The Servant!

The Servant!

A simple story about the true essence of leadership – James C. Hunter

Certainly a worthy read on a snowy Saturday in December. I love authors who have the ability to paint a beautiful picture through story telling rather that a theory based scripture. “The Servant” is certainly a well written story that points out all the major factors including enough detail to not only make sense out of it but also provide opportunity to transfer this knowledge into your own line of work.

Through coaching, I have adopted many of the same philosophies and practices. It is always nice to see that from an outside perspective that my coaches (Mark/Kirk) steered me in the right direction. Being a servant leader, is about trust, commitment, clarity, choice, love and accountability.

I would like to highlight one of the key descriptive power words in my blog  today as James reminded me yesterday that “Love” is not the feeling type of “Love” but rather the behavior as in the Greek work Agapē. As leaders, we need to pay particular attention to the individual not the persons that works for you. Agapē means that you will express patience, kindness, humility, respectfulness, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty and commitment. You will need to spend some additional time studying the meaning of each attribute to develop a better appreciation of its role in leadership.

To develop strength, like a muscle, you will need to practice frequently to ensure that your EQ, PQ and BQ are all elevated and maintained within a therapeutic index. Agapē “Love” is not something you do from time to time but rather make it who you are as a positude leader.

Combine Agapē “Love” with leadership and you reap the benefits for life albeit at home, work or with your friends.

-W

 

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Being Vulnerable!

Being Vulnerable!

When was the last time you truly opened yourself up to feel the world around you? Like myself, most live life in a big rush more often than not however we are doing ourselves a big disfavor. We are not getting the full experience by holding back feelings, resentment, happiness or sadness. Being vulnerable is strength not a weakness although it is often viewed that way.

Giving or receiving critical feedback in the workplace is essential to becoming a high performance team however it often is the lynch pin for most. A hurdle to high or a bridge to far. We (all of us) are notoriously bad at giving critical feedback due to low behavioral capacity and not much better at seeking critical feedback for oneself. Afraid of the unknow or once know that action is required and expected. We are holding ourselves back from getting to the next level because we are afraid of what the other might think of us. These thoughts are not necessarily bad as it means you care however holding back will cause your stress to go up and your team’s performance to go down over time.

On the flip side, we all have had bosses who have no problem dishing it out likely due to their empty empathy tank however they rarely wanted to know or even cared what others thought of them. Not likely the person I would want to work for or would thrive under however there are plenty of very successful individuals who have done well for themselves being a bully in the workplace. (Steve Jobs was known for this behavior style)

As positude leaders, we want to raise self-awareness and your behavioral capacity to the point that we feel comfortable in being vulnerable. In a vulnerable state, you can receive real meaningful feedback in a group setting or just one-to-one. Most important skill to develop is to “Live in the NOW”, being mindfully in the presence, soaking up the words spoken and allowing them to be processed before responding or sometimes nothing needs to be said at all.

Raising your EQ, PQ, CQ or BQ takes time and self-awareness. It takes time in the gym recognizing that strength and capacity is gained over time and needs to be maintained to be effective.

Performing a real-time 360 with your peers, bosses or subordinates by simple asking for them to identify 5 strengths, 3 weaknesses and 2 opportunities, one can learn much after conducting about 5-7 interviews. Just remember that one interview is an opinion however a series of interviews and a pattern develops is an actionable item that you should focus on.

Being vulnerable allows you to see, feel and experience, it allows you to grow as an individual!

-W

Give’em the Pickle!

Give’em the Pickle!

Bob Farrall got it right…. Give’em the Pickle! It’s the little things that really count. Think about it for a minute, why do you go back to the same dentist, doctor, restaurant or grocery store? It has less to do with quality and more to do with little things that matter most.

As customer service agents regardless of the business you work in, we need to be hyper aware of the little things we do each day that make a huge difference in your customers. Most likely, it’s on the periphery of your core product albeit a smile, a friendly greeting, a comfy chair or a “Pickle”, it’s the deal maker for loyal customers who will reward you time and time again.

I have been fortunate over the past three weeks and met with many talented team members ,and that’s how I learned about “Give’em the Pickle!”. Thank you for sharing that story with me, it hit home.

As a positude leader, I often speak about learning what intrinsic driver motivates each team member to ensure you focus on the right drivers and thereby maximize output. “Give’em the Pickle!” is about finding your customers intrinsic driver that makes them loyal to you. Take some time and ask your customers “why” they come back and convert that new learning into attracting new customers.

Follow Bob Farrall’s advise, regardless of what you do, don’t take away the “Pickle”!

Short, sweet and to the point, you are most likely the pickle your customer wants most at least in the healthcare industry.  Patients do best with familiar faces especially those who provide that extra touch (the pickle) to reduce anxiety and treats them like human rather than a widget.

“Give’em the Pickle!”

-W

Lead through Context, NOT control!

Lead through Context, NOT control!

I’m back in my chair early on a Saturday morning, watching our Roomba zigzag through our livingroom like it is on a mission determined to get every single last dog hair or spec of dirt. Our Roomba is led through control, we program it to go only as often and as long as we want it to clean not a minute longer. However trying this same approach with our team members often results in disengagement or worse separation. Humans should be led through context, not control.

As positude leaders, we need to transform our ways of managing and leading by connecting to the emotional side of our team members. Each wants to be valued albeit a bit different from each other, at the end of the day, if one knows and understands the reason he/she is doing a task, it will be completed more thoroughly and on-time. It doesn’t matter if its an employee engagement survey, a specific task or your annual corporate compliance attestation, “Leading through Context” matters and it is evident in the final results.

By nature, humans are curious creatures whom are programmed to be inquisitive, creative and challenge traditional thinking however much of that is suppressed if you lead through control versus leading through context.

We need to take our time and communicate clearly our expectation by explaining the “WHY”. This is often accomplished through story telling or relating it back to something meaningful. For example, if your company’s value statement includes the word “Integrity”, it means that you will do the right things even when someone is not looking. An annual compliance attestation is not just another thing to do, it is actually a personal commitment to live up to the high standard of integrity providing confidence to your customers that quality, safety and doing the right things right are at the core of what you do each day.

Understanding the “WHY” engages your team members to whole another level of cooperation. If done right, it gives a sense of pride especially if your department as a whole out performs all others. You will ” kill two birds with one stone” by making a commitment to integrity and creating a “WIN”.

As a team, you will be more successful if you are unified in vision, action and deliverable. It’s about “Context” not “Control”!

-W

 

Bagels & Cream Cheese!

Bagels & Cream Cheese!

One morning, I woke up and felt in the mood to treat the family to something special before any of them would wake up. I quickly got dressed and hurried out of the door to my favorite bagel place in town. I ordered a dozen assorted bagels, scallion and walnut raising cream cheese and made it home before the bagels had a chance to cool down.

Although the bagels were a hit that morning, my kids (always honest without a filter) told me that they really wanted my favorite Dutch Pannekoeken that morning. I was flattered and disappointed at the same time that I failed to deliver on what they liked most.

Think about that for a moment as we approach Christmas/Hanukkah, rather than assuming what our kids or spouses want, take a few moments to strategically inquire on what it is that they would like most under the tree.

Assumptions have sunk more than one ship! Same holds true in the workplace. Instead of assuming what satisfies your staff members, get to know each individual and their personal intrinsic drivers. I would recommend that you straight out ask by proposing a list of drivers such as: hear me, inform me, appreciate me, challenge me, manage me. develop me, etc. Have them select a vital few drivers that motivate them to go above and beyond.

As a positude leader, it is your responsibility to learn and cater to the intrinsic drivers of your staff members. (and family members) Putting in the effort to get to know each individual will be rewarding in more ways than one.

Just in case you want to know, I love a good poppy-seed bagel with walnut raising cream cheese.

-W

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting healthy “Boundaries”!

Setting healthy “Boundaries”!

I recently had a long conversation with a friend regarding their availability after regular business hours. Is it normal and expected that we answer text and emails after 5PM or that we take our work phones on vacation? It’s a question that is being asked more frequently as it becomes easier each day to stay in 24/7/365 contact with each other through texting, tweeting, email, FaceTime, etc.

Is it time to set healthy “boundaries”?

The simple answer is “yes” however it is more complicated to communicate that out to your staff, peers and bosses without feeling that you are giving up career opportunities in the future.

First, we must recognize that as high performing alpha personalities, we want to be available 24/7, provide immediate responses and solve all problems with a great sense of urgency however at what cost? Stress can lead to illness, dysfunction in your family life or even disengagement at work causing you to look for other opportunities. We must accept reality and learn to live life by setting healthy boundaries.

As a positude leader, you will be open and transparent in the process of setting boundaries. Much of this can be accomplished through empowerment of your staff. Lead a discussion on identifying issues that have caused them to call, text or email you after hours. Triage those issues into buckets urgency for example; injury on the job requires an immediate notification 24/7 however breakdown of a piece of non-vital equipment can be delayed till the next business day. You will need to develop scenarios for your job function by reviewing those calls, text and emails after hours that have caused you consternation in the past.

Another boundary that is often violated is the amount of time you spend on a particular issue especially with team members who want to complain about something. As a positude leader, you practice an open door policy and will provide time to your team for one-to-one conversation however is it perfectly acceptable to set a healthy boundary by applying the “15-minute rule”. This will force them to be precise in their statements and get to the point. Personally, I always encourage and promote complainers to bring solutions not just another negative statement. It forces them to reevaluate their own complaint and often it looses its significance before requesting a 15-minute meeting.

Setting healthy boundaries will preserve your quality time with your family and at the same time it is positively empowers your staff to make reasonable decisions in your absence followed by a “FYI” text or email that doesn’t require an immediate response from you.

Just on a side note, in France, employers are now required to pay employees for taking calls, text or writing emails after regular business hours. It has almost become an expectation that we are available 24/7/365 however by setting healthy boundaries, we can be available and still enjoy our downtime ensuring that we are fresh and energetic the next morning.

Let me know what you think!

-W

 

Are we “Thankful” enough?

Are we “Thankful” enough?

As I’m sitting here in my chair staring out of the window watching cars pass by on an early crisp fall morning, I often wonder if we are truly “Thankful” enough or do we take much of what we have for granted. Do we absorb in a mindful manner the beauty that surrounds us or do we accept it as our norm? Do we acknowledge the people who have made a difference in our lives only one day per year or show gratitude regularly?

I’m afraid as a society it’s all the above for most of us. We rarely truly live in a mindful way. We are continuously chasing the unknown albeit another text, email or birthday party. It is no different at work or at home. It’s about getting things done rather than enjoying the fruits of your labor.

We need to find a balance in life whereby each of us learns to live “mind-fully in the now”. It strikes a compromise between work, family and self. It is about keeping your inner tank filled with “Positude & Gratitude“.

Today is “Thanksgiving Day 2017”, make it an extraordinary day whereby you make a promise to yourself to live life with balance and gratitude each day. It will take practice as it is only normal to slip back into the old way of doing things. Resist the temptation, fight for a new norm by exercising “Living in the Now” with positude.

For example, as you drive to work, don’t let another driver anger you instead appreciate that you have a car and don’t have to walk to work. Instead of feeling down on dark gray rainy day, be grateful for living and having a roof over your head to protect oneself from rain, snow or sleet. It’s a perpetual cycle of pushing down the “negative” brain and promoting the “positive” brain.

It will take a concerted effort over many months to get to your new norm however once there, mindful living in the now will ensure that you are thankful every day not just on thanksgiving day.

-W