Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I know in my career, I've made many mistakes. I've mistreated someone that I supervise by either not showing them respect, or through my impatience I've shared my frustration in ways I'm not proud of. If you'll look back at your career you'll see times when you've most likely done this as well. If you're having trouble remembering these times... just think back to the conflicts and issues that raised from your behavior and maybe that will jog your memory. When you show disrespect to those you supervise... it's easy to tell this is happening because those you supervise shut down around you. They avoid you, they won't volunteer any feedback because they fear you, or they fear what you will say. So they feel it's better to keep quiet. There's nothing worse than ignoring the disgruntled associate. There is never a good outcome if not addressed. Problems never just go away, they get resolved through the efforts of both hurt parties but the responsibility to resolve this is on the leader. The leader always has the authority and the power over the associate, so the resolution must always come from the leader if you want to have any hope of restoring this relationship between the two.
So how do you begin, how do you start the process of restoring this relationship? The answer is simple, but not always easy to do. So what is it?... You apologize for what you've done! You look them in the eye and with all sincerity of heart, you say... "I'm sorry." You allow yourself to be put in their shoes for a moment and you realize how you behaved and that it was wrong and you apologize and make a commitment to change. Why does this work, why is it important as the leader to say I'm sorry? Because the associate has no control over you, and their world is upside down until you say, I"m sorry and I see what I've done. Once you say that, then the associate feels safe around you again. They don't fear you any longer and they realize that they have a chance at a new beginning with you as their leader. It's times like this that you have the ability as the leader to develop a more meaningful and stronger relationship than you ever had before. You will be amazed at how these times of reconciliation can shape you and bond you with your folks.
I began this message with these words, "Everyone makes mistakes." Knowing this and acknowledging our mistakes is the key to being respected as a leader among your people. Those you supervise understand and know you are just human, so quit acting like you're not! Apologize when you mess up and then change your behavior so they know you mean it. Take a bad situation and turn it into something that can actually help your career. Do not miss this opportunity. Many do and they struggle throughout their career.
Monday, January 25, 2010
1. Full Trust
2. We don't know what to do
Now maybe you're not the head coach of an NFL football team or even the CEO of a Company, maybe you're the manager of a firm or a hotel or some other business where the responsibility still lies on you to perform and get results that impact the organization in a positive way. Store mgrs are responsible for their own smaller piece of the Company, but the pressure you feel is just as great as the CEO in most cases. You can still lose your position of leadership for the unit you are responsible for if you don't perform and get results. The point I'm making is this... If you are the head Leader in whatever occupation or organization you work in, if you are the Main leader at whatever level... you MUST get results or you run scared everyday that you might lose your job if things don't change quickly.
So I get to the question that I asked in the title of this post... Are you afraid of losing your job?
I think if you are worried about losing your job... you have to ask yourself... "Why am I worried?" I heard this quote one time and it made a lot off sense to me...
"If you're worried about losing your job, you might not be doing all you can to keep it."
There's a lot of truth to this statement. How many times have you felt like it's slipping away and you can't get your hands around it. The question has to be why?? What can I do differently to achieve or get different results. You can't keep doing the same thing can you? No.. so begin the change with the obvious question first. WHY is it not working?
Once you've figured out the why... then the battle is half over. Once we know what's preventing us from being successful we can create a plan to pull us out of our slump. As we work the plan we must track our results and adjust as needed as we work the plan.
I had a supervisor tell me years ago. "Make a plan, then work your plan." I'd add to that and say this... "then measure your progress, and adjust your plan to achieve your desired results."
Use these key points to be successful...
1. Know your market, know what it is you are working for. What's important to your business? Sales increases, Profits, People, know what the object of your business is. What's the mission?
2. Make a plan to achieve results. What are the results you want to see? Know where it is you want to go. You have to have a destination in mind, or your going nowhere on purpose! be sure everything you put in your plan positively impacts the mission... if it doesn't don't include it in the plan.
3. Work your plan. Assign it out, check it off, go through the process of getting done what you've put on paper. Follow up to ensure the plan is being executed.
4. Measure your progress. Are you moving the needle in the right direction? Are you improving? Are sales going up, are profits going up.
5. Adjust your plan if you see the needle is not moving in the right direction. Coaches are good at watching what's happening on the field and making calls to adjust to what they see. You must do this as well. What obstacles popped up on you that you didn't anticipate. Work around them.
6. FINALLY... as you see your goals being achieved.... make new goals that affect your mission and begin again the whole process... Steps 1-5.
To truly not be worried about losing your job only happens when you are taking charge of your destination and achievements and you know you are moving forward and it's because of what you are doing. It easier not to worry when your running the ship. We worry when we feel we have no control! So I say...
Take control. RUN your business, don't let it run you. Be flexible with your schedule, be flexible with your people, be flexible and open minded about any ideas or plan that helps to accomplish your mission. Commit to the plan. You must be sold out to it. You need others on your team and you need their support, but their interest in the plan is rarely greater than the head Coach. So saying this... if you're not giving it everything to succeed, neither will your people... your doomed from the beginning if you yourself are not committed. Now, aggressively act upon your plan. Execute it!
If you are afraid of losing your job, then do something about it. Act now before it's too late. This holds true with me, maybe it does with you as well, but if I feel I'm not performing and at risk of losing my job, then I've been given a chance to hurry up and correct the situation. Very rarely are we surprised by being let go. We know when were in danger, or at least you should if you're in charge. So the next time you have those worried feelings about losing your job, realize that it's still under your control to do something about the situation. You don't have to work in fear of losing your job. Everyone loves a winner! Make sure you are one! That's why you are in the position you are in... never forget this. Be careful not to make the mistake of thinking your in this leadership position because you did your time and you earned it. Your in this position because you get results. Stop getting results... you can't stay there.
written by Steve Phillips
Anyway, I'm sitting at home and for whatever reason that I don't remember right now, I began complaining to my Dad about how ridiculous it was that I only was getting paid 75 cents per hour. I guess I thought my Dad would have sympathy on me or something. Boy was I wrong. He immediately reminded me that it was only a few months ago that I was thrilled to have this job. He remembered me coming home so excited that I was going to be making 75 cents and hour and working about 15 hours a week and that now I would have some spending money in my pocket. He reminded me of the joy I had in going to work and the fun I was having doing this work when I first started this job. Now after only a few months time, I'm sitting here complaining about it! What he said to me next I've never forgotten. Dad said, "Steven you made a commitment, an agreement, to give it your best for 75 cents an hour. Now quit your complaining and live up to your end of the agreement. It's either that... or quit!
I was shocked. I wasn't expecting that! But at the same time I did feel guilty for the way I was acting. He was right. It wasn't until I realized that one of the other dishwashers made $1.00 an hour that I began to feel that I wasn't paid enough. Never mind that this other guy had been there longer and had earned his way up in pay. I was feeling like I was just as good if not better than the other guy, yet I wasn't making as much. It just didn't seem fair to me.
Over the years I've used that same phrase with others that I've worked with. When a co worker starts to complain about what they make an hour, or they complain about what they make compared to someone else. It's always good to think back to the day you landed the job. Remember how good it felt to be employed again after a long time of no income? Have you forgotten how tough those days were? Remember how excited you were that first day and you could even envision a career for the future if you worked hard and gave it 100%. What happened? Why the change of heart? Whenever I get to feeling this way I always think back to one of my first lessons about work from my Dad. Son... You made a commitment with Mr. Morning to give it 100% for 75 cents an hour, now quit complaining and you follow through on your end of the commitment... or quit! I chose to stop complaining and get back to honoring my commitment. It was amazing how much happier I was when I realized that this job was good. I was working when others weren't, I had money in my pocket when others didn't. I'm thankful for my Dad. I'm thankful that he didn't support me when I wanted to sulk, whine and complain about my job.
If I just described you... Stop your complaining and follow through on your commitment to your employer. You made an agreement to work for so much money an hour. You weren't mislead in any way. They're following through on their part of the deal by paying you what they owe you for the work you have given them. You owe them 100% effort on your part. If the job is not what you had hoped or dreamed it would be then get out of it or work hard to make it what you want it to be! You can always quit and go somewhere else, but until you do, give it your best.
Oh yes... I finally did save up enough money for my bike. I was right, it took me almost a year to earn enough money to buy that bike, but was it ever worth it! I ended up working with Mr. Bud Morning for almost two more years. I never complained again, instead I worked even harder to prove to him that I was worth more than the 75 cents he was paying me, and by the time I quit I was making $1.55 an hour! More than any other dishwasher ever working for Mr. Morning at that time. He also hired me to do other odds and end jobs around the resturant which allowed me to earn even more money. Mr. Bud Morning was a great man, he was a great business man, and because I stayed with him I learned so much from him about work ethics and commitment. I honestly believe that first job of dishwashing and how I reacted to it, set the foundation for my success in other jobs later on. Because of my follow through and commitment to endure and see other jobs through when it got tough sometimes, I was always able to acheive great results. Thanks Dad for the lesson you taught me that day, I've never forgotten it.
"Always, give it your best."
Where most leaders, parents, managers, and supervisors fail is because of their lack of follow up. Seems we have no problem identifying what needs to be done, such as task to accomplish or deadlines to meet. We seem to be able to assign those tasks and delegate them to others so that the tasks we need to accomplish begin getting completed. If only this was enough, wouldn't that be great! Everything done exactly as you had assigned it out. Finished perfectly and completed on time as expected. Well that's what you expect isn't it? Don't we expect that when we assign or delegate out a task that it be completed on time and to perfection as we described it should be? Of course we do. But guess what, you're kidding yourself if you think this is the way it works. What's worse than kidding yourself, you've probably already found out that you are being held accountable for the work you assigned out that didn't get completed on time or even done at all. Now you are feeling the pressure of dropping the ball and now you find yourself gritting your teeth and commenting your frustration under your breath.
Hold it right there! Before you go any further, before you take your anger out on this person that failed so miserably at accomplishing the task you assigned to him... let's take a look at where YOU dropped the ball as the supervisor. Did you follow up? Did you check on his work as he progressed through the task, or did you simply give out the task and hope for the best? Look where that got you... In deep trouble!
I think it's always important to remember that the task to be completed is assigned to YOU. If you choose to delegate it out, fine, good leaders always will, but the task is still yours to complete on time. Just because you assigned it out doesn't in anyway eliminate the accountability place on you to accomplish the task. Even more so, you are now at risk, because you are counting on someone else accomplishing your task correctly and timely. How in the world can you not follow up and ensure that the task is not done correctly? I've listed some common reasons that we as leaders use in justifying in our minds why we didn't follow up.
- Shouldn't have to, these are managers I'm assigning these task to, they know and understand that this is important, they are in positions of leadership and they should just do what they're told to do. ( my experience... always follow up, you never know... you may not have communicated the task very well and they may think they are doing exactly what you told them to do.)
- I trust them, they are dependable people, I can count on them. (my experience... it's good to trust them, but they make mistakes, they are busy with other task as well, they may not understand the importance of the task like you do, and sometimes people just forget things. Always follow up to see that things are happening.)
- I don't have time to follow up. (my experience... you don't have time NOT to follow up. The time you spend fixing the mess that other can create will make you think twice about following up. It's always saves time to follow up periodically. This will save others time and you time and ensure the best production of all involved due to not having to backtrack or begin again in a new direction because they mis understood)
YOU get what you INSPECT, not what you EXPECT. This is a true leadership principal that will save you time and money if you'll only follow up better on those you supervise. The benefit of good followup is two fold. Not only do you see the job get done correctly and on time, you allow a closer relationship between you and your subordinates. Each person you supervise wants you to see what they do for you. They feel good when they know they have done the job correctly, but what they really want is to know that you know they did it right. By following up this gives you the chance to give out the praise and the "pats on the back," for a job well done. So through your follow up, you ensure the job gets done and you also have the ability to teach, mentor, and praise those you supervise.
Early in my career as a retail store mgr, I had a district manager tell me this simple phrase... "When in Charge, Take charge!" His name was JR Lee. He was an incredible leader and I learned so much from him. He had a passion for the business and he challenged me to be the best leader that I could be. As a leader, if you are like me, you have weaknesses and opportunities for growth. JR saw that one of my opportunities was in making a decision of what to do when faced with a challenge. I guess I simply doubted myself and didn't trust my own judgement at times. Maybe it was my lack of experience, I don't know, but I always wanted assurance from my supervisor if I had a decision to make and I wanted to know if I was making the right decision. It was like I was afraid to make a mistake. JR finally got to the point that he simply told me... Steve when your in charge... take charge. Go for it. Think things through, make good educated decisions and then give direction to those you supervise and follow through with your plan. Do it, make a decision and then do it! "When in Charge, take charge."
Several lessons I learned from this...
- You have to make quick fast educated good decisions. Wavering or stalling usually does not help the situation. It's best to make up your mind and act. Until you act on something you really don't know if you made the right decision or not? You have to act to even know.
- Don't be so set in your ways or the course of your decision that you can't change your direction if that's what's needed.
- When making a decision, ask the best on your team for their opinion. Two or three heads are always better than one.
- Once you've made your decision.. attack the plan, go for it with passion and enthusiasm. Own the decision, sell the decision to others and make it happen.
- When in charge take charge... helped me to realize that I'm it! It's all on me... I'm in charge, I should act like it. I'm responsible now do something about it.
When you finally get to the point that you understand that "when you're in charge, you must take charge." You will begin to step up to a whole new level of leadership.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
"Some people are leaders, some people are followers. Neither one is anything without the other."Basically a leader is nothing without people who follow. You're definitely not a leader without people behind you! Who are you leading, yourself? That doesn't count... you need a team of people behind you that follow you and support you because they trust you will take them in the right direction.
Have you ever worked for or worked with that leader that that thinks the world revolves around them? They think the only reason things are working out are because they are in charge and they think that everyone is behind them, but what he or she really thinks is... they are not only behind me, they are beneath me. This leader sets himself on a pedestal (probably because no one else will). Some people make the mistake of thinking their title makes them a leader. It doesn't. Their title gives them authority, it gives them responsibility, and it gives them a position, but a leader... oh a leader has followers. The word lead means to be at the front on the line, to lead the way for others, to set the direction or course for others to follow. A leader always has followers. The leader realizes that without followers he or she can not perform the tasks at hand. A leader understands that the success of the team is what's important, because the leaders success only comes from the teams success. A true leader gives the credit of their success to the team members because they know that without them they would have failed in their tasks.
The leader can never look at themselves and think they are the most important member of the team. They must always look at themselves as the servant to the team, the motivator, the encourager, the mentor, the supervisor of events, but the most important... Never! The leader must always remember that on their own they can do nothing. When a leader realizes these things they respect the team members and will do all they can to develop and teach the team. Followers want good leaders. If the leader is not respectful, and doesn't develop or trust the team members judgement... then the team members will find another leader to follow. People will refuse to follow bad leaders.
You may say, "Steve, you act like this is some kind of revolutionary information your sharing with us. This is all just common sense stuff." I say, "it may be, but you still don't see it very often." Leaders have a bad habit of getting the big head and I think the extra pressure on their brain from all that swelling, well, it's makes them not so smart. This big head syndrome tends to affect evel headed common sense thinking. So I thought I'd bring us all back down to earth for a minute and remind us all as leaders just in case we may have forgotten...
"Some people are leaders, and some people are followers. Neither one is anything without the other."written by Steve Phillips