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Posts tagged ‘Production’

The Key!

“In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions”. ~ Margaret Wheatly

Organizations are only as successful as their Leaders, and the Leaders are only as successful as their Team Members! Again, Leadership has to be about RELATIONSHIPS. I say this a great deal and here is why: I find that when the going gets tough in an organization the first thing that suffers are the relationships. It seems that as long as things are going relatively well in an organization, Leaders are all about making and building relationships. However, when the numbers aren’t coming in or stiff change is on the horizon suddenly the focus is off of relationships and back on number crunching. That is just the opposite of what should be happening. When times get a little rough in an organization that is when relationships are the MOST important to focus on. It is then that the Team Member needs to know they are supported and that their Leader is not a “fair-weather” Leader, only building relationships when times are good.

Truly the key to success in Leadership is measured by  the growth of the people he or she supervises. The Team can only grow in a healthy, relationship based environment where they believe that the Leader is truly out for the Team Members success and that the Team is valued above all things. In the Business World we operate in today, there are many variables that change day-to-day that effect bits and pieces of operation and profits. With that said, it is difficult to concentrate consistent effort on constant changes to try to make lasting, steady effects. That is why a Leader must focus on the one thing that they can have the most lasting impact on, their people and the relationships they can build with them. The people of the organization will be what gets the Leader and the Company through the hard times., but you have to build the relationship prior to the hard times for it to be effective! Start today to build or repair any and all relationships!

Interesting tidbit: “The Center for Creative Leadership conducted a survey of 300 managers and executives from around the world asking if the definition of Leadership had changed in the past five years. 84% responded that Leadership had indeed changed, primarily due to having more complex challenges causing hardships for their organizations. Interestingly, the flip side was that they were impacted positively by forcing greater collaboration, improving work processes and increasing work boundaries.”

In closing remember this, when times are tough, and they are or soon will be, a Leader has really only one thing that he or she can truly count on; the people around them. Those people will either be working for the Leader or against the Leader, it is the RELATIONSHIP that will determine which it will be!

Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning”. – Warren Bennis

Until next time, BUild, BUILd, BUILD those RELATIONSHIPS! You have to have them!

Rod

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Let’s Strive to be an HP Leader!

How would you like to skyrocket yourself and your Team in the following areas: Approachability, Trust, Business knowledge, Accountability, Morale, Productivity?

You can, by becoming an HP Leader!  William Hewlett and David Packard, founders of Hewlett Packard (HP), famously used a particular approach Leading their company. Tom Peters, in his wildly successful 1982 book “In Search of Excellence,” included lessons learned from HP and other companies that used a similar style of Leadership – and the term MBWA immediately became popular. What is MBWA you ask? Managing By Wandering Around, a key to relationship, Team building and overall Leadership in the world today! To get connected and stay connected, you need to walk around and talk to your team, work alongside them, ask questions, and be there to help when needed.

Here’s how it can make changes in the above listed areas:

  • Approachability – When your staff sees you as a person and not just a boss, they’ll be more likely to tell you what’s going on.
  • Trust – As your team gets to know you better, they’ll trust you more. You’ll be naturally inclined to share more information, and that will break down barriers to communication.
  • Business knowledge – Getting out and learning what’s happening on a daily basis can give you a better understanding of the functions and processes around you.
  • Accountability – When you interact daily with your team, agreements you make with each other are much more likely to be completed. Everyone is more motivated to follow through, because you’re seeing each other on a regular basis.
  • Morale – People often feel better about their jobs and their organization when they have opportunities to be heard. MBWA makes those opportunities available.
  • Productivity – Many creative ideas come from casual exchanges. MBWA promotes casual discussions, so people will more likely feel free to come to you with their ideas.

Despite its obvious benefits, use of MBWA has been hit-and-miss. To be successful, it takes more than simply strolling through your office, warehouse, or production facility. MBWA isn’t a “walk in the park”: It’s a determined and genuine effort to understand your staff, what they do, and what you can do to make their work more effective. Don’t just do MBWA because you feel it’s an obligation – this probably won’t work very well. You have to truly want to get to know your staff and operations, and you have to commit to following up concerns and seeking continuous improvement.

Remember, Leadership is about Relationships! So get out there and start wandering around!

It’s in the Roots!!

For every hundred men hacking away at the branches of a diseased tree, only one will stoop to inspect the roots. – Chinese proverb

How true this proverb is for Leaders trying to assess performance issues on their Team! If you are going to  try to figure out what’s causing the performance issue, you have to get to the root of the problem. However, due to the fact that employee performance affects the bottom line of the organization, often the quick fix is what is sought after. We look at training courses or  we try to determine if a move to a new position would do the trick. Maybe, just maybe there is a different possibility.

The thing we have to remember about the above options are they focus on the ability of the person performing the task. Performance, though, is a function of both ability and motivation.

Performance = Ability x Motivation

  • Ability is the person’s aptitude, as well as the training and resources
  • Motivation is the product of desire and commitment

Someone with 100% motivation and 75% ability can often achieve above-average performance, of course the opposite is true. One of the best ways to increase motivation is make sure, that as a Leader, you give your Team Members timely, honest and accurate Performance Appraisals. It is important that the Team Member is clear on their goals, objectives and resources in these appraisals.  In addition, this is why recruitment and job matching are critical parts of performance management.

If you would like even more tips on Performance Appraisals and Workplace Culture, contact Ascend Business Strategies and make your Leadership stronger!

Until next time, make sure you examine the roots!

Rod

Okay, Now What?

One of the really fulfilling things about Coaching is being able to tell a person that they are doing some good things and then watch their face light up with a smile! I enjoy being able to see how this type of coaching can put a spark into a Team Members step and motivate them to even greater victories. A positive, praise oriented coaching exchange is an easy conversation to have, but what happens when there has to be some not so positive feedback given?

When negative feedback, or opportunity feedback is necessary, the best time to give it is now before the problem gets any worse. Early attention to developing problems lets you harness the moment and turn it into a constructive process. Opportunity feedback not only stops unacceptable behavior, but also places the Team Member on the track to better performance.

As with positive feedback, don’t always wait for a formal performance review. Spot coaching is a highly valuable tool in todays fast paced world. Take one or two minutes after you observe a sale, or an issue, to meet with the Team Member and discuss what went right and what opportunities for growth you may have observed. It is highly important during this coaching exchange to get the Team Member to mentally review the time you observed them and ask them how they thought it went and get their ideas for improvement as well as your own.

Now the question arises about how to deliver the tougher messages that we call opportunity feedback. Listed below is a framework to mentally go through when having to approach someone in an opportunity feedback situation:

1. State the issue at hand. Remember not to pile many issues into this meeting. One issue, two at most will be all a Team Member can or should have to handle at once. If you have more than one or two issues to cover than you have allowed them to go too long unaddressed. Filter, prioritize and then deliver over the course a few different settings.

2. Recognize the Team Member’s efforts. No one does everything wrong. Keeping that in mind, give specific detailed praise for a behavior that the employee is doing well and let them know how much that means to you as their Leader. People need to know they are noticed for other things than when they do something wrong.

3. Detail the behavior that is needing changed. You will need to be very specific and use examples to illustrate your concern.

4. Detail the effect of the behavior. It is important to show how the behavior not only affects the Team Member but also how it affects the Organization.

5. Review what is expected. During this phase it would be a good idea to ask the Team Member if they know the Organization’s expectation concerning this behavior. Have them tell you what it is and correct the explanation if necessary.

6. Ask for a brief explanation of why the standard was not followed. Do not use this portion to point blame or try to degrade the Team Member. Remember to keep your emotions out of the entire process and address strictly the behavior, not the attributes of the person. The person is not the issue, the behavior is.

7. Ask the Team Member to suggest solutions. The Team Member will buy into a plan much quicker if they had a part in developing it. Granted, you may have to guide them to an acceptable conclusion but let them have much input into the corrective action plan.

Any of the above steps are great stand alone coaching tips, and when used together will provide a smooth journey through a once rocky road of giving opportunity feedback.

Until next time, look for opportunities and help guide your people to victory!!

Rod


Say What? Part 2

So what does active listening entail? How do you do it?
Listed below are a few tips to help us all be better listeners and for those talking to know that we are doing more than a surface job of hearing what they say. Remember, hearing is what most everybody is able to do in a conversation, listening is what the sincere Leader does!
Pay attention.

Give the speaker your undivided attention, respect, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.

  • Look at the speaker directly. Make eye contact if possible.
  • Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
  • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. Concentrate of what is being said.
  • “Listen” to the speaker’s body language. Observe the non-verbal’s but don’t let it take you away from the conversation.
  • Refrain from side conversations when listening in a group setting. Focus, focus, focus!

Show that you are listening.

Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.

  • Nod occasionally.
  • Smile and use other facial expressions.
  • Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting. Don’t cross your arms or roll your eyes.
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

Provide feedback.

Our life experiences and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said and put aside prejudices. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions for clarification.

  • Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is.” and “Sounds like you are saying.” are great ways to echo back.
  • Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say.” “Is this what you mean?”
  • Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically, just don’t cut off the speaker to do so.

Tip: If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so, and ask for more information: “I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is ***; is that what you meant?”.

 Defer judgment.

Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.

  • Allow the speaker to finish no matter how you may feel about what is being said.
  • Don’t interrupt with counter arguments. This makes the entire conversation useless and puts those around you on edge and an understanding becomes farther away if not impossible.

Respond Appropriately.

Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by verbally attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.

  • Be candid, open, and honest in your response but remain respectful. Remember that diversity is valuable in all areas of life.
  • Assert your opinions respectfully. Keep in mind that everyone has opinions and your’s is no more important that their’s.
  • Treat the other person as you would want to be treated in the same situation.
These are just a few ways to enhance your active listening skills, not to mention your personal and professional relationships.
Until next time, Listen, Listen and then Listen again!!!
Rod

The Villain in the Workplace!!

There is an evil villain that lurks in many workplaces today. Often times he/she can be found hiding in the shadows watching your every move, checking up on you and waiting for the prime time to pounce! Worse yet this villain often times does not hide at all but is right out in the open for all to see and often we feel powerless to do anything to stop him/her.  Who is this age-old villain I speak of in the workplace……. it’s………………MICROMANAGER!!!!

Some would say that occasionally micromanaging is needed. This would be true with a new Team Member or someone venturing into an area they have not encountered before. Otherwise a true Leader never has to micromanage because he/she knows the Team and each ones unique abilities and therefore assigns tasks to each one accordingly. Thus, the true Leader can trust the Team Member will move forward and succeed or at least the Leader knows that he/she and the Team Member have an open line of communication to the point the Team Member feels free to come and ask for help. No need for the Leader to be constantly checking in or making suggestions. He/She knows that the project will be done correctly and has already set up times to come together with the Team Member to discuss their progress and/or roadblocks they have encountered.

Are you wondering if you might be the villain, MICROMANAGER? Is your Leader the villain MICROMANAGER?

Here are some symptoms that can be observed in those who are micromanaging:

  • They appear frustrated that nobody is “getting it” or taking things as seriously as they do.
  • They want frequent status updates, even when things are operating normally.
  • They are quick to point out errors and mistakes of Team Members.
  • They have an overloaded task list, but their teams are looking for things to do.
  • They get upset if they’re not consulted before decisions are made.
  • They’ll take back delegated tasks to do them quicker or better themselves.
  • They assign a task and then go out first and do the task they assigned to someone else
  • They show up unannounced and often change directions you have given your team
So, what do you do if you are micromanaged? 70% of the respondents of a recent random survey feel they have been or currently are working for a micromanager. The sad part of this is that fact that as long as an organization is seeing results from the department that is being micromanaged, they often will not do anything to the one doing the micromanaging. If that happens, it is up to the Team Member to adjust, here are some options:
  • Take a critical look at your own performance. Is there anything you are doing that is adding to the problem? Self-identified micromanagers often claim that they wouldn’t have to micromanage if their people would just do what they were supposed to do. It may not fix the problem, but delivering your best may give you a little more breathing room.
  • Play by their rules. Admittedly, spending your day requesting permission for every action, justifying every decision or rewriting every sentence is not productive. However, fighting it will be even less so. Figure out the hot buttons, pet peeves and sticking points and try to abide. Sadly this may mean spending more time on the non-value-added appeasing tasks, but if you can streamline them, you may be able to create a workable relationship.
  • Try not to take it to heart. Assuming your work is sound, try not to let the constant nit-picking affect your self-confidence. The problem is the manager’s, not yours.
  • Talk to them about their behavior. You may want to attempt a frank, but respectful discussion with the Leader about the issue. Come prepared with recent examples and ideas for how you can work better together. Be aware though, that they may be unable to recognize that their behavior is problematic and their inherent lack of trust may create a contentious discussion.
  • Take it up with a “higher authority”  Often this approach may end up doing more harm than good. At the very heart of micromanagement is a lack of trust, and going over the Leader’s head, potentially making him/her look bad is a cardinal sin in the eyes of this type of Leader. Although it may buy some momentary relief, chances are you will suffer in the long run.
  • Leave the organization. This option may be the only choice in some situations. Assume your Leader is not going to leave. If you find that your work, your family and most likely your health and well-being are suffering because of a work situation that has become intolerable, looking for a better job may be the best thing you could do for yourself and your long-term career. Ultimately, you are in control of your own future and can make the decision to leave for greener pastures.
No one likes to be micromanaged because, generally speaking, if you were hired to do a job, trained to complete that job and have on open communication line to your Leader and the resources need to complete the job; then you should be allowed to do the job!
Until next time, if you are micromanaging…stop it! If you are being micromanaged, hang in there and send the Leader this blog………….
Rod

 

Strong Relationships

Leadership is about relationships! I suppose if you frequent this blog you could begin to get tired of seeing me type that phrase, but that phrase is the key to any Leader’s sustained career! Nothing can overcome the most difficult of situations in a workplace environment like a strong relationship based Team. Everyone in the office can still be uniques, have differences and even a few simple confrontations, but it will be the strong relationship that will help everyone understand each other better and will aid in a much quicker resolution to any and all problems in the office!

So, I guess you might be wondering what makes up the foundation of a good relationship in the workplace. There are several characteristics that make up healthy working relationships:

  • Trust – This is the foundation of every good relationship. When you trust your team and colleagues, you form a powerful bond that helps you work and communicate more effectively. If you trust the people you work with, you can be open and honest in your thoughts and actions, and you don’t have to waste time and energy “watching your back.” Trust is something that often is the hardest part of a relationship. Realize that to trust, one has to allow themselves to be vulnerable and that is a risky move. However, if you do not extend that trust, that open door to your emotions and feelings, you will never have any synergy, cohesiveness or support in your workplace. Yes, you might get hurt a time or two, but pain is a part of  learning, learning is a part of growing and growing is a part of success. If you want to be a success as a Leader, you will have to endure a bit of pain along the way. Take heart though, if you allow it to, it can make you a much stronger and better person because of the journey you will take with it!
  • Mutual Respect – When you respect the people whom you work with, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours. Working together, you can develop solutions based on your collective insight, wisdom and creativity. Mutual Respect is a huge part of Synergy, (the process of two or more minds coming together to create a solution that is greater than any one person could come up with on their own), which every working environment needs to have. Without respect or synergy in the workplace, you and your Team are going nowhere fast!
  • Diversity – People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them. Any workplace that respects, invites and encourages diversity will be the a workplace that experiences frequent success and will be a pool of idea generation! It is paramount for the Leader to instill in all Team Members that each and every one of us were created with a unique skill set and valuable insight. As everyone seeks to include all thought processes and viewpoints, collaboration and projects soar to new heights!
  • Open Communication – Whether we’re sending emails, text and IM’s, or meeting face-to-face it is crucial that we stay positive, constructive, open and honest The better and more effectively you communicate with those around you, the richer your relationships will be. All good relationships depend on open, honest communication. As a Leader you should only want the very best for your Team Members and often that will involve some very frank conversations. Even thought it is tempting to avoid the hard talks, it is detrimental to the Team as a whole. Just as in a personal friendship, if you are a true friend you will be honest, even with the hard stuff. The same holds true for your work relationships. If you have established the trust and respect with those around you, it opens the door for honest, open communication. However, if you have not established trust and respect, you in no way can have open communication. It is the trust and respect that will help you approach the other person with the hard subjects in a way that they know you are only trying to help them. It is also the key elements that will allow them to receive it in the manner you truly intend it to be.

If a Leader will utilize this recipe above, model it and instill it in his/her people, they can revolutionize the workplace environment. Until next time, keep building strong relationships!!

Rod