Category Archives: Personal Development
Many of the successful training programs follow this general pattern for building job proficiency:
- Why Do
- How Do
- I Do
- We Do
- You Do
While this is a great way to transfer knowledge to others, there seems to be another application in which a leader can use this model.
What if a leader uses this to understand what their employees go through in order to better understand their jobs and roles?
Leaders can sometimes get removed from the nuances of their staff’s job functions, which often results in decisions that negatively impact various employees. If a leader better understood how a certain role functions, and what the challenges are to complete those job tasks regularly, then better team development and decision making would certainly evolve.
Let’s take this model and run it through:
- Find out why employees do the various steps of the job task. Do they know why, and have a competency beyond “just because”? Also, why do employees do what they do? Is there a reason they don’t perform a certain step such as technical issues, expediency, or failed procedures and systems?
- When you discover how certain roles perform certain tasks, you can better discover areas of productivity, talent, and skills that lend themselves to that task. Someone may do a process that works great for them, and not outside of procedural norms, that might save time, money, or injury risk. In addition, you may find better ways to train and garner increased efficiency in those areas. Plus, you’ll also be better versed in the ways your employees apply skills, training, and barriers to get their jobs accomplished.
- This means yourself. Immerse yourself into understanding what your team members contend with on a regular basis. Ask questions and make sure you fully understand to bridge the gap between oversight and competency yourself.
- If at all possible (and it always is) work alongside your people to see what they do in action. Don a hard hat or smock and see and feel how they do their specific tasks. Have them show you and let them feel good about giving you insight into their world. Spend time with other employees to ensure you know the full scope of what the entire team needs to execute their jobs.
- Now that you’re fully conversant in your people’s work tasks, it’s totally up to you going forward. It’s incumbent upon you as a leader to make sure any decision (work process, policy change, etc) does not negatively impact the staff. If anything, your knowledge should help steer their jobs to increased engagement, competency and – more importantly – better customer service, as they most likely have higher touchpoints with your customers.
If a leader can use this to understand their teams jobs better, think about the possibilities of using this to investigate employee performance issues, policy compliance, or other concerns within the organization. It prevents rushing to judgement, have others make decisions that can adversely impact team morale and/or performance, and maybe will prevent managing out an employee who has no other input and just needs to have their concerns seen firsthand.
Train yourself to follow the same model you develop your staff in order to be a better leader yourself.
As people we need a myriad of things in which to live and grow:
- Proper Temperature
And within these items we have multiple needs within them. Take foods for example, we need a balance of food to get the correct nutrients in our bodies to facilitate growth and health.
In our quest to grow as leaders, we often look to grow from a variety of sources: books, podcasts, networking, seminars … the list goes on.
Now think of the things you use to grow as a leader. How many of those resources that you consume are made from the things that you like?
Now consider the things that you don’t like, and ask yourself this:
Can you, or will you, seek them to learn from those you don’t think you can teach you anything?
Take for instance the teen that doesn’t like broccoli or avocado or fish. They are missing some vital nutrients that are still beneficial. Even if they don’t like it, they can still benefit from it.
So if we apply this to our leadership development, we can virtually always benefit on those things we don’t like, or don’t think are good for us. We just need to be willing to try, willing to see, willing to hear.
The story goes of how Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart and his team toured some of their competitor’s stores. These stores were poor in their merchandising, assortment, and their execution. The team tried to get Walton to leave, saying that there was nothing they could learn from. Walton then spotted something and stopped to point it out to his colleagues. Excited, he exclaimed “Hey, why aren’t we doing that?!” and just then, what looked like a waste of time became a key component of the burgeoning company’s retail execution.
I often read books from people whose philosophy on leadership (and life) are not in line with my core values. Sometimes I’ll plug into a podcast from someone who is prideful and coarse but know that I’m going to receive a gem of wisdom from them.
My most profound leadership lesson learned was from a teenager whom was shortly fired for theft when I was a young manager. While his job performance would normally lend one to believe that one could never learn anything from him, his profound statement by his father has stayed with me for many years, still to this day.
Learn from whatever sources you can but keep this vital thought in mind at all times:
Don’t discount the information just because the sources is not what you agree or are comfortable with.
That goes not only for the author, speaker, or presenter, but also the format, the background, and the belief system or core values that generates those ideas.
With an open mind to be able to listen and learn something positive from anyone – even those in direct opposition or viewpoint to you – you can gain an advantage of learning and growing that you otherwise might have shut out due to our preconceived notions.
Keep your eyes, ears, mind and heart open and keep learning and growing.
One of the most tremendous truths about being human is how our thoughts, feelings, and desires interconnect.
Through our internal connectedness of mind, body, and soul, we can harness greatness within ourselves and develop each aspect to become stronger and more in tune with the other aspects.
Yet our humanness comes with a flaw, in that we can get our feelings out of proportion to rational thinking. When that occurs, we are governed by only one part of us which, if not checked and balanced with the rest of our being, can lead us and others astray.
Feelings are great for motivation, inspiration, and drive. But many people that live solely off of motivational seminars find themselves flat when they try to be in touch with their feelings much to the exclusion of their thoughts.
This can also be true of those who spend time in fear or worry and let those emotions override their actions. Too many times leaders are led by their feelings, and not their minds.
That is where leaders need to consciously and consistently track their thoughts, and not just their feelings.
REAL LIFE SCENARIOS BASED ON LEADING BY FEELINGS
- A senior executive afraid of unfounded circumstances that calls meetings to solve problems that don’t exist
- A new department manager who is agitated that things are done a differing way than what they’ve done in other companies
- A shift supervisor who is worried that certain company actions mean they will be laid off
- An employee who doubts the sincerity of leadership even though there is open and clear communication
In each of the scenarios, the following feeling-statements took over rational thinking…
- “I feel…”
- “We’re afraid…”
- “We suspect…”
- “I can’t believe…”
- “You don’t see…”
These feelings, without being run through the proper process of thought and facts, can cause wrong actions, disengagement, and toxic culture to manifest. What is needed to happen with each feeling is to manage the feeling-statements through thinking-statements such as the following…
- “This shows…”
- “We know that…”
- “The studies reveal…”
- “Our culture supports…”
- “The reality is…”
- “I have found…”
When you or a colleague start to descend into making decisions driven by irrational feelings, it’s best to practice this two-prong approach as a standard action:
STOP & THINK
By stopping how we feel long enough to think through our emotions and process the facts at hand, one can find a balance between gut feelings, emotions, sound process, and being rational. We can bring our feelings into their proper place, and then use the right feelings to propel our plan of action.
As leaders, we should be in touch with our feelings – and those of our people – but be governed by sound thinking on what we always know to be right. When our emotions take us away from what we know to be true and correct, we fail to utilize our entire selves in our influence.
Fear has its place when it spurs us away from complacency. Excitement is right when it opens the doors to goals and innovation. Our feelings have their place when they intertwine with right thinking to create a stronger rope which we can give our teams to help us pull together.
Be led by right thinking. Infuse people with the right feelings. Help you and your teams stop and think throughout their day.
(images: dynamikhgynaika.gr, anaman.net)
(this post originally appeared in Lead Change Group)