You will do what you can.  So many companies have terrific goals, and then they fail to align their reward system with those goals.  The end product?  Those goals go unmet of course.  You will do it differently.  You will align your rewards with your goals.  You will set up many small wins to celebrate along the way.  You will publicly appreciate team members every time you see them doing something right.  You will never correct a team member in front of other team members.  You and your apprentices will all be singing the same song, over and over and over, and you will all help each other stay positive.  Your standards will be the same from day to day and shift to shift.  You will sit in with your apprentices when they have difficult conversations, just as a moderator, making sure each person is ‘hearing’ the other and making sure it all turns out well, and then giving your apprentice feedback afterwards.  You will give away all of the credit to your team members and apprentices, while taking all of the blame when things go sideways.  You and your apprentices will be shining examples of the behavior you want to see.  Be the change you want to see… isn’t that what Gandhi said?  He was able to change a whole nation.  We just need to change our team.

Oh… and if you like the blog please like my facebook page.  Thank you!

Here is a nice article about setting goals.. enjoy!
Seven Principles for Setting Goals That Work

There is another key here, and we’ll talk about it in the next post…

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