Thursday, September 23, 2010

Walk That Talk

In the past, I’ve known so many supervisors and managers that talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. Good leadership means that you “walk the talk”. Leading is sometimes like raising children – sometimes there’s really not much difference at all. If you’re going to say “do as I say”, you also have to “do as you say”. That goes for any situation. You, as a leader, are on stage . . . the star of the show. You’re being watched more than you realize. In some cases, some may even call it stalking.

Over the past number of years, leaders have been getting more into the “employees are important to me” frame of mind. That’s a good thing. But at the same time, if you tell your staff, “if you are ill, stay home”, you can’t take things away from them or give them bad appraisal marks if the do (unless it’s obviously being taken advantage of).

If you keep telling your staff that they’re doing a good job when they’re not – that’s your fault. You can’t take things away from them or give them bad appraisal marks.

If you give your staff a survey to find out what’s on their minds or what problems or issues they have, then never do anything with the information, youuu might be a redneck. Oops, sorry - actually they’ll lose confidence in you and your abilities to effect change.

If you reap praise on your staff, as you should, but then take all the credit when it comes to your bosses – they’ll lose confidence and acceptance in you.

Are you seeing some kind of trend here?

Leadership Rule #1 – You’re the Leader – You’re being watched – You must be the example – You must set the bar – You must do as you say.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's All About ME

Rufus Wainwright said,“Everything I do, I feel is genius. Whether it is or it isn't.” Ahhh, arrogance.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines arrogance as: “An attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.”

Let me see. Does that definition fit anybody we know? Just a hunch, but I’ll bet you could apply that definition to a lot of people occupying leadership positions.

Some have been given their leadership roles too quickly and therefore pick up a degree or two (or three) of arrogance along the way. Unfortunately, the people around them end up suffering for it.

Arrogance causes natural confidence to disintegrate while the person primarily serves themselves. The real sad part is that the arrogant assumes his views and opinions are the truth. He sees no weakness in himself and may even secretly rejoice in finding flaws in others. Team cohesiveness quickly goes down the drain.

You DON'T have to put up with arrogance. Give the arrogant the benefit of the doubt - consider confronting him after he's displayed inappropriate behavior. Explain how you interpreted the behavior and let him know you're trying to help him and the team.

Many people quickly realize they were perceived negatively and work to deal with their arrogance. Even if they're not completely successful in altering themselves, they're now at least aware of it and should be able to limit the behavior to some degree.

Sure, there'll be others that won’t get it . . . at all. You did the right thing though, by making them aware of how they're perceived and you may want to bring it up to him again at a later point. But give him some specifics on what he's doing and how it's impacting the team.

Bottom line - watch it! If it's your supervisor that's the arrogant one, subtly let him know. If it's you that's the arrogant one, listen to your peers and learn to change.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's Show Business

Whatever business you’re in . . . it’s show business. Everyone from the attraction cast to the costumed characters to the housekeepers in the hotels, Disney’s cast members know that they're part of a show designed to delight and entertain guests. Whenever they’re “onstage” (Disney-speak for any area where they might encounter guests) they have to keep their smiling, approachable, helpful demeanour. At Disney, every employee follows the same guidelines as a cast member on Main Street. Make eye contact. Smile. Never eat, drink, or smoke in guests’ presence. Disney executives will never step over a piece of trash: like any cast member, they’re expected to help keep the park clean.

Does any of this make any sense at all to you? It really should. Whatever business YOU'RE in . . . it's show business. Any time your employee's interact with or can be seen by customers, they're onstage.

Exceeding your customers' expectations means maintaining professionalism, cleanliness and friendliness beyond what's already expected, and giving “that something extra". You have to show that you'll go the extra mile to make customers (guests) happy, even if that means you open the doors 10 minutes early or close 20 minutes late. If you can satisfy your customers (guests) with their experience, they'll come back. And if that means it costs a few extra dollars, that great service will overcome all else.

Disney cast members are taught to take the extra step - just like your own employee's should. No matter what role they play, the goal is happiness and exceptional service. No one should EVER have to hear the words "It's not my job" from ANY of your employees. Employees should always be onstage and exceptional service should always be the norm.