You may be trying to operate your own business, but it just doesn’t seem to be working. You know something’s wrong, but you don’t know what. What I’ve written in this post expands on the post in pt I of this series, and will help you discern if you’re out of position. Meaning you’re in the wrong role for what naturally fits you. (Now I’m all for temporarily doing this to gain great perspective, and acquire new skills. However, stay in the wrong roll too long, and it’s called STRESS!) Don’t lose hope though, I run into entrepreneurs all the time who struggle with this very issue, and yet gained the necessary assistance and are now highly successful. One way, is to create a culture of accountability, and then to plug into it. There are ways you can make a position that doesn’t fit you, still work! But first you have to recognize the cold hard facts, be brutally honest with yourself. Then you can create an action plan that works, and fits you. So, if you’re ready to discern your situation, let me ask you if any of the below scenarios and/or feelings sound like you?
You have employees to supervise, but you loathe, no you despise confrontation and avoid it at all cost!
You prefer instead, to allow things to work out on their own.
How’s that working for you? Things won’t work out on their own-they usually escalate and get worse.
In fact, you know you’ve got someone out of position, when a company-wide policy is made for everyone, instead of correcting to the one person abusing the system.
You’d rather fix things, and work around the facility, than deal with people, avoiding them until absolutely necessary.
You don’t have a natural sense of what to do to motivate, lead, and redirect those in your charge. Worse yet, you’ve never been given any formal training on how to be a successful leader – manager. If this is the case, please HEAR ME. This was not your fault! Let me say that again, “You are not to blame for being in this position!” However, that said, you have no excuse to not take the responsibility to obtain the tools and skills necessary to successfully influence and lead, even if you only have two employees! In fact, every personality style can be an effective, successful leader, by using their personality style appropriately, along with maximizing their strengths, while delegating or eliminating their weaknesses! In fact, what some would consider natural leaders, can be the very worst leaders, leading like a bull in a china shop! I liken this to a strong willed horse that’s never been broken. They’ve never learned to bring their strengths “Under Control” to best utilize them. Luckily, we live in a day and age where resources on this topic are in abundance! GREAT materials, books, DVD’s, mp3′s, and podcasts on the subject are prolific, especially at our public library. In fact, go to my LinkedIn profile and you can see my reading list filled with some of the best in leadership.
Stay tuned. In part III of this leadership series, you’ll find how and when it’s time to move on, or step down from the frustration of trying to be something you have never enjoyed, and have never felt successful doing! You will also discover how to best adapt your style to be the best leader/manager you can be, and how and why a Business Development Coach or Executive Coach can be your best resource to assist you and your organization in establishing successful leaders and managers of every behavioral style.
Are You Ready? Ready for the Greatest Exodus of Intellectual Capital Ever to Leave Companies Nation-Wide?
The Baby Boom Generation Continues Their Mass Retirement. Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 – 1964)
The first baby boomer to turn 60 took place in 2006. Every day since, 11,000 boomers have join the ranks as they too turn 60. If the Boomers do happen to retire, and the majority haven’t saved enough to be able to, it will create a skill shortage in every department. Why is that? Because The “ME” generation, as my generation is called, boasts 76 million strong, and is almost twice the size of generation that follows. Generation X consists of 45 million! How did that happen? Think about it, never before in the history of man were you able to choose if and when you wanted to have children. With the advent of birth control, more women were opting to go to college, while putting off that blessed event. Companies, corporations, and especially our government are now scrambling to put together succession plans, trying to fill the gaps the Boomers leave. One answer we’re learning, as I continue to offer Business Coaching to companies, isn’t to just rehire Boomers, better yet, it’s to find a way to retain them. This is the “Now” generation, and we’ve barely paid off our mortgages, much less saved for a retirement. This means that your best strategy is to intentionally/strategically keep us employed, by valuing and providing incentive’s, according to our motivations. In other words, create incentives, and a reason for us to STAY! Another reason to keep us is that the Boomers live to work, therefore tending to be workaholics. Whereas your “Generation X”, they work to live. It’s as important for them to take time off and play, as it is to finish any project. And why not, they watched Mom and Dad give their entire life to work, and the pay-back was:
Our generation was dispensable to big corporations! No more did we have loyal companies that took care of their employees like family, as the Traditional Generation did, who stayed at a company for life. Big business meant:
there was now an ivory tower
while paying their CEO’s the big money
The day of the Rolex Watch and golden parachute WERE NOW GONE
So. why should Gen X’ers give their lives to one company for their entire work-life? You see, if you need loyal, hard-workers, you can still find them, however you may have to look for those with white hair. (Unless they have color hiding it.) They’re found among my peers, my generation. . . the Baby Boom Generation. (More of their characteristics, values, and what shaped them to come in the next posts!)
Save Yourself a Lot of Headaches, by Putting the Correct Foundations in Place!
The next best practice for managing managers is:
Know them. Find out what keeps them with you and your company, and in this position, as well as what would cause them to want to leave.
Regularly take time with them. The best way is to have a weekly meeting to keep your pulse on what’s going on with them, and to discover who’s doing what.
Take the time to find out what motivates them, looking for ways to communicate special thanks and encouragement. Give them a short survey and include a list of items they can choose from. i.e.
Gift card to ________________
A spa treatment
What’s their favorite candy or drink
Do they like public praise, or would they prefer a sincere note of thanks.
Tickets to a ball game
Then when you notice exceptional behavior, remember to reward them with one of the items they chose. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Also, you’re modeling how to treat their employees. This is influencing up! Just go into any Starbucks and watch the level of confidence their employees display.
“I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun.” asserted John D. Rockefeller
The next important leadership item is the performance review. I admire the Starbucks standards and systems. With two grown children who have been shift managers with an accumulated 14yrs of experience with Starbucks, I have had a rare opportunity to study them from the inside. They are a model organization regarding encouraging their employees and managers to “feel” like company partners. I interviewed our city’s District Managers a few years ago, and they described a practice I have implemented with every company I consulted with since. They not only have exception training with high standards, and detailed manuals for everything, but they do what is called “Skip Level Performance Reviews.” For instance, they will skip the store manager and interview the shift managers (who are directly under the Store Managers) in order to ascertain just how well the Store Managers are fulfilling their responsibilities, and how they are being treated by the Store Manager. This kind of accountability keeps the Store Managers on their toes. Then the Store Manager will skip the shifts and speak with the employees about the Shift Manager. This also gives one the opportunity to learn if the employees are thriving or struggling under this manager. If you wait for them to come to you, it’s probably already out of hand, and will need time and intervention, which costs money. If you do discover there is a problem, corroborate the truth of it by interviewing the other employees to discern if this is an isolated case between the manager and employee, or if it is necessary to either correct the manager, or possibly provide more training. Either way, take care of it, or it will grow exponentially and sabotage the culture of the office, and you will loose credibility and influence. The Starbucks system of performance reviews works ingeniously, measuring how well they are fulfilling the expectations of being a manager! As well, if the managers are responsible for certain levels of sales, the numbers never lie. As well, how they’re creating raving fans can be measured by providing customer surveys. Feedback, feedback, feedback provides concrete evidence! With the right systems in place, you’ll be able to keep the pulse of a place, knowing when you need to provide extra training and possibly need take a more hands on approach for a time. Whether you have one or many employees, with the Starbucks systems in place, a company can run efficiently with scheduled, regular performance reviews.
BOOKS TO HELP YOU:
“Developing the Leader Within You” Dr. John C. Maxwell
“Developing the Leaders Around You” Dr. John C. Maxwell
“Love “Em or Lose “Em” by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans
Save Yourself a Lot of Headaches, by Putting the Correct Foundations in Place!
When you hire your first office Manager, you can avoid a lot of problems by putting the correct foundations in place. First off, the manager MUST be rightly positioned. Making sure their behavioral style matches the needs of the position, and that the skills, knowledge, and training of the person fits their responsibilities. A lot of headaches can be avoided right here! Then, they must have a clearly written, and understood job description which includes:
Their specific responsibilities
Attitudes expected of them
Compensation the company will be providing
Holidays and/or days, and sick leave
When performance reviews will be given to them
Continuing education should be provided so that they are continually upgrading their leadership skills. This should include how much the company is willing to invest in their training and/or materials. You can’t manage poorly communicated expectations. Every time I go into a company to consult, or provide executive coaching, and the manager is frustrated with the owners, it is invariably these items which were loosely agreed upon, and not put in writing. If this is the case, you will eventually experience conflict over what the Office Manager expected and was told, as opposed to what the owner remembers he/she said. They need to be given the company handbook detailing the
along with the job descriptions of the employees they will be managing. They must have a crystal clear understanding of how to support, train, monitor and encourage their employees. Problems can be averted by setting the correct foundations at the beginning. Having a clear understanding of their responsibilities, will avoid any need to micro manage as well!
Done right, you will have more time to do the things you love doing, which is why you became a business owner in the first place!
End of pt. 1
What Great Managers Do With their Employees, To Add Value to Their Company
Here’s where the rubber meets the road in successful businesses where people feel valued for their contributions! Managing people is all about developing other people to bring out their unique:
- knowledge, and education
to meet the needs of their position at work. Great managers develop and release their employees by assisting them through training, coaching, directing, supporting, encouraging, and delegating. Lee Iaccoca managed to lift Chrysler Motors back from varying challenging issues including labor disputes and bankruptcy. Through it all he managed to maintain his value of “succeeding at the people level”. What this meant was that he insisted, and I quote: “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words,
“PEOPLE – PRODUCT & PROFITS.
PEOPLE come first.”
If fact one of my very favorite quotes states that to be a superb leader, or manager:
“You need to develop the skill of:
MAKING OTHER PEOPLE FEEL IMPORTANT.”
Dr. John C. Maxwell
“No man will make a great leader who wants to
do it ALL himself,
or to get the credit for doing it!”
Again, management isn’t about you. It’s about what you can do with and through others to build and develop them, while simultaneously meeting the mission, vision, and strategic plan of the company. J. Paul Getty, the wealthy oil mogul, when asked what was the most important quality of a successful executive replied:
“It doesn’t make much difference how much other knowledge
or experience an executive possesses. If he is unable to achieve results
through people, he is worthless as an executive!”
Are you hearing a similar theme? As a leader, it’s about extracting from your people, their very best on behalf of the company, in ways that honor, value, and build them. You get to make a difference in someone else’s life. Because of you, they can gain a new skill, learn a new competency, or even be directed toward their dream position and ultimately live a fulfilling work life. You have the opportunity to “be” the difference in each and every employee who calls you their boss. So, it’s important that you get the right perspective on your position, and learn what great leaders/managers say and do to create great employees. A great leader says, as they work with their employees, “How can I make those around me more successful?” In fact, one of the very best questions you can ask yourself to evaluate why you are a leader, to discern what your motive is in carrying the title leader/manager/supervisor while you support, coach, direct, and lead the people under you is:
“Am I building people?
Or, am I building my dream
and using people to do it.”
Fred Smith of Federal Express
This question goes to the heart of why you are in this role, what your motivation is. In fact, when you correctly understand what your “Job Description” is, you will begin to understand that everyone you work with is hungry. Yes, that’s right. They’re hungry to be understood, to feel worthwhile, important, and ultimately in their own way, to be recognized as valuable . . . valuable to you and to the organization you both work for. And you know you’ve reached this level of leadership when instead of feeling like you’re going to throw-up when you’re reading or hearing something like this, that speaks to the soft side of business, – like I myself use to feel; instead, hearing this now resonates with you, motivating you to work toward finding out how you can genuinely meet the unspoken needs of those who are a part of your tribe, who call you boss.
MAKE THE SHIFT FROM 2010 IN A BIG WAY, WHILE IGNITING A FIRE IN YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS FOR THE NEW YEAR?
AS A BUSINESS LEADER, IT’S NOW TIME TO SET YOUR SIGHTS ON THE NEW YEAR! Don’t wait until January, it will be almost too late by then.
After December 15th, begin setting goals for the new year. If you have employees, facilitate creating them together. Then they will own them:
- Create the life and business you want to have by creating S.M.A.R.T. GOALS.
- Buy a business journal to write your goals in, as well as motivational moments you discover throughout the year.
- Send out cards to your clients, sharing with them a vision of the next year, and how they will benefit from your renewed vision. “I’m excited to begin this new program so that I can provide you with . . .”
- Create systems for staying in touch with your customers/clients, touching them at least 5 times throughout the year with; a postcard; birthday card; newsletter; special sale, etc.
- Design a “Vision Board” to display how you are designing your life to be in the future, putting pictures on it that show visually how life will look once you reach your designed goals: more time for family – bills paid off – a trip – new home – dream car – etc.
- Give yourself a boost, hire a professional organizer to ignite in you a fresh new perspectives, and concrete ideas for organizing your home, office, and computer systems. This will expedite your ability to work smarter, not harder this coming year!
- If you have employees, create incentives for each quarter of the year. Play a higher game as the leader this year by tailoring these incentives to their interests, style, dreams and desires.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish!” Larry Elde
The goal above is to cascade your dreams into a workable strategic plan that maps out, step by step, what it will take to reach and obtain each goal. The more you ingrain in your mind’s eye what and how life will be once you reach your goals, the more your automatic goal pilot system will take over and keep you on course.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Jimmy Dean
Leaders, You Can Create a Culture Where Employees Are Motivated!
When I’m asked to provide a “Motivational Training” for a company red flags appear in my mind. First off, you cannot motivate anyone, but you can create the kind of work culture where they tap into their own motivation, and more importantly, aren’t demotivated. Instead of adding something to your leadership or style, most often what is needed is to eliminate something, those road blocks and detours that suck the life and vision from employees. What you can do is set-up environments and training that engender success, where their personal “mojo” isn’t stamped out or suffocated. What do I mean by demotivators? Some examples are:
- Creating rules for the whole office, instead of approaching and correcting the one violator
- Playing favorites
- Expecting “group think” where everyone knows they must agree or be counted a covert.
- Undermining their ideas by adding small touches of your own to them.
These and more will bind up an employees vision and energy, but the greatest culprit is not understanding each employees natural motivators and demotivators.
For instance, Jason, a “High C” (according to DISC), is a quality control, analytical, creative, deep thinker type person; think of an engineer, or banker. He works best in a quiet, contemplative environment where he can process his thoughts and take into account all the facts before making decisions.
- He needs time to review, organize, calculate, process, and reflect on the cost of a particular decision before being forced to come to a conclusion.
- Consistency and stability connote peace and security, therefore allowing him to be at his best. Change and chaos deplete his energy and ability to work effectively. The kind of change I’m talking about is as simple as moving the office furniture, or changing a system of operation. Am I saying you can never do this? No, but there are ways to effectively prepare him to accept and adjust to change that will make it easier on him, not stealing his attention or motivation.
How can this information empower you as the leader?
It helps you help Jason by:
- Finding Jason a room or cubicle away from the hustle and bustle of the front desk, or lobby area.
- Placing him where he isn’t caught by the drama of the office, by being close to those who may ask uncomfortable questions of him, which is nearly anything personal.
- Minimizing unnecessary change.
- Valuing his view of quality control, while at the same time taking into consideration his concerns.
And lastly, providing a training on DISC so that colleagues understand and respect the differences in motivation and behavior so there is a collaborative effort and culture in the office instead of finger pointing, blame, estrangement, independence or negative competitiveness in the culture.
What this example depicts isn’t changing the person, but understanding and working with his natural bent so that you’re eliminating any obstacles that impose on his natural motivation. Something a superior manager/leader will take into account. By taking the time to understand and value the differences in your employees, you have the power to create a positive, even energized environment where they can then tap into their own motivation.
Your Coaching Action Plan:
- Discover your employees differences by either providing a training on DISC, or some kind of behavioral style system. Next, put it to work for you. You may have the knowledge of DISC, but it’s worthless without implementation.
- Next, take the time to learn what is demotivating each employee.
- Once you have this information, involve them in creating new or revised systems of operation, that will lend toward greater energy and better work habits.
Need assistance with any of the above, contact Sue to learn of the programs, trainings and materials she has to support you and all your efforts.
How to Make Absolutely Sure Your Employees Aren’t Harboring Any Ill Will That Would Eventually Cause Them to Quit
In numerous ways, and in different forms, ask your employees these two pivotal questions, to ensure they’re not harboring some form of ill will toward you or the company. And by all means, use appropriate body language and words that show you genuinely want to know! Ask:
1. What would keep you here, at this company, and in this position? and . . .
2. What would cause you to leave?
That’s it! Drill down until you’re sure you’ve got the real story. If you haven’t already had this conversation, don’t assume everything is “all right” just because they aren’t saying anything and you thought you covered this last year. Do you know what they’re thinking or feeling today? Do you, really? You’re always, and I mean unequivocally ALWAYS, the last one to know if there are offenses, frustrations, issues, or pervading problems. You have to inquire, with authentic interest and100% attention. If they feel safe, they’ll disclose the real deal, maybe. If they hesitate, you’re onto something. Don’t let them blow you off, or downplay their concern. Not sure if you’ll get the real scoop? Send someone to do the job, your Administrative Assistant, another manager someone who naturally displays good people skills, who people already confide it. Not sure who this is, just ask around, they exist. I find them in every organization I work with.
Your Coaching Connection: It’s simple, really, keep in touch with how your most appreciable asset in your business is, your employees, and you’ll be able to spend more time doing what you really love, while at the same time keeping the best of the best. Do it with your key players this week. I guarantee, you’ll find out all kinds of pertinent information that will be invaluable to you!
Whether you have 3 or 300 employees, some may be challenging to you and your staff by creating continual nightmare situations that are just driving you crazy! In fact, do they:
- Perform incompetently exhibiting immature behaviors?
- Expect greater compensation and benefits from you, without doing competent work?
- Act entitled?
- Have to appear in court, leaving work due to poor life decisions?
- Live in a continual state of crisis?
- Blow off work and deadlines?
- Come in late, leave early, and take long lunches thinking no one knows?
- Play around on facebook, myspace, second life, or text on company time?
- Create a culture of grumbling, discontent, and back-stabbing?
- Steal from you literally, or in time spent dawdling around?
- Make excuses, blaming others for their problems and mistakes, blame-shifting?
- Refuse to upgrade their skills to meet minimum requirements for the job?
Then Simon would say “You’ve put up with this?” You do know you don’t have to, unless you’re caught in a position, such as a government job where you’re given the position without the authority to enforce anything. I want you to know, you can hire good people, even good minimum wage employees! That is, if you will put the time in up front to:
- Have a thorough system for screening people in place BEFORE you hire anyone
- Work from a detailed “Job Description” for the position. Including a thorough list of key competencies/requirements and skills needed for the position. This must be spelled out, along with the necessary behavioral style traits, personality, that will fit the position, all created and refined before seeking the perfect candidate.
- Follow up on the recommendations they provide before they are hired
- Listen carefully to anyone who has any working knowledge of them
- Do a thorough back ground check – this will tell you a lot
- Put them through appropriate testing to verify their claims
- Become aware of current interviewing/hiring laws, and then follow them
And Most IMPORTANTLY don’t forget to:
- Institute a 90 day probation period wherein YOU LET THEM GO, if you feel they aren’t:
WILLING to do what’s needed
TEACHABLE – willing to learn new things
or DON’T FIT IN with the culture of your office
During the probation period be sure to deal with things the FIRST time they appear, or you will be sabotaging your business and demoralizing your staff. You must conquer the temptation to overlook small things. Remember, the 90 days are the honeymoon. If this is their best behavior, and it’s questionable, I guarantee you’re in trouble?
I know a of a blue collar business owner that I’ve done work with, who shared with me that he may go through six to eight people to find the right match for the position. TIP: Be quick to move on, listen to your gut, and you can create the work environment that draws and keeps optimal candidates for your company.
YOUR COACHING CORNER: Become a strong, confident eader/manager by taking inventory and re-tooling your hiring practices. Be sure you have in place the processes mentioned above, while survey your employees to see if your hiring practices meet the needs of your company culture. You can do it, everyone will appreciate you if you tighten the reigns in the beginning of the hiring process, taking all variables into account
AT THIS STAGE YOU ARE TOGETHER ACCOMPLISHING GREAT THINGS!
- Once you delegate you must stay in close contact with those who have taken over key responsibilities, continuing the relationship and mentoring process.
- At stage two the people you are mentoring love you. At stage four, this stage, they admire you as their leader. In the next stage, stage four, they are LOYAL to you. Keep going, it’s worth it.!
- You continue to demonstrate sustained self-discipline along with a positive attitude.
- You have learned to stay the course in spite of challenges, set-backs, and disappointments. You’ve learned to resolve problems by displaying the “bounce back” factor, by not taking things or conflict personally by blame shifting, or ignoring problems all together.
- You take responsibility for any and all mistakes that occur, resolving them in a timely manner.
- Your confidence is growing daily.
- Work has become enjoyable, and people, your employees have finally seen your potential and truly love to be around you as their leader. Be careful! Don’t let this go to your head. If you do, you’re in for a big fall and a rude awakening!
“Leadership is developed, not discovered. The truly “born leader” will always emerge; but to stay on top, natural leadership characteristics must be developed.“ John Maxwell