Leaderisticality

How to hire, train, and maintain an hourly workforce

Archive for the category “Self Development”

Building Relationships… What Exactly Does That Mean?

What Does It Take To Build And Develop A Truly Great Team?  Part 9 of a series…

So let’s try to finish up our series on hiring for, and developing our team from average to great.  You’ll remember (I hope) that we’re talking about hourly team members, from no experience/entry-level to Store Team Leader level… you can find part 1 here.  At this level, which includes almost all retail/restaurant jobs (almost anyone paid hourly) we are hiring for qualities rather than skills, as we can teach anyone most any skill needed, however we cannot teach anyone the qualities we need…  And as an added bonus, if we hire exclusively for Leadership qualities, we need never look elsewhere for our future Leaders.

We also talked about how to hire for customer service, as well as the importance of indoctrinating our new hires.  For the last few posts we’ve discussed moving those few people who don’t belong on our team off of our team; moving our current team members from average to great by introducing new expectations (while owning our part in allowing the old behaviors); and the beginning steps to changing the culture of our team.

So let’s pick up by talking about developing relationships… what exactly does that mean?  A long time ago, when I was new to being responsible for the behavior of other people, I kind of thought that meant figuring out how to manipulate them into doing what needed to be done.  I was not very self-aware, and looking back; I was a pretty selfish young man.  So… what I wanted, and what I was responsible for making happen, was much more important than what the people working for me wanted or needed.

Needless to say, I found my work to be a constant struggle, moving between attempting to befriend my workers, attempting to coerce them through fear or intimidation, and following up after them, often doing the work that still needed to be done myself.  It was exhausting!

Through SO MANY mistakes, some huge and painful life lessons, reading some great books, and with some great advice and mentoring by a few good Leaders I was lucky enough to work with/for, I was able to start to understand that it’s not all about me and what I want or need.  I remember my mother, as well as the nuns in Catholic school, telling me that doing for others is it’s own reward; and that working for the good of the group will almost guarantee that you will get what you want (perhaps by changing what we want!?).  It was many years before I understood these lessons, and could start putting them into practice.

So where am I going with all of this?

Building relationships is not about getting what you want.  In order to have our team members want to do what needs to be done, they have to trust us, believe in, and care about the goals of the team, and know that helping them achieve their goals is genuinely important to us.

So… building a relationship with another person starts with getting to know that person.  It’s about them… not you!  I have come to believe that most people can tell in pretty short order when the person speaking to them is genuinely interested in them, or if they are trying to manipulate them.  The only reason to proceed from here is because you are genuinely interested in learning about the other, and in helping them achieve their goals.  If you move forward with any other intentions, I believe it won’t be long before you are found out, and you will have blown your chances of developing a trusting relationship.

Let’s move forward believing that we are all on the same page… that we are not saints, so we have our own goals, wants, and needs (sometimes we act selfishly, and sometimes we are self-absorbed).  And… more often than not, we are genuinely interested in helping other people achieve their goals, and helping other people makes us feel good.  We good?

Building relationships takes time.  We have to make a real commitment to this effort, as it will take many months (at least) depending on the size of your team, and how you have acted in the past, to get to know your team members, and start to build trust between you.  You will have to meet with each team member (or at least your department team Leaders) a couple of times/month at first in order to get to know them; show them you are really committed to them and this process; and to be able to take some action towards helping them achieve their goals.

If you try to rush this process, you will not achieve the results you want.  Your team members will see that you simply want to get to some end where they do your bidding, and you will have wasted all of your time.  Please either commit to this fully, or do not start the process until you are ready to fully commit.

Do not fool yourself into believing that you already have the relationships you need.  If you did, you would not need to change the culture of your team.  You would just need to alter your expectations, and perhaps get your team together to come up with some aggressive new goals.  And if you are reading this, that is not where you are.  If you actually have great relationships with your team members, you probably don’t need my help, and you most likely already have a great team.  So let’s get realistic, and commit to doing this right.

Wow!  1000 words, and my posts are already much longer than people tell me they should be.  So… we’ll stop here, and perhaps part 10 will be the last of the series.  Next time we’ll talk about purposefully developing a culture where feedback is expected, and where it is “heard” as an attempt to help us constantly and incrementally improve.

Remember that this Blog Leaderisticality.wordpress.com will be going away, so if you want to continue reading (and I suggest you do!) you’ll want to go to http://www.leaderisticality.com and sign up to follow there.  Thank you!

No One Took You Wrong… You Said It Wrong!

phone clipart

You Are 100% Responsible For How People Take Your Communication

How many times have you said, or heard, “he took me the wrong way” or “they misunderstood what I was saying”?

When communicating your thoughts, you are completely responsible for making sure the other person understands the idea you intend to convey.

Being a good communicator means more than simply stating our thoughts.

It means:

  • Stating our thoughts clearly, and in terms that can be easily understood by our intended audience.
  • Watching the facial expressions and body language of the people to whom we are communicating, to see that we are getting the reaction we expect.
  • When we are unsure if the other person has understood us in the way in which we intended, we are responsible for making sure.
  • We should ask the other person something like “What did you hear me say”?
  • If they heard anything other than what we intended, it is our responsibility to restate our thoughts until they hear us as we intended.
  • It is our responsibility to be aware if we have hurt their feelings, or insulted them.  If we catch it right away, we can often repair the damage pretty easily with an honest apology and restating our thoughts.

Yes but…  What about the arguments like…

“People will hear what they want to hear”?

It’s up to us as Leaders to make sure everyone with whom we are communicating hears what we intend for them to hear.  Yes… everyone knows this one exception… the person who seems to choose not to understand, or who has already decided what we intend and cannot be swayed.  These are extreme cases, so please do not get caught up in them.  If this happens to you quite often, the problem may be your communication style.

How about… “I can’t make anyone feel anything, we each choose how we feel”?

Theoretically it is true that we cannot make another person feel any particular way.  And in reality, most people are too caught up in their thoughts and emotions to be fully present.  The truth is that most of us are not emotionally intelligent enough, nor present enough to choose our emotions from minute to minute.  Unkind words, anger, projected emotions, or simply poor communication can, and often will, result in hurt feelings.  Once we are aware of hurt feelings, we are responsible for making an attempt to clear things up.

What about “I could not have said it any more clearly”?

There is no one correct communication style, and to think that your choice of words in any given moment can be universally understood by every person, no matter their emotional state, is a bit arrogant.  You are not responsible for the emotional state of the other person, and you are responsible for making sure your thoughts are understood as you intended, no matter the emotional state of the other person.  Its called empathy… understanding the emotions of another person.  If we understand how they are feeling, we can more easily state our thoughts in a way that they can understand.

Do you feel that the communicator is responsible for whether or not they are heard as they intended?

This post is a rewrite/update of a post originally found on http://www.leaderisticality.com

Leadership And Holding The Door Open

holding door open

Do you hold the door open for others? If you do, why do you do it?

Do you want to think that you hold doors open for anyone who happens to be behind you because you are a kind hearted and giving person, and then feel a little insulted when you don’t get a ‘thank you’?

Do you, like me for much of my life, hold the door open for others and then say a sarcastic ‘you’re welcome’ (at least in our heads) when they don’t say thank you?

Or do you feel insulted (again, like me) when they slip through the door without touching it, forcing you to either let it close on them or continue to hold it open until they are through (which means, unless you are a complete ass, you simply have to hold it open until they are through)?

Why did you really hold the door open in the first place?

Did you hold it open in order to get a ‘thank you’?

If you felt anything other than happy that you were able to do something nice for another human being, even if they didn’t even acknowledge you at all, then you held the door open for the wrong reasons.

I want to suggest that we could view Leadership in the same way.

I believe that our reasons for taking action will affect the outcome of that action, so the motivation for our behavior towards those who work for us is the key to getting positive outcomes.  I talked about that here

Ask yourself the following questions. You don’t have to share your answers with anyone else, so you can be completely honest with yourself.

What is your motivation for wanting to be a ‘Leader’?

Why did you apply for, or accept this role?

What is your motivation for developing relationships with others?

Do you have an agenda that you keep from your team?

Are you completely transparent with your team, sharing your true goals and motivations?

Are you truly honest with your team members when giving them feedback? Do you tell them what they need to hear, rather than those convenient remarks that don’t really give them anything to work with?

And this is a tough one… Think of someone you really respected and who has passed on (perhaps a parent, teacher, or mentor)… what if they were actually looking down on you, watching your every move, knowing your thoughts… would they be proud of you?

As Leaders, we ‘judge’ the work performance of our team members, as well as their motivations, and we make decisions that affect the future of other people every day.

How often do we take an honest look at our own actions, and our motivations, to make the needed course corrections to put us back on track and aligned with our true values?

We could all benefit from having partner, a mentor, or a coach to help us keep our actions aligned with our true selves. Failing that, we need to find the courage to take an honest look at our own actions, and see if we are remaining true to what we each believe is the ‘right’ way to live our lives.

Being human we will all continue to make mistakes. And through an honest assessment of our actions, taken on a regular basis, we can keep ourselves on track to be the Leaders we aspire to be.

Who Needs A Mentor Or A Coach Anyway?

paths

Mentors and coaches aren’t just for executives, and… who else might need a mentor or a coach?

Anyone who aspires be a better leader needs a mentor or coach.

Why you ask?  Well…

Leadership is not simply a set of actions or behaviors.  If it were, anyone and everyone who has read a Leadership book or two, or who has been through some Leadership training would be a great Leader.  And we all know that’s not the way it works.

  • If we don’t feel that we live in a world of abundance where it is safe to be generous, we simply cannot consistently be generous, give away credit, and see many more positive things than negative.
  • If we feel that others are not trustworthy we will be unable to extend trust, and this is a key to great Leadership.
  • If fear is a driving factor in our lives, we will resist change, fail to learn from mistakes, and be unable to grow emotionally.

These are just 3 examples of how we cannot act like great Leaders if we are not able to achieve emotional growth and maturity.

Leadership behaviors are driven by qualities.

We can only develop those qualities, which I believe are in all of us to some degree, through mistakes, personal setbacks, and other impactful events in our lives.  However, there is no guarantee that we will learn the right lessons, or develop in positive ways.

Coaches and mentors can:

  • Help us discern the right lessons from our mistakes and these powerful life events.
  • Help us see the learning opportunity and the positive side.  It is too easy to blame others, become cynical, and see only the negatives.
  • Tell us what we need to hear, as opposed to what we want to hear.  Our friends will generally support our desire to stay the course and resist change.
  • Help keep us on track towards achieving our goals no matter what life might throw at us.

So who should find a coach or mentor?

Anyone:

  • Who has big plans for themselves
  • Who is not getting promoted/seeing other promoted instead
  • Who is not achieving their goals/trying and not making their desired progress
  • Who needs to hire to balance their strengths
  • Who is the ‘visionary’ and needs people to execute… perhaps starting or growing a non-profit?
  • Who lacks confidence
  • Who has a tough time ‘hearing’ feedback
  • Who is facing a new challenge
  • Who is new to Leadership
  • Who has repeated poor decisions in the past
  • Who has a hard time with self-reflection
  • Who is building a new team/rebuilding a team/changing the culture
  • Who has a bad boss or poor leader

Anyone who wants to be great rather than good!

What else can coaches and mentors do for us?

Can We Choose To Enjoy Our Jobs?

West point graduation

Can we choose to enjoy anything for that matter? Do we have the capacity to accept the circumstance in which we find ourselves, and make the choice to enjoy whatever we are asked to do?

In order to do this we must accept our circumstances as if we had chosen them.

Can we… I mean the majority of us, actually do that? Even if we can, most of us don’t know how. If we did, wouldn’t we all just choose to accept our circumstances and be a lot less stressed?

What does it mean to enjoy something?

The definition includes: to derive pleasure from, take pleasure in, get benefit from, or take delight in. How many parts of your job do you take delight in? There are probably some parts from which you derive pleasure, right?

Why do some people enjoy a job while others detest that same job?

Most of us find enjoyment in some things and not in others. We have hobbies, sports, exercise, interacting with others, being with family, helping others, spending money, showing off, learning… the list goes on and on.

Some people have always enjoyed running, while others detest it.

Some of us get real pleasure from meeting new people, while others avoid it at all costs.

I know people who would gladly spend their time sorting and organizing, while other people think of that as torture.

Plenty of people love being the center of attention; perhaps teaching in front of a group, while lots of others would rather have a toe bitten off by a snapping turtle.

Are some jobs inherently pleasant, while others distasteful or not enjoyable?

I want to say that most of us would agree that some jobs are generally enjoyable, and the more I think about it the more I wonder if it’s true. The more we hear about the lives of the rich, famous, celebrity, sports star… the more we understand their aberrant behavior. They may have nicer things around them, and they seem to have the same issues as the rest of us with enjoying their jobs and lives.

Is stress caused by our inability to accept what is happening? By our inability to choose to enjoy our jobs?

Stress is a state of mental tension and worry, or fear, caused by problems… and what are ‘problems’? Many would argue that most of our ‘problems’ are simply our inability, or unwillingness to accept what is happening in our jobs and in our lives, or our fear about what might happen.

Once we accept that we get paid the same no matter how we feel about what we have to do, then perhaps we can choose to enjoy whatever needs to be done.

I consciously choose to continue to go to this job for the money and benefits, in trade for having to do the tasks of this job.   If I fully understand that I have a choice… that I can choose how to see those tasks, then why wouldn’t I choose to do them as if I had chosen them, since I do in fact choose them each time I show up for work? And if I do them as if I had chosen them, it will be much easier to find some enjoyment in them. Work will be less stressful, and I will be able to do each task with purpose and enjoyment.

It’s all about acceptance…

There are two other sides of this that I think are worth addressing…

  1. We all have different personal limits.

We are all very different as we talked about above. Some of us find ourselves on the extreme side of either introvert of extrovert for example, and this, for most, is not a choice.

These personality differences can bring with them sensory limits, or other limits that we have to learn to live with. They are not crutches, nor can we use them as excuses.

Some of us can only be in crowded places for so long.

Some people find it very difficult to be or work alone.

There are people who seem work better with music or background noise, while others need near silence in order to do their best.

Do you know and accept your limits?

The way to deal with our differences is to fully understand and accept how we are. Self-awareness is the key to knowing what works for us, as well as what does not work for us.

Accepting ourselves for who we are, with our strengths and weaknesses, is our key to finding the right job, and making a life that where we can more readily find enjoyment.

You should choose a job that falls within those limits. Otherwise we are almost constantly at odds with our natural state, and it can be very difficult to accept that we have put ourselves into situations for which we are not well suited.

  1. Acceptance does not mean stationary or static.

Accepting what is happening as if we had chosen it does not mean that we cannot make things better, or improve our performance, our job, or anything else about our lives.

In fact it allows us to stop struggling so much with our current circumstances, which can make room for us to work on changing our circumstances. Acceptance can make it easier for us to make the changes we want in our jobs and lives, while we stop fighting the current reality.

Please let me know if I’ve left out any important parts of this topic.

What To Look For In A Mentor…. How To Find A Mentor

So we’ve talked quite a lot about the importance of finding and working with a therapist, coach, or mentor.  Remember that Leadership is not a list of things we do or do not do… it is not remembering to appreciate, give credit, or build relationships.  We act like Leaders because of how we see ourselves, the world around us, as well as our relationship with that world.  If we see the world as an abundant place, where there is plenty to go around and enough for everyone, we are able to give credit, and surround ourselves with people who are better than we are.  If we see the world as a scary place, where there in not enough, where we have to fight for everything we have and get, then we will not be able to share, give credit, or work with people who might be better than we are.

So really, being a good Leader is about changing the way we see the world.  It’s about losing our fears and prejudices, and living our lives with more love, concern, and consideration for those around us.  In order to act like Leaders, we need to be free to trust in others; give away credit; allow others the freedom to make mistakes; share information, and be transparent in everything we do.

There are those who would argue that we are born this way, however once we are in our late teens/twenties most of us are no longer in this place.  We are not always able to look at ourselves objectively and honestly.  Navigating middle school and high school, along with friendships and teenage angst, can teach us how to rationalize and justify our action.  We can find ourselves with a skewed view of the world around us; and see ourselves as we would like to be, rather than how we actually are.

In order to be effective and true Leaders, we need to work on self-awareness, and gain an accurate picture of how we are.  We need to stop rationalizing and justifying if we are to be honest and transparent with those we wish to Lead.  These habits are now ingrained, and not easy to break.  Please do not kid yourself and think that you are not like this, or that you can change yourself without any outside help.  It’s almost impossible to get an accurate and honest picture of how we are without the help of an objective observer, who has our best interest at heart… a therapist, coach, or mentor.

Talking to someone who is probably older, with much more experience can be intimidating, and scary.  So… some of you might agree that having someone to ask questions or bounce ideas off would be good, however you might hesitate to ask someone you don’t know to be your mentor.  You might think that you will ask a friend or coworker, and that would be a mistake.

The job of mentor or coach includes telling us what we need to hear… disagreeing with us, and giving us an honest assessment of our decisions and behaviors.  Our friends or coworkers are generally not going to be able to do this for us, even with the best of intentions.  It takes a real commitment, and we must really care for someone in order to tell him or her what he or she doesn’t want to hear but need to hear.  It takes emotional detachment that our friends or coworkers do not have.  If you are serious about being a better Leader, please do not try to use a friend or coworker as a coach or mentor. Although these two terms can have different meanings, for this purpose I’m using them interchangeably.

Ok… We’ll assume that you agree that you should have a mentor or coach… what about that therapist I mentioned a bit ago?  Well…

If you think that most people have the wrong impression of you; if you regularly disagree with the feedback your boss gives to you; if you don’t see any reason you would apologize for your behavior; you feel that there are very few people who are trustworthy; or if you find yourself often angry or frustrated with other people, you would probably benefit from working with a therapist.  If you read this blog, or other books or articles about Leadership and absolutely disagree with how to treat the people around you, you should seriously think about talking to a therapist, as opposed to a coach or mentor.

The difference between a therapist and a coach or mentor is that a therapist went to school specifically to help us get an understanding of why we do the things we do, as well as how to help us change the behaviors we want to change.  They have been trained to help people without getting emotionally involved, so they can see us and our view of the world, as well as our behaviors, from a detached and yet interested point of view.  In order to be the best Leaders we can be, we have to understand ourselves, and know why we do the things we do and don’t do.  Therapists are trained to help us achieve this understanding, and are uniquely equipped to help us achieve our goals.

OK… so now that you know why you should have a mentor, coach, or therapist, you would probably like some ideas on how to choose the right coach or mentor.

The right mentor will have the kind of life and work that you would like to have. You will have to decide exactly what this look like for yourself, and I suggest you find someone who values a decent work/life balance.

The right mentor is someone you are not sexually attracted to.

The right mentor will be someone who continues to learn and challenge him or herself. Not someone with fixed views and opinions that cannot be challenged. Someone who is closed-minded is not likely to be able to give you what you need.

The right mentor should not be a reflection of you, however they should probably be enough like you that the two of you can easily understand one another. If you are a real introvert, you might want to choose a mentor who is either somewhat introverted, or can demonstrate a good understanding of true introverts… non-introverts can have a hard time understanding true introverts.

The right mentor will want to know something about you… a very successful and busy mentor might only want to mentor people who they believe are on a good career track, with a great work history and recommendations. Even if they aren’t this picky, they should show some interest in who you are, and how they will be able to benefit you.

The right mentor will be a good listener… they will listen to fully understand what you are saying, and how you feel about what you are saying before they answer you. They will not interrupt you, unless you are being disrespectful, making excuses, or perhaps justifying/rationalizing your behavior.

The right mentor will have obvious Leadership qualities, like honesty, transparency, generosity, willing to extend trust, self-awareness, and self-discipline… While we cannot expect our mentor to be perfect, there are a couple of qualities that we should not do without, like character, trust, and a positive attitude.

Since you are already in a Leadership position, and you want to become the best Leader you can be, you should do your best to choose someone who is an actual Leader; who values Leadership qualities. That means someone who is known to be emotionally intelligent, who does not micromanage, who extends trust, and who has developed other Leaders. Some who has achievements that impress you.

The right mentor will be outside of your normal chain of reporting relationships.   So if you choose a mentor from your company, they might be someone with more experience in a position similar to yours, or in a higher position. Just make sure that you let your boss know what you are doing, and that your mentor is not someone who your boss, or her boss answers to… that might be awkward.

The right mentor should be someone you feel comfortable with… someone with whom you can be yourself. You will have to be open and brutally honest with them, so you must be able to feel comfortable with them, and fully trust them. The relationship should be respectful, and not be too formal.

The right mentor will push for you to get out of your comfort zones. We love to stay with what we know and are comfortable with, and we often need to be pushed to try something new. The right mentor will push us, as well as help us choose the right stretch goals, and help us prepare to be successful.

The right mentor will occasionally give you an answer, however most of the time they should be helping you figure things out for yourself. You will learn less from a person who tells you what to do than you will from someone who helps you develop your own solutions.

Remember… very few people can teach us to be better than they are. So, for example, if you choose someone with poor communication skills, they will probably not be of much help in developing your communication skills. If they only have one go-to Leadership style, they will probably not be able to help you develop the ability to utilize a different style.

The right mentor will be open and honest about their own life, and share their failings and mistakes with you. This makes them human, builds trust and a stronger relationship. Everyone has a whole list of mistakes… if the person you have chosen doesn’t admit to any… well… perhaps it’s just a red flag.

Next, you’ll want to write down, yes write down your goals for this relationship. What do you need help with? In what ways will your mentor help you? You’ve been reading along right? So you know that self-awareness is one of the keys to being a good Leader, right? You’ve been reading the books I’ve suggested, right?

So you have a pretty good idea of what you need help with, and you put together a list. This list will help you narrow down your choices, because you want to choose someone who’s strengths are some of your areas of improvement. You should also write down your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your short and long-term goals.

So you’ll make a list of people you admire; people who are successful in your company; respected people in your community; respected colleagues; and perhaps a few people you don’t know personally yet, and respect and would like to get to know. Now cross off any and all that you are attracted to. It can be tempting to leave them on the list… don’t do it.

Now you have a narrowed down list of possible mentors. It’s time to do some research… get on-line and find out everything you can about each of them. Through this process you might end up crossing more off the list. Make sure they have the same values that you do. Their political or religious beliefs are generally not a concern, and you may have very strong beliefs that are important to match.

The final choice is yours of course… and you will want to prepare for your talk. You have your list of what you would like to get from this relationship, and you know some things about them. Now you need to write down why you chose them, and some questions specifically about what you need, and how they might help.

Ask if you can make an appointment to speak with them, and bring along your lists. Tell them what you’ve been working on, and the books you’ve been reading. Speak to the things you admire about them, why you believe they can help you, and ask if they would be willing to mentor you.

When they say yes, you will have to determine how much time they are willing and able to commit to you. They may be able to meet with you every week, and they might only be able to give you a couple of hours each month. Depending on your needs, you might want to have a few mentors, or you might need to find someone who can give you more time.

You will be able to find one or more people who are willing to mentor you… don’t worry. In taking with them you will agree on schedules that work for both of you. Respect your mentor’s time! Be early, and be prepared. You will need to be brutally honest with them if they are to help you… do not waste their time by withholding information or lying to them. Not only will that destroy your relationship with them, but it will also hurt your career goals.

You will ask your new mentor what they expect from you in this relationship, and how you can best help them help you. You are the one doing the work, and the one who needs the help, so you will be the driving force in deciding what you ask of your new mentor… you have a lot of responsibility.

Remember, you are 100% responsible for your relationship with your mentor. If things aren’t going as well as you thought, you need to rethink your role. Are you being completely honest? Are you making the most of the opportunity? Are you listening to the advice your mentor gives you? It’s the same as your relationship with your significant other… if there are problems with your relationship, look at your part. It does not help to look at your partner and find fault in what they are doing… you cannot control what they do. You can only control what you do, so it only makes sense to look at your part. What are you doing to make your relationship what you want it to be? Are you treating them the way you want to be treated… the way they deserve to be treated?

As always, if you disagree with any of this, or have any questions, please leave a comment.

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!

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!

The One Thing That Successful Leaders Do

I’m reposting this article by Tanveer Naseer because I almost always agree with his thoughts.  He speaks about Leadership qualities in a way that is easily understood, and he believes the same things that I believe and have been talking about here.  Enjoy!

The One Thing That Successful Leaders Do

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