Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Book of Positives And You!

I think most of us will agree that giving multiple positives for every negative, or constructive bit of feedback is optimal.  And… if we were all doing that, morale, engagement, and team member happiness would all be much better than they are on every one of our teams.  It’s just hard to do consistently, because of all of the other demands placed on us.  However it is important enough to keep searching for ways to give more positives.

This might seem like too simple of a suggestion, and when I managed my first restaurant so many years ago, I felt like there was no way I could do everything I needed to do operationally and still develop relationships.  My district manager was one of the first to introduce me to relationship building, and would not let me off the hook.  She suggested keeping a notebook for positives.  The person running each shift would have to write down at least one positive for everyone working that day, and then thank the each person when we saw him or her.  Don’t even think about the negatives, as we have probably already taken care of speaking to someone about those.

At first it seemed like a chore, and on weekends a big chore with so many people working each shift… we weren’t used to thinking about positives, and we found it tiresome, not only to make this stupid list, but also to track down team members who were gone by the time we made our list.  I had committed to doing it, so we kept up with it.  No one wanted to be the one to drop it, so each and every shift we spent some time writing down positives.  At first we would get to the end of the shift before remembering, and so we’d have to stay and write… And since no one wanted to stay late, that prompted us to start writing things down, and thanking people during the shift.

Team members liked the fact that we were showing them more appreciation, and I could tell that they didn’t believe we would keep it up for long.  As so often happens, we start things with the best of intentions, and then… you know… things happen, and team members get skeptical.  This however, had it’s own built in reward system for every one of us.  The team members loved the extra attention and appreciations, and so they started doing more in order to get more appreciations.  Not big things… just smiling more, working together more, and cleaning without being asked… that was our reward.

Before long, perhaps a number of weeks, it was no problem to write down multiple positives for almost everyone, every shift.  About the same time we found team members seemingly competing for the number of positive comments we had to give.  It feels odd to write this, and the way it worked was almost magical.

In the following months we all found ourselves finding good things left and right, team members working even harder, finding small ways to make things better.  One of my assistants had the idea of focusing on areas in which we wanted to see improvements, like cleanliness.  The positives all around the store were so easy to see by that time, keeping up the list was no problem.  All we did was all one or two extra positives each shift based on cleaning, as the team was already cleaning more than usual.  It did not take long for the team to get on board… They would clean things that were hard to clean without being asked, and everything from the front doors to the back corners of the coolers looked better than ever.

The team members started so get ahead of us, looking for ways to improve anything and everything.  They began to look at the building, fixtures and equipment, as well as systems and smallwares.  Old containers, flatware, and glasses were culled out and new ones ordered, and they started offering suggestions for dealing with lines on Friday night and Sunday morning.

I know this might sound too good to be true, and I don’t want to give anyone the impression that we were dancing and singing in the kitchen day and night like a crazy musical.  It was good but not that good.  Not every team member was energized and excited about it, which made them stand out.  One supervisor didn’t want to get on board, so… I helped him find a job where he would be happier.

Otherwise, it worked out better than I could have dreamed.  Morale in the store was really high; we were working together from shift to shift better that ever, and any negativity in the store was confined to those few who helped us help them find other jobs.

I could not recommend this more highly… try it for yourself and see… what have you got to lose?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How And Why I Indoctrinate Team Members…

When hiring, I indoctrinate every team member I hire right then and there.  Meaning, if I spend an hour or more interviewing you, and then decide to hire you, we will spend at least another hour together.  I use this time to set expectations, set standards, and make sure my new hire knows, really understands that I am happy to have them on the team, that I believe in them, that the are an important part of the success of the team, and that I have every faith in their success here.

While I make every effort to only hire the best people I can find, it’s rare to be able to start with a fresh team of new hires.  We usually end up inheriting a team, and then adding our hires to it through attrition, transfers, or promotions.  That means we have a mix of old and new team members.  Hiring is important, and what we do with and for our new people after hiring them is just as important.  An above average hire, if left to someone outside the team to ‘onboard’ is likely to become an average hire.  We are probably working to change the culture of our team, and turn it from average to high performing, so starting our newest person with high expectations is key.

Once I decide to hire you, we’ll sit for 45 to 60 minutes and I will literally indoctrinate you with the standards and expectations of the team. Each and every team member I hired went through this same hour or more interview, and this hour indoctrination… this is a tough team to get on to, and you should feel proud!  We do not accept just anyone onto our team. 

I expect you to be adaptable… this is a high performing team, and we are able switch gears on a moments notice.  We support our company and it’s goals, and sometimes that means our priorities change quickly and often.  You will be able to listen to your supervisor, and even other team members, and take your cues from them.   I expect that you will be a creative force on the team, and that you will see with fresh eyes all of the things that we can do to improve.  You will speak directly to your supervisor of me about your concerns with systems or people, and you will not gossip or speak badly about one team member to another.  I’m looking forward to your help making this already great team even better!

You will be working closely with a variety of people, and you will all be working towards the common goals of the team.  Working with others is great, and I know you will be able to add your own experience and way of thinking to the mix very soon.  I expect that you will show commitment to the team, and each and every other person on the team.  I did not choose you lightly, and I do not put my trust in others lightly… I trust you, and expect you will not let me down.  You will need to be here, on time, every day.  That is the only way we stay a top performing team… we all commit to each other. 

With the fast pace of the team and the frequent changes in priorities, you will need to speak up if you are not 100% sure of what you should be doing or how to do it.  There is nothing wrong with not knowing, however not speaking up is one of the few unacceptable things you can do.  You are an important part of the team, starting your first day, and the questions you ask, the suggestions you offer, and the genuine, honest communication you display are a key part of your contribution.

I know that you will make mistakes… they are not just expected, they are demanded!  If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough.  Good enough does not cut it on this team, and once you are able to achieve the desired results the way you have been taught, I expect you will draw on your experience and your intelligence and find new, more efficient ways to help the team.  Sometimes you will mess up, and this is important… I need to hear about your mistakes directly from you.  I don’t want to hear about your mistakes from anyone else, so as soon as you mess up, you let me know.  That way I can have your back, and we’re both in good shape when questioned.  This is how you show you are trustworthy on this team.

As far as you are concerned, your goals come second to the team goals.  Don’t worry about who get’s credit for what on this team.  We all share in the credit, and your hard work will be noted, appreciated, and rewarded.  We are an actual team, so if you see another team member who needs help, just jump right in and help them.  I would rather hear you ask for forgiveness than wait and ask for permission!  Sometimes things will go sideways, and that’s expected… just make sure I hear about it from you.

I hired you because I believe in you!  I am happy to have you on the team, and I know you are going to be successful here.  The best thing you can do is be the best worker on the team.  You will show enthusiasm for your job; no matter what task you are asked to do.  We are all committed to keeping our floor clean and safe, so if you see a mess, you own it.  We all cooperate and sweep and mop the floor; we all pick up trash; we all empty trash cans; we all apologize for the mistakes of others to keep our customers happy; we all show a sense of urgency… that means work as if you owned the store!  We all take pride in our work, and we leave every workspace better than we found it.  And you know… if I didn’t think you were up for all of this we wouldn’t be having this conversation… I know you are fully capable of meeting every one of my expectations.

I also expect you to stay aware of what’s going on around the store.  There are bulletin boards for important information, and I expect you to read them and stay up on what’s going on.  When you come to work you will connect with the person leaving, and/or your supervisor to see where we are, what needs to be done, and what the priorities are today.  You will remind yourself that we are all doing the very best we can, so when you arrive and things aren’t in perfect shape, you will know that the person before you did the very best they could.  You will do the same.  When you get to work, you will get right to work.  We are not here to chat up the girls, get a date, or find a new friend.  You might see people from other teams doing that, and that is not what we do.  After break or lunch we get arrive on time, and get back to work.  Other team members are relying on us, and we do not want to let them down.  Remember, you are an important part of the team!

At the beginning of your shift, after speaking to the other team members, you will make a plan.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  If you are not sure how to proceed, ask!  You will make your plan based on that days priorities, and the advice of your supervisor.  You may have to alter your plan depending on the changing needs of the department, so work hard to make as much progress on high priority items as you can.

You will do your best to remember all of the instructions you are given, and it’s OK to write them down.  Remember, it’s expected that you will make mistakes… it’s not OK to repeat them.  I trust you to use whatever tools you need in order to make your plan, remember your instructions, and get the job done.  We try to make sure you have everything you need to do your job.  In the short term, I know you will do your best to improvise and do whatever you need to do to get the job done.  Long term, you will speak up and let us know when you need tools or supplies.  You are not expected to do without, and we need you to help be our eyes and ears.

You will, in time, experience problems or difficulties here.  That too is expected.  I know you realize that all problems are solvable, and you are the key to that.  How you see problems will either allow you to see a solution, or see them as a wall.  On this team, I expect you will find solutions.  If you can fix it yourself, do it!  If you cannot, I expect you to speak up about the problem and present your ideas for solutions.  Talking about a problem without suggesting a solution is just complaining, and that is not allowed on this team.

What makes this a high performing team?  It’s people like you!  I only hire the best I can find, and I am very happy to have you on this team.  I am very confident that you are going to make me very proud, and I’m looking forward to introducing you to the rest of the team.  I know that you realize that you are responsible for your success on this team… that is will be your hard work, your intelligence, and you pushing yourself to achieve great things that will ultimately make you the success you will be here.  It won’t be easy, and I know you will stick with it and earn the respect of the rest of the team. 

My commitment to you?  Well… I will be brutally honest with you.   I will do my best to give you 5 or more compliments for every constructive piece of feedback.  And… I will give you a lot of feedback.  We will meet and talk about once a month.  I’m looking forward to helping you achieve your goals, and the only way to do that is if we keep in contact and build a strong relationship.  You will get a scheduled performance review every 6 months; however there will be no surprises.  In our conversations we will discuss the things you are doing well, along with the things you need to improve upon.  I will help you in every way I can, and I feel I am as responsible as you are for your success or failure.

I guarantee that I will make mistakes, and… I will admit them.  I will be transparent with you… there are no secrets on our team.   If you have an issue or problem with another team member, I will do my best to resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction.  I do not play favorites, nor do I take sides.  And equitable resolution is the only outcome I will work towards.  I will back you up when you try something new and it goes sideways.  I will give you all of the credit for your successes, and I will accept the blame for our failures.  My overarching goal is the success of the team in achieving its goals, and secondly in helping each of you achieve your personal goals.

I will communicate positively and genuinely, and I will listen to understand.  I will do my best to be humble, and show gratitude for everything we achieve, as well as for each of you and what you can teach me.

I also promise to fail here and there, and to let you down once in a while.  I hope by then we have a strong enough relationship that you will accept me with my failings, and we will move forward as a team.  Here is my cell #.  If you have any questions, you will call me.

So… yeah… something like that.  When that person goes home and talks about the new job, how are they likely to describe it?  Are the going to be excited about it?  Or is it probably just another crappy job?  I’ve found that without this indoctrination, the latter is probable.  With the indoctrination, people show up for work excited, happy, and enthusiastic… off to a good start.  The rest is up to me in how I train them, and how I continue to build that relationship.

Have you done anything like this?  What are your experiences?

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Monday, April 28, 2014

What Does Your Turnover Say About Your Hiring?

I've worked almost all of my adult life managing/Leading teams in restaurants and retail stores.  The average retail turnover hovers between 60% and 100%, often higher in restaurants.  Does your turnover fall into that average range?

Then I would suggest if your turnover is average, your hiring is average at best.  If you’re good with that… average hiring, average workers, average performance, well… good luck with that!

If you are not satisfied with your turnover, what can you do about it?  For one thing you must make an honest assessment of your hiring.  I haven’t figured out why, and I have yet to meet one person who will admit that they are not good at hiring.  It’s hard to find anyone who will even say that they could use some help at hiring, even when it is obvious that they are not very good at hiring.  Why is that?

Almost everyone will admit that they are not great golfers, tennis players, or dancers; that we would love a personal trainer, would think about taking a cooking class, or looking back, wish there had been parenting classes.  No one would think of going skydiving, scuba diving, or even driving a car without some minimal lessons.  Yet pretty much no one is willing to admit that they aren’t great at hiring, and might be able to use some help. 

Since we agree that our turnover is average, then our hiring cannot be better than average, right?!  And are all of our teams’ high functioning teams, full of superstars?  No?  Then how do we justify our thoughts about our hiring skills?  On what do we base the belief that we are good at hiring people? 

It takes an honest person to admit that while they are doing the best they can, they are not achieving the results they want.  And isn’t that what the facts are telling us about our hiring?  Someone taught you what they knew about hiring, and off you went… doing what you could to hire the best people you could find.

But where is the feedback?  In order for us to get better at something we need feedback.  How’s about an example… I hope it makes sense.

If I gave you a bow and some arrows, stood you 20 yards away from a target, and gave you 2 weeks to practice, even without any coaching you would get better because you get feedback with every shot.  You could try different techniques, and since you could see how each change affected your accuracy, you would get better pretty quickly.  You might never win any competitions, and you could certainly get better.

Now what if I put a sheet between you and the target?  We’d hire a kid to collect your arrows and return them to you, so you never see where your shots hit… you’d never get any feedback… If you don’t get to see where your arrows hit, you never know if any changes you made had a positive or negative affect on your shooting.  Do you think after 2 weeks, or even 2 years you would get any better?  No… how could you?

When it comes to our hiring, I believe we put a sheet between our hiring efforts and the results of those efforts.  Some of you are asking what in the world I mean by that, aren’t you?  Well… I mean that since hiring is not like math… there is no perfect right and wrong… there is no one agreed upon right way to hire, we hire the way we were taught to hire.  We do what we were told would work, and we expect that it works.  And it’s easy for us to go on thinking that we’re doing a great job hiring, because the results of our efforts are so far removed from the effort.  That distance between our hiring and the success or failure of the person is the sheet that keeps us from connecting our efforts with the end result.

We find and interview candidates; we choose one and hire her.  We feel that she is qualified, has the skills we need, and should be a good fit here.  Then what happens?  Someone else takes our new hire off to her job.  How is she treated there?  We can guess, and hope… and we cannot really know for sure whether she is welcomed and encouraged, or if she is looked at as an intruder and ignored.  We just don’t know what perception she has of her new workplace.  How does her boss treat her?  Is he or she a real Leader who will build a strong, trusting relationship with her, or is our new hire facing an insecure bully who is afraid of strong women?  We can’t know for sure.

So, we see how easy it is to separate our hiring from the outcome.  It’s not our hiring skills; it’s her… I'll bet she lied about her qualifications.  It’s not our hiring skills; it’s that Leader… he’s a bully and can’t keep anyone.  It’s not our hiring skills… you see where this is going.  Even if we don’t consciously think these thoughts, it’s how the human mind works.  The success or failure of the new hire is too far removed from our hiring to make it easy for us to objectively judge our efforts.  So we don’t… we just think we’re doing great, and it’s never out hiring that was at fault.

And… back to the original thought… if our turnover is average, we have to admit that our hiring is average at best.  That is all of the feedback we need.  If we continue doing everything the same way, we will continue to get the same results.

If we want different results we have to change the way we hire.  Would you agree?  Disagree?  Either way, if you find this discussion interesting, you might want to read Why You Should Hire For What You Can't Train.

Perhaps another time we can talk about all of the reasons team Leaders should do their own hiring, Hmmm…?

Oh… and if you like my blog, please ‘like’ my Facebook page.  The button is just up there at the top right.  I dare you to click it!  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

How Successful Leaders Build Teams That Thrive

I really enjoy both what Tanveer Naseer has to say, and the way in which he says it.  I think his posts are well written, and give us useful information to make us better Leaders.  I have not done this with anyone else, and if you are going to follow any blogs, his should be one of them.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Why You Should Hire For What Can’t Be Trained

Every company has systems set up for training...  We have modules, packets, guides, and perhaps even ‘how to train the trainer’ training sessions.

And I’m going to bet the majority of those are for training "soft skills", or qualities. Perhaps a quarter to half of them are task based, and with the rest, you are attempting to train qualities. However qualities  can only be learned when we are ready to learn, and when we need to learn that particular quality. We learn these from experience.

Seriously… take a quick look at the list of trainings you have spent time and money on in the past.  How many tasks or skills are on the list?  And how many qualities does it include?  If you are attempting to train qualities you are wasting your time and money.  Why you ask?  Well...

Does anyone really believe that Trust can be taught during a one or two day training session?  Trust is something that must be learned through life experience, through challenging and changing the way we see the world and how we fit in it.  How would you even begin to train someone to extend trust?

You could tell them why they should, and if they do not see the world as a safe place, they will not be able to extend trust.  You can describe how to extend trust, and tell them the benefits of extending trust, and if they don’t already have self-confidence and courage they will not be able to extend trust.  We simply cannot do what we don’t have the tools to do.

Does anyone reading this believe that they can spend a couple of hours, or even days with someone, and leave them with the ability and desire to develop honest, trusting, strong relationships?  This again comes to us from life experience… the desire as well as the ability to be honest and open with other people is either within us today, or it is not.  If it is not, no one can put it there.  Every person must do his or her own personal work, and with luck, come to the point where we feel that we are enough just the way we are, truly love ourselves, and genuinely care about others.  Only then can we really open up to others, and build the kind of trusting relationships it takes to be a Leader.

Which of us can teach passion?  You, over there… can you teach someone how to be charismatic?  You may be able to teach them the definition of the word, and perhaps how we think charismatic people act… and I don’t believe that any of us can teach a quality that comes from within.

What about Vision?  Teachability?  Servanthood?  Emotional Intelligence?

Self-responsibility?  Collaboration?  Self-discipline?  Compassion?  Humility?

Can any of these be taught?  How about just caring about other people?  Can you train that?

So far we have only talked about some of the qualities of a Leader, but what about some of the qualities that we look for in good team players?  What about Solution oriented?  Or can any of us teach another to be Dependable?  We can tell them what we mean when we say that word, however the desire to be dependable comes from within.  Can you really train someone to communicate openly and honestly?  How about to be an active listener?  I’m sure you can tell them what you mean, however none of us can give someone the interest, or make them care enough to listen to understand.

This is why LinkedIn and the internet is filled with blog posts and articles reminding us again and again of how Leaders should act.  If we could easily learn these qualities we would have it all down by now.  I believe that you can name any quality you desire, and find it next to impossible to train. 

However we can train pretty much anything else to almost anyone you can name.  You send me the next person you see, and I can train them to be competent in any task associated with running a grocery store.  Many of you could do the same in your area of experience.  We can train tasks easily to anyone, and yet we hire for tasks and attempt to train for qualities.

So… why do we continue to spend so much money attempting to train these qualities to everyone, from our Leaders to our hourly team members?  Hmmm...

Think about what makes people successful… is it IQ?  Is it because they have a PhD?  Is it because they know the most about the product/department/what ever you name?  No… the most successful people are the ones who know how to build trust and relationships.  They are the ones who are able to get others to get behind their dreams and ideas.  Yes… you need machinists, chemists, web designers, programmers, etc… and imagine if you hired people who had those qualifications AND were able to extend trust, develop strong relationships, were servant leaders, with focus, passion and self-responsibility…  what would your workplace look like?  What could you achieve?

To this end, team Leaders should be able to do their own hiring, and I’ll tell you why.  Hiring for qualities is not easy.  Even when trained and experienced, it can still be difficult to be sure of hiring the right people… we all make mistakes.  To reduce the probability of mistakes, those doing the hiring must be connected to the outcome.  That is, if I hire for my team, I am responsible for the success or failure of that person.  As a Leader, it is my job to see that they are successful… if they fail it is my failing. 

What are the benefits of team Leaders hiring their own?

  • ·      If the team Leader can do their own hiring they are invested in the success of the team member. 
  • ·      Team Leaders can indoctrinate (onboard if you prefer) team members better than anyone else… no one other than the team Leader can impress, indoctrinate, and provide that all important initial guidance and expectations.
  • ·      Team Leaders can start building relationships with their team members the day they make the decision to hire them.
  • ·      No one knows the needs of the team like the team Leader.
  • ·      No one has a more intimate knowledge of what actions describe these qualities than team Leaders.
  • ·      It takes an intimate knowledge of these actions to ask the right questions in order to identify these qualities.

This is why it’s better if team Leaders are trained to hire for qualities, and then allowed to hire for their own teams.  Anyone and everyone who is involved in hiring needs to be untrained, and then retrained in the ways of the force… no wait… how to hire for qualities instead of skills.  At least that’s my experience… a bit of a rant, I know…

Oh… and if you like my blog, please ‘like’ my Facebook page.  The button is just up there at the top right.  I dare you to click it!  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Developing Your Future Leaders Part 7… Even More Traits That Describe Leadership

Even More Traits That Describe Leadership

Problem solving:  defined as finding solutions to overcome obstacles, to find a way around, or through difficulties.  Again, I think that this is one of the easier qualities for us to recognize in our team members.  We usually hear about it after the problem has been solved, when a team member explains how they achieved the outcome.  It may be after we ask why it was late, or in a form we didn’t expect.  You may find that many of your team members were affected by some unexpected event. At best, the work of some was delayed, and at worst the work of others stopped.  Then you will likely have one or two who found a way to continue working and get done on time.  These are the people you want by your side.

The people who are good problem solvers will have varied backgrounds, they will have connections outside of the department, and they will be open minded.  These people will have read and be familiar with any training materials they received, and they will know more about the machinery/systems/materials you use than most other team members.  Sometimes they will come to you to ask if they can skip steps; add steps; change the order; or alter a process… if at all possible your answer should be ‘yes, of course… let me know how it’s going’.  These are the people who will help your business grow.

Relationship building:  defined as the ability to identify and initiate working relationships, ability to find and maintain a mutual understanding.  In your team members, you will have a few who seem to know, and be known by an unusually large number of their coworkers.  Alternatively, it may not be that large a number, and they will have developed connections to people outside of their normal work group.  Most people, if asked, will have a high regard for team members with this quality, and they will find them trustworthy.

The people you want will not be involved in gossiping, so you will not usually find them in the normal gossip group.  These people will probably have a positive attitude, and they will usually be wearing a smile.  In fact, they will probably have spent at least a little time attempting to develop a relationship with you.  They will be the ones who ask if you have kids, where you grew up, and what’s the next move for you… not necessarily all work related stuff… they will be the ones who want to get to know you.  In my opinion, as well as in my experience, relationship building and Trust are really what Leadership is all about.  I don’t believe that one can call themselves Leaders if they cannot trust and/or are not able to build relationships.  If you find these two qualities in any of your team members, find the time to take them under your wing and help them develop their strengths.

Self-confidence/self esteem:  defined as a feeling of trust in ones own abilities, a realistic view of ones own ability and power.  Hmmm… this one can throw some of us off.  I don’t believe that people will follow anyone who is not confident in their abilities, judgment, and qualities.  And at the same time we all know a number of people with inflated egos, who believe that they are God’s gift to everything. 

I don’t think it’s very difficult to weed out those people in our search for Leadership qualities in our team members.  However, some of us may not be as confident in ourselves as we would like.  So it can be easy for us to feel that someone with an appropriate level of self-confidence is showing conceit, and an excessive sense of their worth.  This is something that only you can see and evaluate.  Each of us must be honest with ourselves, listen to how we judge ourselves, assess our own self-talk, and make a determination about our own self-confidence.  Only then can we safely and honestly judge the self-confidence of those around us. 

Now… we still have to identify actions that describe the quality of self-confidence, don’t we?  Self-confident people are less influence by their peers, and tend to make better decisions.  They will not be jumping into the spotlight, or bragging.  We will often see self-confidence and self-responsibility together in the same people.  These people will not go with the flow if it is negative, divisive, or works against their own goals.  In fact, they will often be the ones taking a stand against the grain of the rest of the team, only because they are not afraid to be wrong.  They will be the ones who don’t need much assistance, however when they do they will not hesitate to ask for help.  They will be the team members who admit their mistakes, and if they joke it will be at their own expense.

Self-discipline:  defined as the ability to do what one thinks is right, control of oneself and one’s conduct.  Or… doing what you don’t want to do now, so later you can do what you want to do.  People who are disciplined will have their own goals, and will not be wasting time at work.  They will not often be late, nor will they be likely to be hanging around after work.  They will not make excuses for themselves, and will often be some of your hardest workers.  They will stay on task, and follow through. 

They will generally follow rules without having to be told twice.  They will probably be very involved in some sport or activity after work.  They will be the team members who show emotional intelligence.  They are team members who do not take short cuts, at least without asking first. 
Servanthood:  defined as a person who performs duties for others, a person in the service of another.  At work, servant Leadership is the desire to do for others… to help others achieve their goals, to help them grow as people, help them become healthier, wiser, and more autonomous.  As for finding servanthood in our team members, we will be looking for the people who do for others before themselves.  If there is a line for food or treats, look to the back of the line… not at those who are a little put off that they are at the back, but at those who look as though they chose to be there (and they just may have).

When in a group setting, you will look for those who make sure the needs of the other members of the group are met, and that everyone is heard.  They may be heard making sure the group understands that any action they take should be for the greater good.  Just as we find gold by looking for the rock with which it is often found, we can look to other qualities and be likely to find servanthood.   We should look for humility, authenticity, and empathy.  These people will be long-term thinkers, and much less interested in anything short term.   They will encourage their coworkers, and will often help others with issues outside of work.

Teachability:  defined as able and willing to learn, capable of being taught.  We might also say humility, and they are not exactly the same thing.  The people who are teachable will be open to the ideas of others, and listen much more than they talk.  They will admit it when they are wrong, and have no problem talking about what went wrong, as well as what to do differently next time.  They will also freely ask questions, and ask for directions.

These people will take criticism with ease, and will be able to change their behavior quickly and with a smile.  Doing what they are asked to do is no problem, and does not involve their ego.

So these are some of the ways in which we find Leadership qualities in our team members.  After over 30 years of hiring and developing hourly team members, I have come to believe that pretty much every one of us has one or more of these qualities in varying degrees.  As Leaders, our job is to seek and find these qualities in our team members; acknowledge and help develop them; and for hiring Leaders, hire for them.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Developing Your Future Leaders Part 6... More Traits that describe Leadership

More Traits that describe Leadership

Today we have part 2 of 3 for the list of traits that describe Leadership qualities. We will look to find these in our team members, and then know which team members have these Leadership qualities within them.  Then it’s our job to help them recognize and develop these qualities.  We help them find, develop, and play to their strengths for their good, and the good of the team and company.  So, let’s get at it.

Emotional intelligence:  defined as awareness, control, and expression of ones emotions, the ability to monitor ones own emotions.  This was not on John C. Maxwell’s list, and I think it’s important enough to add it.  These people are relatively easy to find.  And… this quality cannot be taught.  It only comes through personal work, so when you find someone with emotional intelligence, take the time to see what other Leadership qualities they have.  The people you are looking for will not hesitate to volunteer how they are feeling when communicating with others.  They are able to recognize their emotional state, and therefore are not controlled by their emotions.  People who experience emotional outbursts are not generally emotionally intelligent.  Emotionally intelligent people do get upset on occasion, and they will immediately know why.

These people will be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.  They are the ones who get along with just about everyone.  They will be empathetic, and so will be able to recognize the emotional state of others.  Money will not be the main motivating factor for these people, and they will generally be very self-aware.

Focus:  defined as concentrating on one thing, pay particular attention to.  At work, we are looking for people who stay on task.  They find ways to avoid interruptions and distractions.  They do not get involved with gossip, side conversations, or phone checking.  These are the people who are always done on time, or early, and who have time to help others.

These people plan ahead.  They keep their work area clean and organized.  They may take many short breaks, which can help our brains stay on topic.  People who are focused know that multi-tasking is not really possible… we cannot concentrate on two things at once.  So… they will work on one thing with all of their attention and energy, and then when needed, they will move all of their attention and energy to the next thing.  You may see them using notes, or checklists to keep themselves on task.

Generosity:  defined as the quality of being kind and giving, willingness to give.  At work, people who are generous will often put your agenda before their own, helping you look good instead of looking for credit for themselves.  They will be the ones who share credit with their coworkers, and also share information with them.  The people you are looking for will ask if you have time to talk, instead of demanding your attention when it suits them.  They will train and mentor other workers, even when they are not asked to do so. 

Generous people will show gratitude when given something, including credit.  They will be literally generous when someone at work is collecting for charity, or someone in need.  They will be the ones who give of their time by offering to come in early or stay late when the need arises.  They will work cooperatively with other towards a common goal.  Generosity is a very difficult quality to teach, so if you find this in a team member with other Leadership qualities, help them find their way.

Initiative:  defined as the ability to follow through on a plan, the ability to assess and initiate things independently.  The people you are looking for here will be the ones who go the extra mile to get the job done.  They will volunteer for extra work, or the new task.  They also jump right to work when they get there, rather than talking to all of their coworkers before getting to work.   These people will make sure you are caught up with where they are in their project, and they will make suggestions to save money or energy.

At my work, I watch for team members who pick up trash when they see it, straighten out or fix other people’s work, hustle even though no one seems to be watching, ask if they can change or add to a routine to improve it, and keep me in the loop.  Listen for the people who ask “what if…”.  They are persistent, they intelligently as why they have to do something, and they praise others without expecting anything in return.

Collaboration:  defined as working with someone or a group to achieve something, working together in a joint effort.   People who collaborate will ask for clear expectations.  They will share credit and ideas with other team members.  They will receive from peers, and give feedback appropriately.  They state their opinions tactfully, without attacking the other people involved.  They will be careful to define problems without placing blame.  These are the people who will support group decisions, even when they are not in total agreement. 

In meetings, you might see them checking for agreement, and attempting to gain commitment from other group members.  They will check for understanding, and be sure everyone is on board as they move forward.  They will invite contributions from each and every member of the group, and do it without judgment.  You will see them happy when others get the win, and glad to be part of the group.  I find that in order to be good collaborators, people must have many of the qualities of Leadership within them, just waiting to be developed.  Being good at this takes many qualities and skills, so when you find someone who is a very good collaborator, start working with them as soon as you can.

Positive attitude:  defined as approaching life with optimism and confidence, believing that our attitude can affect the outcome.  These people are not very difficult to spot.  They see the glass as half full, they show gratitude, and they are appreciative.  They will often be very hard workers, and usually see the best in people.  They don’t often criticize others, they don’t usually get involved in gossip, and they don’t tend to complain.

The people you are looking for will accept what is, without complaint.  They will be happy to be on the team, win lose or draw.  They will often compliment others, even strangers.  They are happy for the success of those around them, and they are usually good at building relationships.  You can probably think of many more ways to spot someone who has a positive attitude.  This is one quality that is very hard, if not impossible to train… it has to come from within.  Someone who wants a positive attitude will have some personal work to do in order to achieve that goal.  This is also a very difficult, if not impossible quality for us, as Leaders, to teach.  Make an effort to find and develop other Leadership qualities in these people.

Well these posts are getting way too long.  I was going to post a 2600 word post, and I thought better of it.  This is the first half… last part tomorrow.

Oh… and if you like my blog, please ‘like’ my Facebook page.  The button is just up there at the top right.  I dare you to click it!