How to hire, train, and maintain an hourly workforce

Archive for the category “Leadership qualities”

Great Doesn’t Happen By Accident… Indoctrination

Navy seals What Does It Take To Build And Develop A Truly Great Team?  Part 4 of a series… So here we are in part 4 of this synopsis of my 70 or so post series, walking through hiring the best hourly team members, indoctrinating them onto our team, choosing the right apprentices, and changing the culture of our team from the one that allowed us to be average to one that will not allow average people to remain on the team.  The original posts can be found here starting with hiring… We’ve talked about the importance of hiring for qualities rather than skills (remember, we are hiring hourly team members, from no experience/entry level to Store Team Leaders) since we can train almost anyone pretty much any skills that might be needed, however we cannot teach qualities…   Qualities are the things that make our best people “clone worthy”. We’ve also talked about using the “ketchup question” when hiring for customer service, and the need to determine the default customer service level of your applicant. If you haven’t already, you can read part 1part 2, and part 3. So… we’ve interviewed our applicant by making them comfortable, and getting to know them through an in depth conversation, where we asked questions to find the behaviors that describe the Leadership qualities we are hiring for. And, we’ve decided to hire the person siting in front of us. Now what?  Well… In order to build a truly great team, we cannot allow our great new hire to simply adapt to the team as it stands.  We will simply end up with yet another mediocre team member. First step: Before I leave the room I will spend another 45 to 60 minutes with my new hire.  Yup… another hour to make sure that I get them off on the right foot invested now will pay off in more ways than you will believe. Remember, great does not happen by accident.  We are not satisfied with the standards of behavior, or the culture of our current team (if you are, good for you!  Keep up the great work!), and it is going to take hard work and tough decisions in order to affect the change that needs to happen.  You can do this, and you need to start today… right here and right now. You will invest the time and energy to get this new hire fired up.  You need them to come onto your team with a full understanding of the new standards you will be holding the team to.  You need to indoctrinate them with your excitement about what the team is going to be like, how excited you are to have them on your team, the important role they will play in achieving the goals of the team, and how interested you are in helping them achieve their goals (you just got done talking to them for an hour… you better be able to talk in depth about their goals!). Some people will state that they don’t like the word indoctrinate… and that’s OK.  You don’t have to use that word if it makes you feel uncomfortable.  And… Think of the best, strongest, and highest performing teams you can.  Perhaps the Navy Seals come to mind?  I grew up in the town that borders West Point… that comes to my mind (and where I hope our 17 year old will go)…  Now, do those teams welcome and train their newest team members?  Is there coffee, nice music playing in the background while we talk about how we like our team members to treat each other with the same respect you would like to be shown?   Not so much… What kind of process is it? I’ll give you a hint… it’s indoctrination.  Before anyone is brought onto the team they are told that it will be a difficult job, that it will be hard work, that you’re your teammates will be committed to excellence, and that you will be expected to uphold the highest standards of behavior and performance. I don’t believe that there is any way to maintain that level of performance without some form of indoctrination.  You don’t have to agree, and has what you’ve been doing gotten you a great team?  Is there a reason you can’t have a team that functions at an incredibly high level?  This process of hiring for qualities and indoctrinating every one of my new hires worked wonderfully for me, and that’s why I’m suggesting you take a chance and go for great! Whatever you choose to call it, if you want to achieve and maintain a very high level of performance, you will have to instill your new hire with the values and beliefs of your team.  Make sure they understand how much you value having them on the team, and that you are looking forward to them using their experience and knowledge to help the team improve everything it does. This is not something that you can delegate, nor can it be left to someone who does not even work on your team.  You, and only you (because you are the team Leader) can instill your new hires with your excitement about the future of the team, your passion for the success of the team, the rewards that come from achieving the goals of the team, and what the future can/will hold for your new hire.  If you feel you have found a great addition to the team, make sure they really understand how excited you are about having them on the team, and how they will be a key player in helping the team achieve it’s goals. If you do this right, your new hire will come in for his or her first day of work with more motivation that anyone currently on your team.  And as long as you continue to stay involved in their work and development, you can help them maintain that level of engagement. I believe that team member engagement is all about our relationship with the person to whom we report.  So you are starting to build that strong, trusting relationship the day you decide to hire them! Since we are transparent, we make sure our new hire understands that we are a team in transition. That means they might work with team members who are not upholding the expectations we just discussed, or acting in a manor consistent with the culture we described, and that does not mean it is OK for our new hire to do anything other than meet or exceed those expectations. We will explain that we are working on changing/improving the culture of the team, that we have some team members who may not be a good fit on this team, and that we are working hard to change their behavior of get then off the team. It is imperative that we are honest and transparent from our very first encounter with each and every great new hire.  We may not have always been as honest and transparent as we should have been in the past, and the only way to develop a truly great team is by making a commitment to honestly and transparency moving forward. I wrote a post about how and why I indoctrinate (you can read it here) and your indoctrination process should be personal, and fit your workplace.  I honed this process hiring and developing great teams for Whole Foods Market… a fast paced retail environment where standards are high and so are customer expectations.  You should indoctrinate your new hires with your ideals, your team’s values, and your hopes for their future.  Tell them everything you would want to hear if you had made it onto a team that had very high standards, and happy to have you join them. That’s probably long enough for today (too long by many standards), and I feel that too often posts and articles are too short to effectively help us really understand how to achieve the results talked about in the post.  So… I write until I feel I’ve said enough to actually help you.  I know this will mean some people won’t read them, and that’s OK. In part 5 we’ll talk about the next steps in building a great team, like the next steps in our new hire’s work life, moving those who are holding the team back off the team, and how to change the culture of our team.


Great Doesn’t Happen By Accident… Part 3

huge fossil shark tooth

What Does It Take To Build And Develop A Truly Great Team? Part 3 of a series…

So here we are in part 3 of this synopsis of my 70 or so post series, walking through hiring the best hourly team members, indoctrinating them onto our team, choosing the right apprentices, and changing the culture of our team from the one that allowed us to be average to one that will not allow average people to remain on the team. The original posts can be found here starting with hiring…

We’ve talked about the importance of hiring for qualities rather than skills (remember, we are hiring hourly team members, from no experience/entry-level to Store Team Leaders) since we can almost anyone pretty much any skills that might be needed, however we cannot teach qualities…   If you are interested you can read part 1 and part 2.

Back to it…

You will have to determine what, if any, qualities are particularly important in your workplace. As I stated in the earlier, I believe that teachability (the ability to hear feedback and change our behavior accordingly), some level of self-awareness, self-responsibility, honesty, and some level of emotional intelligence are perhaps the most important qualities when hiring hourly team members, and I will not hire anyone in which I can’t find some level of development.

Teachability because they will be coachable, and able to hear feedback.

Self-awareness because if we are not aware of our own character, desires, and everything else that is going on within us, we end up feeling that life happens to us, rather than seeing much of what happens as a consequence of our choices.

Self-responsibility because if we don’t own our actions and behaviors, we end up blaming everything and everyone else for our problems. This goes hand in hand with self-awareness.

Honesty because, well we don’t want to hire anyone who is not honest or lacks character. We need them to do the right thing even when no one is looking.

Emotional intelligence because I don’t believe we can develop honest, authentic relationships unless we know what we are feeling. If we are not aware of our feelings, we can end up driven by our feelings… out of control.

I’ve already mentioned that every applicant I hire has to have a default standard of customer service that is at least as high as my own, because it’s next to impossible to get someone to consistently uphold a higher level of customer service than the level they believe is the right level, at least without constant supervision, and who has the time for that?

As I described earlier, and starting here over 3 posts on my blog, I’ve identified behaviors that describe the qualities I am looking for. Then during my conversation with the applicant, I concentrate on finding those behaviors. I’m sure you can come up with many more behaviors than the ones I listed… and then you just have to get your applicant comfortable and talking all about themselves. You keep listening for the behaviors that describe the qualities you need.

For customer service, I ask one question, and one question only. It is the ‘ketchup question’, and I talk about it at length here. I may need to do a video of it, because after teaching scores of people how to ask it, I’ve found that the delivery is incredibly important. Once you get it down, it is the only question you need to make sure your hires have a very high level of customer service. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have about the ‘ketchup question’ or any of this.

So… since this is a synopsis, I’ll skip ahead to the point where we’ve decided to hire our applicant because they answered the ‘ketchup question’ the way we wanted, and we are satisfied that they have developed the qualities we are looking for enough so that we feel confident we can help them continue to work on their Leadership qualities.

Next step, indoctrination. Yup… next time in part 4.

Great Doesn’t Happen By Accident… It Takes A Carefully Planned And Ruthless Assault On “Good”

Assault on horseback

What Does It Take To Build And Develop A Truly Great Team? Part 2 of a series…

So here we are back with part 2 of this series. We are starting with hiring hourly team members, everyone from no experience/entry level to Store Team Leaders. When hiring for this level we are hiring almost exclusively for Leadership qualities. This is because those qualities are the things that make people clone worthy, as opposed to skills. We can easily train for pretty much any skills needed, however we cannot train qualities. So let’s continue…

Before we get too far, we should talk for a minute about the actual interview. I’ve seen it happen enough times that want to state very clearly that the interview process is no place for us to ‘exert our authority’, make sure ‘they know who is in charge’, or work to make the applicant uncomfortable to see how they react. If you are doing these things you are doing it wrong, at least if you want to call yourself a Leader by any stretch of the imagination. Interviewing with this attitude is pretty much guaranteed to give you mediocre workers who will do what they are told to do, and little more. Mkay?

Hiring for qualities is a bit different from hiring for skills, as at least in my experience, the best way to determine what Leadership qualities our applicant has been developing is through conversation, rather than simply questions and answers… I find “tell me about a time…” much less useful than getting my applicant comfortable enough to tell me all about the things in her life that she is proud of, where she puts her energy, what kinds of things frustrate her, and what gets her into a ‘flow’ state, to name just a few. I believe that we all have Leadership qualities within us to one degree or another. The key is finding the people who have been developing these qualities throughout their lives.

I know that a large percentage of our applicants have been interviewed many times now, so a good number of them know just what we want to hear. If they are smart they probably have already thought about how to answer many of the questions they have heard before. This is another reason why I prefer the conversational approach… it doesn’t allow the applicants to stick with their ‘script’ or preformed answers.

I believe the best way to find Leadership qualities in others is to determine whether or not they show the behaviors that describe those qualities. Qualities, by their very nature can be difficult to pin down, however I think we could easily come up with a list of behaviors that describe each quality or trait. Read more about behaviors that describe Leadership qualities starting here.

For instance, I believe that the ability to hear and respond to feedback is on of the most important qualities a new hourly team member can have… In my experience it is perhaps the best indicator of future success, maybe because it means they are trainable, coachable, and humble. So… how will we determine whether or not our applicant has this quality?

I try to get them to tell me all about their experience of school, trying to get into college/grad school, involvement in sports, or any other way they may have received feedback. I don’t ask specific enough questions to allow them to fall back on any prepared answers. Since no one else ever asked them what they thought about their performance in that pick up game last weekend, how they responded to the feedback they got from their high school football coach, or the grade they got in that college class when they thought they deserved better, I generally get honest answers.

Any instance in our lives when we get feedback is fair game. What makes you think you are a good driver? On what do you base that opinion? Do you follow the advice of the personal trainer at the gym, or do you think you know better? What have you learned in your personal relationships? I can easily give many examples of when I have hurt the feelings of people in my life, and how I reacted to that feedback. Is that their problem? What’s my responsibility, if any? These are all roads that out applicant has never been down in an interview, so we are likely to have an honest and genuine conversation.

I know you are all screaming at me… how about feedback from another job? Of course this is appropriate, and can be very useful. However, remember that our applicant has been asked about this many times already, so again, if they are smart they have learned what to say about feedback from work. I also feel that my personal experience has some bearing here. I’ve worked for, and with, some really poor bosses, and at work places where honest feedback was not the rule. There are a lot of people out there who have been forced into the bottom, middle, or top third simply because that’s the way the company did things, so bosses had to come up with some reasons for assigning a person to this rung. Because of the way this is set up, the feedback that many people get at work is often not honest feedback, with the intention of helping that person learn and grow. If it happened to me, it happened to a lot of other people, so I feel we have to take feedback from past jobs with a grain of salt.

What about another quality before we call it a day? How about self-responsibility? Since we are already involved in a friendly, casual conversation with our applicant, we probably already have some example of something that didn’t go as planned. So we just need to find out a little more about the outcome… who was at fault? Did our applicant have any part to play? What about that feedback you got from your guidance counselor/coach/parents/friends/boss? What did you learn from that? How were you responsible for what happened?

Have you been late for work or some other appointment? What happened? I need to hear the applicant take responsibility… yes the train was late… not your fault. And… what, if anything did you do? Did you start taking an earlier train since we know trains will be late? Did you find alternatives, like friends you can call when the train is late? These are simple examples of self-responsible behaviors.

To spell it out, I need to hear that our applicant, at least at some point recently, heard feedback and understood that the other person’s experience of them is that person’s reality.   To be coachable, the applicant needs to have changed their behavior in response to that feedback. For self-responsibility, I need to believe that our applicant takes responsibility for the things that happen in their lives; that their choices determine what happens (not everything that happens of course) and that they are responsible for the choices they make. If I don’t hear these things, I’ll thank them for coming in and move onto my next applicant.

Self responsibility, teachability, honesty, some level of emotional intelligence, some level of self awareness, and feeling that quality work is it’s own reward are some of my make or break qualities. If I do not believe that my applicant is developing these qualities I will not hire them, no matter how skilled they might be. Remember, this is just a quick synopsis… you can find my whole 16 part series on hiring, with a lot more detail, starting here.

Wow… this takes so long to discuss doesn’t it? That has to be long enough (probably too long many will tell me) for today, and we’ll pick up next time with what to do once we decide to hire the person sitting in front of us. No… if we want great we cannot simply shake their hand and send them off to have another person take over. We need to indoctrinate them. Yes… I understand that many of you don’t like that word, and all of its connotations.   And… I don’t believe that we can get ‘great’ by using the same process (welcoming and training, the same onboarding that gave you the average team you have) you’ve been using. Great doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a planned assault on Good. Hey, that’s catchy… maybe I’ll use that for todays title huh?

Dealing with Conflict…

This is a great, concise description of how to deal with conflict resolution, as well as it’s importance in Leadership. Well worth reading…

Dealing with Conflict…

How Successful Leaders Build Teams That Thrive

I really enjoy both what Tanveer Naseer has to say, and the way in which he says it.  I think his posts are well written, and give us useful information to make us better Leaders.  I have not done this with anyone else, and if you are going to follow any blogs, his should be one of them.

How Successful Leaders Build Teams That Thrive

Why You Should Hire For What Can’t Be Trained

Train track making connections

Every company has systems set up for training. We have modules, packets, guides, and perhaps even ‘how to train the trainer’ training sessions.

And I’m going to bet the majority of those are for training “soft skills”. Perhaps a quarter to half of them are task based, and with the rest you are attempting to train qualities.  The problem is qualities can only be learned when we are  ready to learn, and when we need to learn that particular quality.  We learn these from experience.

Seriously… take a quick look at the list of trainings you have spent time and money on in the past. How many skills or tasks are on the list? And how many qualities does it include? If you are attempting to train qualities you are wasting your time and money.  Why you ask?  Well…

Does anyone really believe that Trust can be taught during a one or two-day training session? Trust is something that must be learned through life experience, through challenging and changing the way we see the world and how we fit in it. How would you even begin to train someone to extend trust?

You could tell them why they should, and if they do not see the world as a safe place, they will not be able to extend trust. You can describe how to extend trust, and tell them the benefits of extending trust, and if they don’t already have self-confidence and courage they will not be able to extend trust. We simply cannot do what we don’t have the tools to do.

Does anyone reading this believe that they can spend a couple of hours, or even days with someone, and leave them with the ability and desire to develop honest, trusting, strong relationships? This again comes to us from life experience… the desire as well as the ability to be honest and open with other people is either within us today, or it is not. If it is not, no one can put it there. Every person must do his or her own personal work, and with luck, come to the point where we feel that we are enough just the way we are, truly love ourselves, and genuinely care about others. Only then can we really open up to others, and build the kind of trusting relationships it takes to be a Leader.

Which of us can teach passion? You, over there… can you teach someone how to be charismatic? You may be able to teach them the definition of the word, and perhaps how we think charismatic people act… and I don’t believe that any of us can teach a quality that comes from within.

What about Vision? Teachability? Servanthood? Emotional Intelligence?

Self-responsibility? Collaboration? Self-discipline? Compassion? Humility?

Can any of these be taught? How about just caring about other people?  Can you train that?

So far we have only talked about some of the qualities of a Leader, but what about some of the qualities that we look for in good team players? What about Solution oriented? Can any of us teach another to be Dependable? We can tell them what we mean when we say that word, however the desire to be dependable comes from within. Can you really train someone to communicate openly and honestly? How about to be an active listener? I’m sure you can tell them what you mean, however none of us can give someone the interest, or make them care enough to listen to understand.

This is why LinkedIn and the internet is filled with blog posts and articles reminding us again and again of how Leaders should act. If we could easily learn these qualities we would have it all down by now. I believe that you can name any quality you desire, and find it impossible to train.

However we can train pretty much anything else to almost anyone you can name.   You send me the next person you see, and I can train them to be competent in any task associated with running a grocery store. Many of you could do the same in your area of experience. We can train tasks easily to anyone, and yet we hire for tasks and attempt to train for qualities.

So… why do we continue to spend so much money attempting to train these qualities to everyone, from our Leaders to our hourly team members? Hmmm…

Think about what makes people successful… is it IQ? Is it because they have a PhD? Is it because they know the most about the product/department/what ever you name? No… the most successful people are the ones who know how to build trust and relationships. Yes… you need machinists, chemists, web designers, programmers, etc… and imagine if all of them had the same qualifications AND were able to extend trust, develop strong relationships, were servant leaders, with focus, passion and self-responsibility… what would your workplace look like? What could you achieve?

To this end, team Leaders should be able to do their own hiring, and I’ll tell you why. Hiring for qualities is not easy. Even when trained and experienced, it can still be difficult to be sure of hiring the right people… we all make mistakes. To reduce the probability of mistakes, those doing the hiring must be connected to the outcome. That is, if I hire for my team, I am responsible for the success or failure of that person. As a Leader, it is my job to see that they are successful… if they fail it is my failing.

What are the benefits of team Leaders hiring their own?

  • If the team Leader can do their own hiring they are invested in the success of the team member.
  • Team Leaders can indoctrinate (onboard if you prefer) team members better than anyone else… no one other than the team Leader can impress, indoctrinate, and provide that all important initial guidance and expectations.
  • Team Leaders can start building relationships with their team members the day they make the decision to hire them.
  • No one knows the needs of the team like the team Leader.
  • No one has a more intimate knowledge of what actions describe these qualities than team Leaders.
  • It takes an intimate knowledge of these actions to ask the right questions in order to identify these qualities.

This is why it’s better if team Leaders are trained to hire for qualities, and then allowed to hire for their own teams. Anyone and everyone who is involved in hiring needs to be untrained, and then retrained in the ways of the force… no wait… how to hire for qualities instead of skills. At least that’s my experience… a bit of a rant, I know…

Oh… and if you like my blog, please ‘like’ my Facebook page. The button is just up there at the top right. I dare you to click it!

Developing Your Future Leaders Part 7… Even More Traits That Describe Leadership

Even More Traits That Describe Leadership

Problem solving: defined as finding solutions to overcome obstacles, to find a way around, or through difficulties. Again, I think that this is one of the easier qualities for us to recognize in our team members. We usually hear about it after the problem has been solved, when a team member explains how they achieved the outcome. It may be after we ask why it was late, or in a form we didn’t expect. You may find that many of your team members were affected by some unexpected event. At best, the work of some was delayed, and at worst the work of others stopped. Then you will likely have one or two who found a way to continue working and get done on time. These are the people you want by your side.

The people who are good problem solvers will have varied backgrounds, they will have connections outside of the department, and they will be open-minded. These people will have read and be familiar with any training materials they received, and they will know more about the machinery/systems/materials you use than most other team members. Sometimes they will come to you to ask if they can skip steps; add steps; change the order; or alter a process… if at all possible your answer should be ‘yes, of course… let me know how it’s going’. These are the people who will help your business grow.

Relationship building: defined as the ability to identify and initiate working relationships, ability to find and maintain a mutual understanding. In your team members, you will have a few who seem to know, and be known by an unusually large number of their coworkers. Alternatively, it may not be that large a number, and they will have developed connections to people outside of their normal work group. Most people, if asked, will have a high regard for team members with this quality, and they will find them trustworthy.

The people you want will not be involved in gossiping, so you will not usually find them in the normal gossip group. These people will probably have a positive attitude, and they will usually be wearing a smile. In fact, they will probably have spent at least a little time attempting to develop a relationship with you. They will be the ones who ask if you have kids, where you grew up, and what’s the next move for you… not necessarily all work related stuff… they will be the ones who want to get to know you. In my opinion, as well as in my experience, relationship building and Trust are really what Leadership is all about. I don’t believe that one can call themselves Leaders if they cannot trust and/or are not able to build relationships. If you find these two qualities in any of your team members, find the time to take them under your wing and help them develop their strengths.

Self-confidence/self-esteem: defined as a feeling of trust in ones own abilities, a realistic view of ones own ability and power. Hmmm… this one can throw some of us off. I don’t believe that people will follow anyone who is not confident in their abilities, judgment, and qualities. And at the same time we all know a number of people with inflated egos, who believe that they are God’s gift to everything.

I don’t think it’s very difficult to weed out those people in our search for Leadership qualities in our team members. However, some of us may not be as confident in ourselves as we would like. So it can be easy for us to feel that someone with an appropriate level of self-confidence is showing conceit, and an excessive sense of their worth. This is something that only you can see and evaluate. Each of us must be honest with ourselves, listen to how we judge ourselves, assess our own self-talk, and make a determination about our own self-confidence. Only then can we safely and honestly judge the self-confidence of those around us.

Now… we still have to identify actions that describe the quality of self-confidence, don’t we? Self-confident people are less influence by their peers, and tend to make better decisions. They will not be jumping into the spotlight, or bragging. We will often see self-confidence and self-responsibility together in the same people. These people will not go with the flow if it is negative, divisive, or works against their own goals. In fact, they will often be the ones taking a stand against the grain of the rest of the team, only because they are not afraid to be wrong. They will be the ones who don’t need much assistance, however when they do they will not hesitate to ask for help. They will be the team members who admit their mistakes, and if they joke it will be at their own expense.

Self-discipline: defined as the ability to do what one thinks is right, control of oneself and one’s conduct. Or… doing what you don’t want to do now, so later you can do what you want to do. People who are disciplined will have their own goals, and will not be wasting time at work. They will not often be late, nor will they be likely to be hanging around after work. They will not make excuses for themselves, and will often be some of your hardest workers. They will stay on task, and follow through.

They will generally follow rules without having to be told twice. They will probably be very involved in some sport or activity after work. They will be the team members who show emotional intelligence. They are team members who do not take short cuts, at least without asking first.

Servanthood: defined as a person who performs duties for others, a person in the service of another. At work, servant Leadership is the desire to do for others… to help others achieve their goals, to help them grow as people, help them become healthier, wiser, and more autonomous. As for finding servanthood in our team members, we will be looking for the people who do for others before themselves. If there is a line for food or treats, look to the back of the line… not at those who are a little put off that they are at the back, but at those who look as though they chose to be there (and they just may have).

When in a group setting, you will look for those who make sure the needs of the other members of the group are met, and that everyone is heard. They may be heard making sure the group understands that any action they take should be for the greater good. Just as we find gold by looking for the rock with which it is often found, we can look to other qualities and be likely to find servanthood.   We should look for humility, authenticity, and empathy. These people will be long-term thinkers, and much less interested in anything short-term.   They will encourage their coworkers, and will often help others with issues outside of work.

Teachability: defined as able and willing to learn, capable of being taught. We might also say humility, and they are not exactly the same thing. The people who are teachable will be open to the ideas of others, and listen much more than they talk. They will admit it when they are wrong, and have no problem talking about what went wrong, as well as what to do differently next time. They will also freely ask questions, and ask for directions.

These people will take criticism with ease, and will be able to change their behavior quickly and with a smile. Doing what they are asked to do is no problem, and does not involve their ego.

So these are some of the ways in which we find Leadership qualities in our team members. After over 30 years of hiring and developing hourly team members, I have come to believe that pretty much every one of us has one or more of these qualities in varying degrees. As Leaders, our job is to seek and find these qualities in our team members; acknowledge and help develop them; and for hiring Leaders, hire for them.

Oh… and if you like my blog, please ‘like’ my Facebook page. The button is just up there at the top right. I dare you to click it!

Developing Your Future Leaders Part 6… More Traits that describe Leadership

More Traits that describe Leadership

Today we have part 2 of 3 for the list of traits that describe Leadership qualities. We will look to find these in our team members, and then know which team members have these Leadership qualities within them.  Then it’s our job to help them recognize and develop these qualities.  We help them find, develop, and play to their strengths for their good, and the good of the team and company.  So, let’s get at it.

Emotional intelligence:  defined as awareness, control, and expression of ones emotions, the ability to monitor ones own emotions.  This was not on John C. Maxwell’s list, and I think it’s important enough to add it.  These people are relatively easy to find.  And… this quality cannot be taught.  It only comes through personal work, so when you find someone with emotional intelligence, take the time to see what other Leadership qualities they have.  The people you are looking for will not hesitate to volunteer how they are feeling when communicating with others.  They are able to recognize their emotional state, and therefore are not controlled by their emotions.  People who experience emotional outbursts are not generally emotionally intelligent.  Emotionally intelligent people do get upset on occasion, and they will immediately know why.

These people will be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.  They are the ones who get along with just about everyone.  They will be empathetic, and so will be able to recognize the emotional state of others.  Money will not be the main motivating factor for these people, and they will generally be very self-aware.

Focus:  defined as concentrating on one thing, pay particular attention to.  At work, we are looking for people who stay on task.  They find ways to avoid interruptions and distractions.  They do not get involved with gossip, side conversations, or phone checking.  These are the people who are always done on time, or early, and who have time to help others.

These people plan ahead.  They keep their work area clean and organized.  They may take many short breaks, which can help our brains stay on topic.  People who are focused know that multi-tasking is not really possible… we cannot concentrate on two things at once.  So… they will work on one thing with all of their attention and energy, and then when needed, they will move all of their attention and energy to the next thing.  You may see them using notes, or checklists to keep themselves on task.

Generosity:  defined as the quality of being kind and giving, willingness to give.  At work, people who are generous will often put your agenda before their own, helping you look good instead of looking for credit for themselves.  They will be the ones who share credit with their coworkers, and also share information with them.  The people you are looking for will ask if you have time to talk, instead of demanding your attention when it suits them.  They will train and mentor other workers, even when they are not asked to do so.

Generous people will show gratitude when given something, including credit.  They will be literally generous when someone at work is collecting for charity, or someone in need.  They will be the ones who give of their time by offering to come in early or stay late when the need arises.  They will work cooperatively with other towards a common goal.  Generosity is a very difficult quality to teach, so if you find this in a team member with other Leadership qualities, help them find their way.

Initiative:  defined as the ability to follow through on a plan, the ability to assess and initiate things independently.  The people you are looking for here will be the ones who go the extra mile to get the job done.  They will volunteer for extra work, or the new task.  They also jump right to work when they get there, rather than talking to all of their coworkers before getting to work.   These people will make sure you are caught up with where they are in their project, and they will make suggestions to save money or energy.

At my work, I watch for team members who pick up trash when they see it, straighten out or fix other people’s work, hustle even though no one seems to be watching, ask if they can change or add to a routine to improve it, and keep me in the loop.  Listen for the people who ask “what if…”.  They are persistent, they intelligently as why they have to do something, and they praise others without expecting anything in return.

Collaboration:  defined as working with someone or a group to achieve something, working together in a joint effort.   People who collaborate will ask for clear expectations.  They will share credit and ideas with other team members.  They will receive from peers, and give feedback appropriately.  They state their opinions tactfully, without attacking the other people involved.  They will be careful to define problems without placing blame.  These are the people who will support group decisions, even when they are not in total agreement.

In meetings, you might see them checking for agreement, and attempting to gain commitment from other group members.  They will check for understanding, and be sure everyone is on board as they move forward.  They will invite contributions from each and every member of the group, and do it without judgment.  You will see them happy when others get the win, and glad to be part of the group.  I find that in order to be good collaborators, people must have many of the qualities of Leadership within them, just waiting to be developed.  Being good at this takes many qualities and skills, so when you find someone who is a very good collaborator, start working with them as soon as you can.

Positive attitude:  defined as approaching life with optimism and confidence, believing that our attitude can affect the outcome.  These people are not very difficult to spot.  They see the glass as half full, they show gratitude, and they are appreciative.  They will often be very hard workers, and usually see the best in people.  They don’t often criticize others, they don’t usually get involved in gossip, and they don’t tend to complain.

The people you are looking for will accept what is, without complaint.  They will be happy to be on the team, win lose or draw.  They will often compliment others, even strangers.  They are happy for the success of those around them, and they are usually good at building relationships.  You can probably think of many more ways to spot someone who has a positive attitude.  This is one quality that is very hard, if not impossible to train… it has to come from within.  Someone who wants a positive attitude will have some personal work to do in order to achieve that goal.  This is also a very difficult, if not impossible quality for us, as Leaders, to teach.  Make an effort to find and develop other Leadership qualities in these people.

Well these posts are getting way too long.  I was going to post a 2600 word post, and I thought better of it.  This is the first half… last part tomorrow.

Oh… and if you like my blog, please ‘like’ my Facebook page.  The button is just up there at the top right.  I dare you to click it!

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