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The Operations of Leadership: 4 reasons to change your mind about leading like a “turn & crank” operation

The Operations of Leadership: 4 reasons to change your mind about leading like a “turn & crank” operation

If you’ve ever spent a day in operations (ok, let’s be real – you’d need a year, or at least a few months to really grasp it) – you’ve become accustomed to things that others just… aren’t. If you’ve ever seen the movie Groundhog Day you may remember Bill Murray being trapped in time, with the same day endlessly repeating. Some have compared working in operations to the same idea.

However…. Operators know a thing or two about getting things done… and it leads me to ask the question:

What do operations and leadership have in common?

1.      They both need people to get specific things done. Operators often tend to have a list, a quota, or a setup that must get accomplished. This may be accomplished using a checklist, or a guideline – but they have a clear expectation of what needs to be done. Good leaders do this as well – for some, it’s not as straightforward.

2.      There’s a right and a wrong way. Touchy ground – but this still holds true for both. Operators either get it done or not. The 100,000 units are either shipped – or they aren’t. Your people aren’t as simple as a unit – but there are right ways and wrong ways to lead them. What works for getting 1 individual to do something may be absolutely wrong for another. (You get to be the one to be Indiana Jones and treasure hunt for what those differences are – and they ARE out there.)

3.      The best answer solution may be in plain sight. Most operators work in a state of continuous improvement – kaizen, kanban, lean, scrumandon, poke yoke, standardized work. Little by little, yard by yard, they find ways to improve upon the current process. Many times, they find the answer in tweaking a process here or changing a set of steps there. Good leaders do that as well. They don’t just accept that Dan is the laziest of the group or Stephanie is always showing up late and can’t be changed – they look for different ways to improve upon the current situation.

4.      The goal is max capacity/ efficiency/ productivity. This comment goes without saying for operators. We all need to hit a goal, a target, a number – that’s the focus – and we try not to stop until we get there. Some leaders may balk at the austere nature of this statement for their employees – but it’s true. Don’t you want the most – the best – the “all you can be” out of your employees? It does not mean work them to OT hours and burnout – it means to challenge them with their strengths and assist them in working toward doing the most – for themselves – and for you.

Operations and leaders are much closer than you think – you just have to find the right way to thread the needle, wind the machine or load the belt.

How do YOU use operations to help you lead?

It’s not you, it’s me: The 14 words to get you out of your leadership slump

It’s not you, it’s me: The 14 words to get you out of your leadership slump

I believe it was George Washington before the Battle of Trenton that said something like, “You can’t fight the battle you want, you must fight the battle you have”. Many may not remember the details of this relatively small battle during the Revolutionary War – but it was a pivotal one for the early Americans, as it boosted moral from the devastating loss in the New York battles, and convinced more colonials that the fight for freedom was the correct one, and to join the fight for America.

The fight even to get to the battle was not easy. It was winter (Christmas Day and the day after in 1776, to be exact), and bitter weather and a frigid Delaware river made the conditions more challenging. Some of Washington’s troops were not able to cross due to these extremely hazardous conditions.

And still… Washington (GW) went for it. He knew it wouldn’t be easy. But he also knew that if he pushed through the worsened conditions and surprise the other side, his team could potentially win the day. They did.

Luckily for us, we don’t have to cross a treacherous icy river to learn from his experiences:

1.      Some of your success is because of hard work. Some just plain luck. For this one, you have to be honest with yourself. Some of what got you in this situation – with your team, your managers, your work load, etc. is due to your hard work. You stayed up late, working, studying, preparing. You made the conversations – you may have even had to play politics when you thought it was for the best.

But….. let’s be real, some of it is just plain luck. Let’s go to extremes first. Think of the kids of wealthy business people that inherited a successful family business, or the number of child stars that got their start because a parent already made it in Hollywood or Nashville (Miley, anyone?). They started out a few steps ahead… it doesn’t mean they ultimately finished successfully – but they started at a different starting line.

Some of you may work with people that seem to be in a better position than you, for no other reason than luck. YOU may have had the luck at some point too. The point is – it doesn’t matter where you started, or where you’ve been. Or where anyone else is, for that matter. It’s where you currently are (like GW on the Delaware) – you’re in the situation. Get yourself through it.

2.      Fight the battle on your terms, regardless of the conditions. Face it – GW had some less than optimal conditions for anything productive – let alone winning a battle. He was literally fighting an uphill battle in the snow. HOWEVER – he got over it and made it to his advantage. He figured the rivals (the Hessians, German contract soldiers for Britain) would not expect him to be so crazy as to cross in the darkness of night in such conditions – and so he did just that.

GW took a crappy situation and made it his own – on his conditions. If you have a team that doesn’t respect you – or a project that’s not getting done (and you’ve worked your tail off, and starting to feel burnt out) – then stop. Take a step back. Take a deep breath. It’s not the battle you want. Fine. How can you make – what you have RIGHT now – into something that’s yours – your wheelhouse, your strengths – your terms?

3.      Bloom where you’re planted. I heard this several years ago when I actually benefited from hearing the advice I’m giving now. I was in a job that I knew wasn’t challenging me, and no matter how hard I tried, almost nothing I did was recognized as support for the company – nor would I get support on how to improve.

You may not have planned to end up where you are right now. At this age. In this particular job. Leading these people. That’s ok. Think of 3 things that are going well – and think of 3 things that are NOT happening – but COULD – and your life/job/team could be much worse. You may have a few people on your team that drag you down. Bloom where you’re planted – figure out a new way around it. You may not be in the job you wanted to be at this age. Bloom where you’re planted – find the advantage of being exactly where you are (like GW did) and make it yours.

“You can’t fight the battle you want, you must fight the battle you have”

How do you encourage your team to fight the battle?

“You only get what you give”- Lessons from pop culture that can improve your daily work

“You only get what you give”- Lessons from pop culture that can improve your daily work

Ever reflect on a path not taken… i.e., if you had taken a different path from a fork in the road, where you would be now?

What about those risks on the path you’ve never taken?

For those that are Gen X’ers – remember the New Radicals song “You get what you give” – came out in 1998? (For everyone else – it’s a good song. Look it up).

The song is about taking a chance, a risk. Maybe you have just graduated from high school and are looking for the “first big move” – be it college or to work. Maybe you’re leaving college, and you’re living in the real world (and work) “Ain’t it fun” – and realizing things are not as they seemed.

Maybe you are in your 30’s and 40’s and learning what’s really important – and finding out what’s important now wasn’t on your radar 10 years ago – and you can’t imagine a life WITHOUT these important things. I went to my reunion this past weekend and found so many amazing people that were in this category… some doing a 180 degree turn from their graduation plans (myself included!).

Maybe you’ve started to believe that the ship has sailed for you – and you should just deal with what you’ve got at this point in your life.

To each group – to where you are right now – I want to tell you this. “You only get what you give”.

–       If you “give” small – if your risk is small, your reward will more than likely be small. Just like Vegas, the chances of you having a large return from taking a small risk tends to be very small.

–       If you “give” nothing – because you feel you just don’t have what it takes – jealous of someone 10 years younger for having a job you should have – looking at a friend wondering why he has the life, and you’ve been the one working harder, the chances of you having a large return is virtually zero

–       If you “give” yourself a minute – an honest one – consider this. What do you do better? Where are your skills, your talents – at work, in your department, in your organization? Where are your limits? Double down in those areas at work – spend more time being AMAZING in those areas.

So…. What do you do about it?

Go for broke. Every once in a while, challenge yourself out of the box – make yourself do it. Take your team out of their comfort zone in a way that flips the status quo upside down. Take an assumption about a weekly or monthly task or requirement and challenge the assumption itself.

Go for broke… but keep the car. It may mean taking a new job, moving to a new place, finding a new department. Don’t forget what’s important though – and know your priorities. Your priorities are yours alone – not others. Don’t covet others’ priorities for your own – because they also have baggage you probably don’t see.

Bottom line – “Don’t let go… You only get what you give”

Take a risk – make an impact – focus on your priorities in doing so. Start today. You’ll never be as young as you are now (Neil Pasricha).

Silos are for Sissies: “Job Blending” and the Work Trend your ‘experienced’ leaders hopes doesn’t catch on

Silos are for Sissies: “Job Blending” and the Work Trend your ‘experienced’ leaders hopes doesn’t catch on

How many of you have looked at a job description in the last 6 months? Hmmm… may not want to answer that if your boss is around

What are the job titles you see? Operations Analyst. HR Generalist. Marketing Coordinator. Merchandise Planner. Civil Engineer. Nurse Anesthetist. Each one has a unique job description which can include a list of job requirements, strengths, needs, KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities) that are required to get the job done.

What DON’T the job titles tell you?

If I were to ask you to think back to a previous position – what have you done before that you wish you could do now – what tasks or goals might you say? Perhaps you enjoyed working with the customer and would like to do more of it. Or dig into the numbers and be the first one with the answers? Or simply not sitting in so many meetings? How can you do those things you enjoyed now… and would you appreciate your current job more because of it? Chances are you would.

This is called Talent EngagementGoing beyond the job description. 

Anyone can do it. I once was in operations when I learned I loved to teach (my job at the time had NOTHING to do with teaching, and very little directly involving developing others). I worked with my manager to find something he needed for his team – and found he wanted leadership development training. I created it, delivered it, got results – and became more engaged in the parts of my job I hadn’t been before.

So what is job blending?

Job blending is going between the job descriptions – NOT letting a title limit you to what you can contribute to your organization. Adding marketing to an HR job. Adding Operations to an IT job. Adding Sales to an Engineering job – atypical partners in a typical job.

The larger an organization is, in general, the more focused a title becomes, the more specific the job functions. A person that holds an accounting role for a 20,000-person company will have a very specific task list. He or she will be responsible for certain accounts, due dates, and checklists.

What if you had a little more freedom?

Ok… To be clear, I’m still saying you MUST get your job done. (It’s the #2 rule on my leadership rules). I’m saying BLEND your job. You are an accountant with an eye for organization. Why can’t you also hold a role with the operations team when they bring on a new project? You’re an IT manager but also have an eye for fashion? Blend your job so that you’re part of a contributing team on set up displays for branding in the stores.

Companies are already doing this. Small and mid-size companies can thrive because of job blending – people wearing many hats (sometimes because they want to – and sometimes not!). However, after a time, job blending gives way to structure and order. It doesn’t have to be that way – you can still have the structure and “blend” the order of your work.

Any benefits? Yes. The more you blend – the more you’re cross-pollinating a siloed workforce (on purpose or not). You’re creating diversity in ways you’ve never tried – and oh, by the way – by letting people do more of what they want – you’re going to increase Engagement and Productivity (if, of course, any of those things interest you). Also, the more you reach out with an array of projects- the more skills you develop, the more respect you’ll gain in the workplace, and when asking for that next big raise you’ll have more persuasive power. J

Google “job blending” and you’ll find very little. Job blending is scary for most “experienced” managers – those that are comfortable with status quo, do not like to think out of the box, like control and having expectations.

In the next month – I challenge you. Can you find a way to “job blend” in your workplace? What about the people on your team – have you asked them what they’d like to do – to give more to the team, and the company – but you’ve never asked?

Job Blending works. Join the trend that is out of the box – but within your reach.

#DisruptHR – What do dogs, kids & employees have in common that can help you become a better leader in 5 minutes? Find out.

Got Culture? Share your piece (of information) and receive access to exclusive info!

Got Culture? Share your piece (of information) and receive access to exclusive info!

Have you ever wondered how work cultures differ in a similar or even different industry? Does the grass seem greener on the other side? Is employee engagement more or less in a larger organization? We want to answer these questions!

We want to learn about employee engagement by focusing on work culture, asking the hard-hitting questions of what works and what doesn’t. Help us by participating in our research survey here. The survey will ask you questions about your current organizational processes and areas of improvement.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will feed into a larger response pool. Your results will remain anonymous, and those that submit and request will be the first to review the results! Participate in this survey and learn about how you can take your organization to the next level by fostering employee engagement levels and improving productivity!

See the survey for more information here.

Clean yourself up: Take the quiz – How dirty ARE you… at work?

Clean yourself up: Take the quiz – How dirty ARE you… at work?

Ok already. Get your head out of the gutter.

Or… maybe stay there. That actually may help you in this case. Have you ever thought about the dirty work you do? Last month we talked about the Employee Supply Chain: the operational processes of what YOU as an employee do every day.

But what about the crappy, dirty work that you do – every day?

What is a dirty job? If you’re a Discovery Channel binge watcher, you may say it’s like jobs that host Mike Rowe does. He goes from job to job, literally getting dirty in areas of work that many of us can only imagine – and most of the “dirty” is not simple dirt.

What would be a dirty job at your workplace? Is it the task you simply hate to do because it’s no fun or boring? It’s said that Mr. Rowe tackles the “difficult, strange, disgusting or messy” duties of the job. Is it possible that some of your own job duties in the office, or elsewhere, qualify as a “dirty job”?

Let’s take a look…. Take the “Dirty Work on the Job” © Quiz and find your score.. or check out the highlights here…

Do you have a task that is difficult?

  • It takes a long time or it requires many signatures or signoffs of people that never seem to be at their desk (or anywhere to be found, really)?

Do you have a task that is strange?

  • You’re really not 100% sure why you’re doing it or you’ve got a good hunch that you’re only doing it so someone else can ‘check off a box’ that a task is done… only for the information to sit in a drawer or an email folder, never to be seen (or used) again?

Do you have a task that is disgusting?

  • You find it annoying in some way (for example – you must work with that realllly annoying guy from the 3rd floor that has pickle breath and always turns his work in 1 hour late) or something that was not in your job description – and you’re not fully trained to do it?

Do you have a task that is messy?

  • It’s a task that you can do – but you dread doing it every time or you know there must be a better way to do this task?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you have dirty work in your job… and you are not working at your best – at your max capacity as an employee. You are being held back by the mud and gunk in YOUR Employee Supply Chain.

Now try this. Go back and take the “Dirty Work on the Job” © Quiz again – for the people that work for you. Find any dirty work there?

Chances are – you answered YES to both paragraphs above. There’s a solution.

Dirty work is a form of waste. Operations typically define waste as “something that adds no value” – it’s something that you’re doing in 15 steps when you could do them in 5 or something your customer does not get value out of you doing.

The goal is to find the ways to eliminate this waste. By doing so – you can give yourself up to 10-15% (on average) of your week BACK. Meaning – you could have almost an hour a day to do something else.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Click here to see how.

Express Yourself: Outside of your comfort zone

Express Yourself: Outside of your comfort zone

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life”. Hopefully, most of us have found ourselves in a career path where we truly enjoy what it is we are accomplishing. But what if I told you that loving what you do, your daily motivation, and efficiency at work, can all be connected to one aspect? Talent engagement. After reading, “To Get More, Try Giving More ” by Ashley Lesko, it was made clear the influence talent engagement has on job satisfaction and work efficiency.

The more an individual utilizes their natural strengths the more pleasure they will find in their craft. Simply because, who doesn’t love doing the things they are good at? And no, this does not mean if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing to leave and never look back. It just means to find opportunities to engage your talents- even if that includes stepping out of your comfort zone.

For example, I’ve always been good with technology, analytics, and writing. The analytic and writing skillsets I developed from a communication studies background, and technology is something I’ve just always enjoyed. Therefore writing on sporting events for the local paper wasn’t an issue for me, but it became rather repetitive. One day I was asked to commentate some High school football games over the radio; I was excited yet also reluctant. Yes, I knew the language associated and the analytical numbers aspect of the sport and the radio technology was no challenge. But the job was still outside my comfort zone, I am a naturally reserved person until I become comfortable. Therefore the thought of my voice becoming known by thousands of people in my area did not ring well with me, especially the task of developing a radio personality. Yet I went with it; expressing myself and my talents in a new style. Fast forward to present day, and I love every moment of it and can’t wait until this upcoming football season where I will commentate again.  

Therefore, my advice to you; exploit ways to engage your talents at work and you will experience a happier, more productive, you.

By: Brooks Rynders

Are you maximizing the value of your Employee Supply Chain? Three ways to increase your team’s worth by the end of the week.

Are you maximizing the value of your Employee Supply Chain? Three ways to increase your team’s worth by the end of the week.

Former business school students, pop quiz – what’s the definition of a supply chain in an organization? One source talks about supply chain as the system that facilitates the flow (of products, services) through the business. Another explains that managing the supply chain is a must- have because “an optimized supply chain results in lower costs and a faster production cycle”. It includes all of the steps to get it from the producer to the customer.

Have you ever thought of your team as having their own supply chain? If so – knowingly or not, you have worked on your company’s Employee Supply Chain.

Definition: Employee Supply Chain– the end to end operational process of an employee’s impact on an organization:

  • Acquiring – (producer) Stage of hiring decision, intake, onboarding/orientation
  • Developing – Stage of skills training, performance management, and leadership development (transit, in-process)
  • Retaining/Exiting – promotion, actualized leadership, and outplacement (retirement, attrition)

An optimized Employee Supply Chain (ESC) blends operation and HR tactics to maximize employee’s talent engagement, capacity & productivity. An optimized ESC strategically & strategically reduces uncertainty for an organization in employee expenses.

The goal is to optimize your Employee Supply Chain and maximize the value for one of your top organization expenses – your employees. It is a process for recognizing that support in a certain area, the decision to hire, the hiring process, the onboarding process… and then the development, growth, and evolution through the organization’s cycles – reviews and moves, and at some point – either promotion or attrition, to complete the chain, could make the difference in a bottom line by reducing overall expenses by 5-10% or more.

Anyone that has a hand in ANY part of Employee Supply Chain (ESC) as described above – has the ability to grow, influence and enhance the strength of their own Employee Supply Chain.

Business Dictionary notes that producers at the beginning of the supply chain (in the case of ESC, the initial decisions made by CFO’s, CEO’s, CHRO’s and hiring managers of the employee process) can only compete through the supply chain. Unless the rest of the supply chain improves, “no degree of improvement at the producer’s end” can make up the problems downstream in the supply chain.

So… that means – if you own:

  • Initial Decision to hire (capacity, organization need)
  • Hiring process (recruiting, interviewing)
  • Onboarding Process
  • Job Functionality (training, teamwork, interaction)
  • Job Process (development, growth, and evolution through reviews, transfers)
  • End of Job-Life (promotion, retirement, attrition)

… you have ownership of part of your organization’s Employee Supply Chain.

How optimized is your own team’s Employee Supply Chain? Let’s briefly take a look.

  • Ineffectiveness
    The graph above demonstrates how wasted costs is associated with being ineffective in your Employee Supply Chain.

    Having more employees than you need. You hired 5 people, yet you really only needed 3 people…. But didn’t realize that until 6 months later. Perhaps you weren’t equipped with the understanding of the capacity of the individuals – or the job. Perhaps you followed an example of a model that did not match with your business. Ineffectiveness is having wasted costs due to more employees than the organization needs in the business.

Potential outcomes… Employees in this group could be underutilized, overutilized undertrained and could have a sense of loss meaning/ understanding of their place in the company

Ask yourself…. How can you determine if you’ve hired effectively? What can you do to help to reduce ineffectiveness in the future?

  • The diagram above exhibits the role inaccuracy plays in the Employee Supply Chain. Hiring at an inaccurate moment leads to wasted time/costs.

    Inaccuracy – Accuracy deals with timing – which can be everything. You know you will need to hire a business analyst to help shoulder some of the work – so you hire in Q1… but realize later that two other employees had the ability to do the work, at least until Q3. As a result, Inaccuracy and wasted time/ costs evolved you hired earlier than needed, as you could have delayed the hires, reducing employee expenses for the year.

Potential outcomes… Employees in this group may also feel underutilized if hired too early, or overutilized if hired too late (“you need me to do too much at once, I don’t understand!”). They may feel like a “5th wheel” and a lack of connection to the company.

Ask yourself…. “What is the capacity of my team that I already have? How much do I know about the job needs that I’m hiring?”

  • Inaction – Whereas the first two elements of loss in the Employee Supply deal with the hiring itself, the final one deals with the results when those have happened
    As you can see above. When employees are not working at full capacity, there can be severe lost opportunities and costs.

    , or if the employee loses the drive to complete the job. Typically, an employee initially begins a job with 100% effort – once (s)he is trained, they perform (or generally want to) at 100%. Over time, due to many reasons (manager, lack of motivation, engagement, etc.), this effort decreases, resulting in a 70% or 80% output (productivity). Multiple this by a number of employees… and you suddenly find yourself with much less employee productivity… and paying the same price in employee expenses!

Potential outcomes… Employees in this group feel disengaged, unproductive – and may or may not know it. They tend to have multiple strengths or talents that are not being utilized and may be considered siloed into their current job instead of being able to contribute in other areas of their work.

Ask yourself “At what capacity do I think my team is? If they are not 100%, do I know why? Can we help them?”

How are you maximizing your employee supply chain? Share this… and share your story.

In additional news:

  • Last month, I asked you how to “make” it as a manager. Thank you to the many of you that contributed and congrats to Curt from Dallas TX on his $25 Amazon gift card! Be on the lookout for the summary and results in upcoming months! Thank you!

 

How I didn’t make it as a manager: Being the star of your own movie means you have to hit a fork in the road. Or several of them.

How I didn’t make it as a manager: Being the star of your own movie means you have to hit a fork in the road. Or several of them.

A while ago, I started training new and front line managers through a series called “How not to Suck as a manager”. Some people liked it, some thought it was inappropriate, some made me change the title so it could fit within their stated goals and objective.

I didn’t just do it for the catchy title. It’s because I was there. I have sucked as a manager. And I have learned – through people, research, breaking things, fixing them, and breaking them again – How NOT to suck as a manager.

And yet… so many people still suck at being a manager, don’t they?

Why is that?

A few years ago, I was promoted to lead a large department – over 150 people – as well as a few managers, assistants and support. The group I was in, however, was failing… for months. We couldn’t get it right, no matter how hard we worked, no matter how many hours we put in. It just wasn’t working. Complaining that our numbers were too aggressive and unrealistic wasn’t an option. We had to make due and persevere despite our misgivings.

To be truly honest, it was a dark time for me. I had started my job with VIGOROUS energy – within a few months, it was all gone. It was replaced by a bottomless abyss in my brain that made me play, “Hold On,” by KT Tunstall on my way to work – over and over – just to tell myself I could get through the day!

I hated my job. I hated failing. Over and over. I hated being yelled at. Over and over. I hated never getting it right.

So, I consolidated my precious resources and let go of the one thing that I had actually done well – taking care of my people. I focused my efforts on overcoming being yelled at – and stopped paying attention to the 150 people that depended on me for guidance, direction and motivation. I stopped caring about their needs and basically focused only on mine.

It went from bad to worse for me. Although I’ve been in a number of challenging places, including the military, deployed on the other side of the world, I hit manager, job, and leadership rock bottom.

I officially sucked as a manager.

It happens to everyone, at some point, every time. You WILL struggle at a level to get through to someone (even if you’re the best manager there is), to get a point across, to get a goal accomplished.

In times like these, I call on Mr. Thomas Edison for support: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

You can get the prize at the end –  you just have to try one more time to get it – to get past that fork in the proverbial road. Mr. Edison continues, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

I did finally wake up and realize that I had to focus on my 10% – what I could impact? What could I influence? I went back to supporting my people and clearing the way for them to get the job done.

And you know what? They did. We were trapped in the “jungle” and found our way out. We ended up significantly stronger – as individuals and as a group – than when we started. Within 6 months, our team was out of the hole, and in less than a year, were one of the strongest departments in the country in our line of work. Several of my people were promoted out of the department (aka – stolen from us because they were so good!) and I continued on into other roles.

I never forgot that time, and the one strategy I will never carry out again. Although I had to suck as a manager to understand it, I learned and I found strength myself.

What about you? How do you “make” it as a manager? How do you not suck as a manager? Share your story and what you’ve learned here. One winner will get a $25 Amazon gift card. He hEE

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SPSmgr2017

 

Are you too “big” to care… as a leader? 3 ways to help you reset… before someone does it for you

Are you too “big” to care… as a leader? 3 ways to help you reset… before someone does it for you

  • Have you been in your position for more than a year? More than 2? 10?
  • Do you have trouble remembering the last time you sat down with someone from your team and talked about something OTHER than the next project or task that is due?
  • Could you share 3 facts about each individual on your team – that is NOT work related?
  • Do you know what your employees want to do next in their job? For their careers?

Take a look… if you answered “yes” to more than one of these, you may have (knowingly or not) become too big to care as a leader. (Picture by Abbey Pansy)

Or… does this classify someone that you know? Someone… that you WORK for (or try to) on a daily basis? In one of the lowest points of my work career, I became “too big to care”. I focused more on what I needed to do to fix the overall problems – then on my team that could actually fix the problems.

It’s 2017. No time for lamenting where you are. Let’s move forward and get it done.

So how do we tackle our situation here? We now have managers that have potentially grown so big in their job that they have become comfortable, complacent, callous, careless, confused, or even just cranky … too big to care as a leader. Leaders have been recognized as those with the responsibility to lead others. Here is a few ways to help you (or a leader you know) get back to what’s important.

  • Have a real conversation. One that doesn’t include work. It can be difficult, and for some, it seems remote to talk about things other than work but don’t forget – they are people too. They aren’t just a number. You hired them because they added value to the company – at some level. What value can they add to you? Your team? What are their interests? Find a few ways to help them open up and the work may open up too.
  • Find out what makes them tick. Really. Pop Quiz. What is the motivation style for each of your employees? Is it the carrot? Stick? Do they do their best work alone? With periodic checkups? Take a few minutes to find out. Ask them to complete the free assessment the Talent Engagement Zone (TEZ) or buy the book Strengths Finder – and talk about the results. How can you give them more of what they already have… and one? How can you build that into the goals and critical needs of your organization and team? Ask.
  • Share about what makes you tick. REALLY. It’s important to know the things that make your employees want to work harder – but your interests, strengths, and motivations are just as important.  Where do your interests and theirs align? Where do they want to go… that’s similar (or even parallel) to where you want to go? How can you go there together?

 It’s understandable that not everything will align. You may want to run the company, and an individual may just want to do a good job (and securely KEEP the good job). What doesn’t go together? How do you break the two up and resolve those differences? Sharing stories about yourself makes you a little vulnerable, but it also opens your employees to the REAL you… which will help them better understand and better relate to you. No one’s perfect, right? It’s ok to let them see it, too.

The year is young and the snow is still cold. Focus on your 10% and show you’re not too big to care.