Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No One's Perfect

If you’re trying to be the perfect, complete leader – STOP. You’ll just wear yourself down. No one is perfect. No one’s got it all. You can still be a great leader though without knowing all the answers. That’s why you have a team of managers and supervisors.

In an article by John C. Maxwell in Success magazine, he says, “incomplete leaders differ from incompetent leaders in that they understand what they’re good at and what they’re not good at. And they have good judgment about how they can work with others to build on their strengths and offset their limitations”. No one’s perfect.

Use your resources. That includes people. Everyone who works for (with) you has some type of area of expertise. Part of your job, as the leader, consists of finding out what those areas are. They have the answers to your questions. There’s no need in reinventing the wheel. It already exists.

You and your entire team work off of the same mission and vision. Do you know what they say? Does your staff? The mission and vision puts you all on the same path to success. Use them in conjunction with your teams knowledge and you’ll be headed toward the top. Remember my brainstorming blog (Sep 29, 2009)? This is the perfect opportunity to put the two together. Get everyone involved. The more answers and ideas you have, the more decisions can be made and the more new products, services, and success you'll have.

You don't always have to have every answer. No one's perfect. But you can still be grrrrreat. (sorry, had to)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Your employee’s can only do their jobs if they have the correct tools and knowledge. Without them, you’re setting them up for failure. Here are four points to remember in helping your employee's

Knowledge – Your staff must know what’s expected of them. No one can improve and no one can get a fair performance review unless they know what to do. They need a job description and ongoing coaching to fulfill their requirements. Roles are constantly changing. You have to keep them up-to-date.

Materials and Equipment – Work cannot be performed properly, even with the appropriate knowledge, unless staff have the proper equipment. That means working properly, in-date, clean, up-to-date, appropriate amounts, etc. Without it, well, they just CAN’T properly function.
Recognition – If you’re not providing constant recognition and kudos, then YOU are part of the lack of motivation problem. You, as their supervisor, should be out there every day showing that you care about them, what they’re doing, and how they’re doing it.

Develop – You must continuously encourage further development in your staff. Not just their every day procedural training. Help them get into some seminars (http://www.nationalseminarstraining.com/index.html, http://www.amanet.org/individualsolutions/seminars.aspx?SelectedSolutionType=Seminars), join an association, let them teach a class at a staff meeting.

Some organizations like to hand off all or some of these four points to departments, most commonly to HR. They may be able to act as a coordinator on the ground floor level, but it’s up to YOU, as the employee’s supervisor, to see that it gets done. And by “done”, I mean it’s being carried out. This is not a four point check-off list that you go, “check, check, check, check, done”. You must constantly and consistently ensure that all of your employee’s are covered.

Realize that the success of your employee’s directly impacts the success of YOU!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Pen Is Mightier Than . . .

There are a wide variety of communication tools these days. No matter how convenient any of them may be, you cannot skimp on the necessities. Being able to write well in business is a requirement. You need to write concisely and be able to make a clear point.

First off, think about what it is you want to achieve with your memo or email. What’s the point? Who exactly is your audience? What do you want the reader to do as a result?

Organize your thoughts BEFORE you start writing. Jot down a few notes or a short outline. This will make the writing go a lot quicker for you.

Write the same way that you speak. The best writing most closely resembles normal, everyday speech. If it’s too formal, it becomes harder to understand. But watch out - that doesn’t mean to throw in a bunch of slang like “ain’t”, “gonna”, etc. That’s a bit too loose.

Be brief and concise. Make your point, support it and move on. This is not a time for a bunch of fluff (there’s never a time for a bunch of fluff). You’re not impressing anyone with it.

Write and re-write. It’s really not often that we get it absolutely right the first time. Write your memo, re-read it, let it sit, and re-read it again. Especially if it’s a critical piece. Don’t send something out when there’s a possibility that it might come back to haunt you. Get it right the first time.

BE POSITIVE, even if you’re conveying bad news. No one likes to read negative memos, so it will sound much worse than it actually is to the recipient. Negative writing often back fires on the writer by reflecting poorly on him and in return, loosing the message for the recipient.

Like so many other things – treat everyone as me – write your memos and emails to mimic what you would want to read. Ask yourself what types of statements would offend YOU being on the other end of the communication.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Resistance is Futile

Most people don't like change because they don't like being changed. When change comes into view, fear and resistance to change follow – often despite its obvious benefits. People fight against change because they don't understand the change and its implications or they find it difficult to cope with either the level or pace.

If you think that you can stop change, you’re fooling yourself. You may as well try standing in the path of a hurricane to make it change its course (no thanks). The sooner you realize that the world – yes, even your world – will change whether you like it or not, the better. Then you can concentrate your efforts on taking actions that make a positive difference in your organization. You must discover how to adapt to change and use it to your advantage rather than fight it.

Face it – it’s going to happen. I’ve never worked in any organization that didn’t’ have change. It’s a requirement for improvement. Remember that favorite saying, “We’ve always done it this way.”? Argghh. Take that statement out of your vocabulary and from everyone in the organization!

Instead of reacting to changes after the fact, you need to proactively anticipate the changes that are coming your way and make plans to address them BEFORE they hit you. Ignoring the need to change doesn’t make that need go away. The best leaders are positive and forward looking, AND they also communicate.

Leaders armed with a complete understanding of the need for change and knowing the type of change required can best communicate with employees. Open discussion of change is the best tool in reducing the resistance to change. Get employees on board by projecting positive and strong discussions. Show the fiercest resisters what’s in it for them. Appeal to them either in terms of personal gain (status, salary bonus, recognition, etc) or avoided loss (financial or job).
Rumors, if allowed to run rampant, are extremely harmful. Keep everyone updated on the most recent decisions. This will make employees feel that they’re a part of the process. With healthy communication, employees are more apt to remain with the company - and often develop an even deeper bond during a time of change. That’s exactly what you need.