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Be A “Don’t Knower”, Eileen Fisher Style – Idea # 22 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

eileen fisher

After finishing college at the University of Iowa, Eileen Fisher moved to New York City and bounced around between a couple of jobs before working for a Japanese graphic designer.

She had many Japanese clients, and visited Japan frequently. While there, she noticed the simple and elegant beauty of the Kimono. This gave her a flash of inspiration.

She had always loathed getting dressed. As a woman, this was a rather arduous chore compared to how men get dressed. She had a vision of clothes that were made of simple shapes that were easy to coordinate, like men’s attire, but were also elegant and comfortable.

In 1984, at the age of 34, she decided that she was going to start a clothing business based on her vision. There were two significant obstacles, however. She didn’t know how to sew, nor did she know anything about business.

She believed in her vision, though, and soon discovered that her designs really appealed to people. The first four simple shapes she created generated $3,000 worth of orders at the Boutique Show she was encouraged to attend. Based on that success, she expanded her line a bit to eight pieces and generated $40,000 in orders at the second show she attended.

Although Fisher’s innovative designs clearly played a large role in the success of her company, she mentioned to me another key element of her success when we spoke recently in Washington, D.C. It turns out that her greatest obstacles were actually her greatest strengths.

“I’ve always been a ‘don’t knower’,” she said. “I’ve always been very comfortable saying, ‘I don’t know.’ As a result, there’s a sense of openness. When you don’t know and you’re really listening intently, people want to help you. They want to share.”

As the company was first getting started, Fisher’s “don’t know” approach allowed her to get great advice, for free, from many experts and successful business leaders. The help she received was instrumental in helping her get her business off of the ground.

Today, Eileen Fisher, Inc. employs over 1,100 people, has over 60 retail stores, and will likely generate over $300 million dollars in revenue in 2015.

This story was originally posted with the Huffington Post.  To continue reading, please click here.

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Image Credit – Matt Dunham – Shared unaltered per this license

Powerful Posture – Idea # 21 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

posture

As leaders, whether or not we have titles, we affect the emotional states of the people around us.  An important way to serve team members is to consistently project positive emotions and thereby help others consistently register more positive emotions.

A very easy way to help improve our emotional state is to have good posture.  Good posture has one of the highest returns on investment of any simple leadership hacks.  Compared to the effort required to make the change, the payoff is tremendous.

Good posture improves our energy levels, brain function, and personal image, while simultaneously reducing stress.

Although in the short term it seems a lot easier to slouch, it actually takes a lot more energy to slouch than it does to have good posture.  This is because when our spine is erect, we’re only using a few small muscles to keep it erect and the weight of our upper body is supported by the spine itself.  We’re using bone instead of muscle.

One of the effects of having good posture is deeper breathing.  Try slouching for a second and notice how you breathe.  It’s shallow and mostly in the chest, right?

Now try sitting with good posture.  Although the spine isn’t rigid, it should feel as though a string is pulling us up by the crown of our head, and there should be a natural curve in the lower back.  Notice how with good posture we naturally breathe more deeply.  The breath originates in the belly and we take in a lot more air.

Breathing more deeply results in many health benefits, but I’d like to focus on three.  First, breathing more deeply results in more energy as the body gets more oxygen.  Second, because the brain is getting more oxygen, we are able to think better.  Third, when we breathe into the belly, we stimulate the vagus nerve, which counteracts stress by helping to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

Another effect of good posture is having shoulders that hang more naturally.  This helps us prevent tension in the neck and shoulders, which is where many of us hold a lot of tension, especially if we sit a lot during the day.

If you are practicing mindfulness (I hope you are), good posture has positive effects on that as well.  When we slouch, we are much more likely to be pulled into our thoughts and emotions.  It is much easier to be aware of our thinking and emotions when we have good posture.  Mindfulness also has a positive effect on posture, as we are much more likely to be aware of our posture if our practice of mindfulness in activity is solid.

Yet another effect of good posture is increased feelings of self confidence and appearing more confident and more attractive to the people around us (don’t team members deserve to have an attractive, confident leader?).  You can observe this quite readily both in yourself and others.  How do feel when you’re slouched?  How do you feel when you stand or sit up straight for 30 seconds or so?  How do you perceive others who are slouched versus those who walk, stand, and sit with good posture?

Stand Up!

If you spend a lot of time at a desk, the easiest way to immediately improve your posture during much of your day is to stand up.  It is almost impossible to stand for very long with bad posture, so this simple move essentially forces us to have good posture.

This doesn’t necessarily require an investment in a fancy standing desk or treadmill desk.  In my home office I simply put my laptop on top of a box that elevates the keyboard and mouse to about elbow level.  This is not only inexpensive and instant, it also made it easy to switch between standing and sitting when I first started standing while working. (Here are some other ways to make your own standing desk.)

Working at a standing desk helps us realize the benefits of good posture mentioned above and therefore better serve our teams.  Spending less time sitting also helps us in several others ways.

Prolonged sitting is now considered by many health experts to be as harmful as smoking.  Too much time sitting is linked to increased risk of certain types of cancer, increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, and even higher risk of depression.

As Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, was quoted saying in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting.  We are sitting ourselves to death.”

Taking Action

In addition to committing to working at a standing desk and sitting, standing, and walking with good posture, you might find it helpful to set some reminders for yourself regarding having good posture, and/or to tell someone that you are working on having better posture so that person can help remind you when you’re slouching.

I’d also like to hear any creative ideas you may have for incorporating good posture into our daily lives.

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Boost Sales: Be An Example Of Service – Idea # 20 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

example of service

Bridget is a project manager for a tech company called Qstream. Her role is essentially to create a strategy to implement technology that has already been purchased in a way that best meets the business needs of the client. She is not in a sales role.

However, Bridget sees her main purpose as doing whatever she can to best meet the needs of the client. In other words, she is “customer purposed.”

Because Bridget is customer purposed, she tends to go well beyond the requirements of her role. For instance, with a recent client, she spent a significant amount of time talking with people throughout organizations, working to uncover needs and thinking of ways to help.

The business results of her efforts to serve are striking. This particular account has grown from $25k to $1.5 million in two years.

What could your organization achieve if it was full of people like Bridget?

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Scott Edinger. Scott is the author of a new book called, The Hidden Leader, in which he offers proven ideas for building a culture that has more people like Bridget. The core idea I took away from our conversation is that a culture full of people like Bridget starts at the top with leaders who are more like Bridget.

When leaders consistently exemplify a few key traits it becomes much easier to find the hidden “Bridgets” within an organization because the leaders are more aware of what the key traits look like. Perhaps more important, when leaders consistently exemplify those key traits, they create an environment where the hidden “Bridgets” feel more comfortable behaving in ways aligned with these traits, and people who aren’t naturally like Bridget are more likely to become more like her.

Below are two of the key traits Scott mentioned.

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post.  To continue reading, please click here.

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Encourage “Special” Projects – Idea # 19 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

unusual talent

This week my wife, Leah, will be honored as the recipient of the Award for Creative Expression of Human Values in Neurology by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) at their annual conference.  She’s receiving the award as a result of an excellent poem she wrote, which was published in Neurology, a prestigious journal of the AAN.

Leah is quite an amazing woman.  As a medical doctor of neurology, one would assume that she is very well educated, which she is.  In addition to her MD degree, she has also completed a master’s degree program at Oxford University, as well as a fellowship in behavioral neurology, and she is currently working on a master’s degree in public health (she says she’s done after this).

It’s not her education alone that makes her amazing, though.  Although the list of what does make here amazing is very long, most relevant to this article are her talents.  She plays tennis quite well, she knits very well, she sings in the church choir, she draws and paints very well, and she’s skilled as a coxswain in the sport of rowing.  Also, as mentioned at the start of this article, she writes award-winning poetry in her spare time.

One day I was reflecting on all the things she does well, and it occurred to me that this may help explain why Leah is also an excellent doctor, who is building a reputation for being as skilled at working with challenging diagnoses as she is at interacting with patients in a way that helps them feel truly heard and cared for.

As I reflected on Leah’s many talents, it occurred to me that many people who are highly skilled at one thing, or perhaps even world class at one thing, are often highly skilled in other areas as well.  Some of these well-known people include:

  • Steve Martin – A talented comedian and actor who has also been nominated for Grammy Awards for his skill as a banjo player
  • Gina Davis – A talented actress who also almost made the US Olympic Team for the 2000 summer games with her skill in archery
  • Paul Robeson – A talented singer and actor who was also a professional athlete, writer, multi-lingual orator, and lawyer
  • Albert Schweitzer – A musician, theologian, physician, philosopher, peace activist, and humanitarian who won the Nobel Prize in 1952

and, perhaps the most renowned of all multi-talented people,

  • Benjamin Franklin – As written on his Wikipedia page, “A leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.”

Boosting Both Engagement and Creativity

Some other notable names on the list of multi-talented people are Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Asimov, Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, and Aristotle.  Each of these people had something in common besides being polymaths – they were all highly creative and they were innovators.

It seems that creativity is enhanced significantly when people are involved in a variety of unrelated activities.  Perhaps this allows different parts of the brain to activate and help a person make connections that other people don’t make.

A wonderful way to serve team members is to create an environment similar to what the notable polymaths above must have had.  We can do this by allowing people some time to combine their natural passions and talents with their work.  This clearly makes work more fun and boosts engagement, but it can also enhance creativity and the propensity for innovation.

One simple way to create a more stimulating environment would be to give team members some “flex time.”  Google has led the way with this idea, offering employees as much as 20% of their paid time to work on any project that interests them that is not in their job description.  Many of Google’s innovations have been borne as a result of pet projects started during flex time.

What are some ways you could allow team members to combine their passions and talents with their work?

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Image credit – http://www.qtgoldcoast.com.au/qt-life/art/contortionist-art/

Drop Your Agenda – Idea # 18 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

no agenda

Often times, I find myself heading into a meeting with other people with a very fixed agenda regarding what I’d like to see accomplished as a result of the meeting and, in many cases, ideas for how to achieve that goal.

I’m much more aware of this tendency than I used to be, but I still catch myself attaching to my agenda.  This can be quite problematic.  During team meetings, attaching to an agenda can close us down to the ideas of others, limiting the possibilities of what we can achieve.

However, creating as much space as possible for building a shared vision of the future fuels engagement around that vision, and increases and leverages the intelligence of the team.  Allowing team members to come up with their own solutions for how to achieve the shared vision further increases buy in, engagement, and accountability.

Of course, when meeting with a team, it is useful to have a reason for meeting in most cases.  In fact, it seems that many organizations have too many meetings without clearly defined objectives, and end up wasting a lot of time as a result.

What I am working on, and what I believe would be of great benefit to other leaders, is to:

  1. Drop my agenda for how we accomplish a goal
  2. Have more one-on-one meetings with no agenda whatsoever

Letting Go of the “How”

I’m working to be better at dropping my agenda for how a goal is accomplished.  One of the key traits I’ve noticed in the most successful leaders over the long term is that they are extremely comfortable creating a shared idea of “what” needs be done, and leaving the “how” completely up to the team member.

As I mentioned above, the results are higher levels of engagement and accountability, and also higher levels of fulfillment.  People tend to enjoy work much more when they have a greater sense of autonomy.

Meeting Just to Meet

My natural tendency for arranging a meeting with someone is to only arrange meetings when there is a clear idea of what we will get done as a result of the meeting.  I realize more and more, however, that although “getting things done,” is certainly important, it is not as important as developing and strengthening relationships with people.

I’ve noticed that life is certainly more fulfilling when I put people ahead of worldly accomplishment.  This also tends to be a more effective way, especially over the long term, to achieve worldly goals.  Nothing can be accomplished without the help of others.  No business survives without happy, loyal customers, and it’s almost impossible to keep happy loyal customers without happy, loyal employees.  We can’t even bring a strategy to life without people executing it.

Although I’m aware that building better bonds with people is certainly an important element of effective leadership, my goal in taking more time to meet with people just to meet is simply to enjoy connecting with another person in a purely human sense.  There is no agenda other than to simply be there as a friend and share time in a way that has nothing to do with work.

I don’t know if there is a magic ratio of how many purely personal meetings we need to have to counterbalance the work-related meetings.  (Do you know of such a ratio?  If so, please let me know.)  I think it’s important to just start somewhere, though, so I try to have such a connection with team members at least once every two weeks, and more often if there is something going on in a team member’s personal life that is challenging.

How often do you schedule one-on-one meetings with team members, or a group meeting, where there is no agenda other than to have a shared experience as human beings?

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Be A Healthy Device User – Idea # 17 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

Healthy smart phone use

 

It’s 10:00 p.m. and, trying to adhere to your New Year’s resolution to get more sleep (likely inspired by Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive), you’re getting into bed with the intention of going to sleep.

You set the alarm on your smart phone for 5:30 a.m. so you can adhere to your other New Year’s resolution to exercise each morning before starting work. Just as you reach from your bed to place your phone on the nightstand, you hear that “ding” or “dong” or some other sound that lets you know you’ve got an e-mail.

You know you’re expected to respond to work e-mails as quickly as possible so you check to see if it’s from work. It is. And, it’s annoying.

You calm down a bit, apply the necessary thought work to reply appropriately and hit “reply all.” For the next one and one-half hours you hear lots of “dings” and “dongs” as the conversation grows in intensity and finally winds down close to midnight. By the time you settle down from thinking about the conversation and getting over how annoyed you feel, it’s almost 1:00 in the morning.

Has something like this ever happened to you?

If you have a management role, have you ever created such a situation for team members?

As leaders, a simple way to show team members that we care about them is to allow their time away from work to actually be time away from work. We should allow people to have social lives and family lives that are made more rich by being free from having to do, or even think about, work.

This is actually a win-win for both team members and the organization. There is a large body of research suggesting that allowing people to relax when they’re away from work boosts productivity during working hours.

Those of us who realize that effectively serving and caring for team members is essential for long-term, sustainable performance certainly want to allow team members to completely unplug while they’re away from work. However, actually doing this can be very challenging.

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post.  To continue reading, please click here.

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Image credit: https://www.livingfuel.com

The Power of Asking Team Members How Well You Love Them – Idea # 16 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

lazy kangaroo

As leaders, we are usually required to give feedback to our team members on a regular basis. But it can often be challenging to get the feedback we need to grow. The more senior our position, the more challenging it can be to get feedback.

Of course, most of us receive lots of feedback from our direct supervisors about how we’re performing. This feedback is crucial for ensuring that we’re on track to leading our team to achieve the goals that are important to our organizations.

Just as important, and perhaps even more so over the long-term, is to get feedback from our team members on how we’re doing as leaders.

In many cases, especially in organizations in which senior leadership “manages by the numbers,” by the time we get feedback from our supervisors it’s very difficult to get things back on track. If we’re told that we’re not achieving the numbers we need to achieve, it’s because we haven’t created and sustained a team culture that allows the members of our team to thrive.

By the time the effects of an average or poor team culture can be seen in the numbers, transforming the culture might be a significant challenge. It could take a long time to reestablish trust, communication, and the positive emotional climate that is essential for sustainable performance.

A simple way to avoid this fate is to regularly request anonymous (whenever possible) feedback from our direct reports regarding how well we are serving and caring for the members of our teams and living the core values of our organizations.

This is a great way, in and of itself, to serve the members of the teams we lead.

By simply asking for feedback about how well we are serving and caring for team members and living the values, we send the message that we care about our team members and about living our core values. If we take action on the feedback we receive, it sends an even stronger message communicating that we truly care about these essential aspects of effective leadership.

Below are the questions I ask to get feedback on how well I’m serving and caring for team members and living our core values.  Essentially, I’m asking, “How well do I love you?”

How often do you ask for feedback?

What are the questions you ask?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Team Survey
Please rate Matt on a scale of 1-5 regarding how often he exhibits the behaviors questioned below. The questions are organized via our core values.

1 = Never

2 = Rarely

3 = Sometimes

4 = Often

5 = Consistently

Serving the Greater Good: Our focus is serving the greater good, not accumulating wealth. We use revenue not as a means to accumulate wealth and possessions, but as a way to meet our basic needs and make a greater impact in the world. We believe that we can realize extraordinary business outcomes and a more fulfilling life by focusing on making the greatest positive impact on the people around us and on the world in general.

1. How often does Matt prioritize applying business revenue to growing the impact of our company ahead of applying it for personal gain?

Long-term Success: We are focused on building a sustainable organization that will be able to serve the greater good for many years. Although we set and pay attention to short-term goals and metrics, we do not allow short-term goals and metrics to take precedence of over long-term success.

2. How often does Matt prioritize the long-term success of the company over short-term wins?

People First: All business success is dependent upon people and healthy relationships with people inside our organization, as well as customers, vendors, our community, and other organizations doing similar work. We aspire to always put people ahead of short-term wins, and to treat all people with respect, kindness, and compassion. We look to create win-win solutions at all times.

3. How often does Matt treat you with respect?

4. How often does Matt treat you with kindness?

5. How often does Matt offer you compassion?

6. How often does Matt look to create win-win solutions for clients?

7. How often does Matt look to create win-win solutions for you and the organization?

8. How often does Matt consider and care about your legitimate needs?

Excellence: Motivated by our aspiration to be of greatest service to others, we aspire to grow each and every day both personally and professionally. We believe that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well, so we aspire to maintain a high standard of excellence in all that we do.

9. How often does Matt inspire you to purse excellence in all that you do?

10. How often does Matt set clear expectations for tasks?

11. How often does Matt clearly define what success looks like?

12. How often does Matt ensure that you have everything you need to complete tasks?

Happiness: We believe that our own happiness is a powerful tool for serving both ourselves and others. We aspire to develop true happiness, which is not dependent upon external factors like money, fame, power, possessions, or entertainment. We aspire to spend adequate time nourishing true happiness.

13. How often does Matt make you feel as though your happiness is important to him?

Right Speech: We understand that without open, honest, helpful communication, trust cannot exist. Without trust, success is not possible. We aspire to maintain strong, healthy lines of communication.

14. How often does Matt make you feel truly heard?

15. How often is Matt’s communication internal to the organization completely open?

16. How often is Matt’s communication external to the organization completely open?

17. How often is Matt’s communication completely honest, even at the most subtle levels, internal to the organization?

18. How often is Matt’s communication completely honest, even at the most subtle levels, external to the organization?

19. How often is Matt’s communication kind and helpful internal to the organization?

20. How often is Matt’s communication kind and helpful external to the organization?

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Cultivate the Most Important Leadership Skill – Idea # 15 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

leadership skills

There are so many aspects to effectively leading others. Have you ever felt overwhelmed just thinking about where to begin?

For instance, we know that we need good business acumen, but we also need to have the emotional intelligence that allows us to effectively serve and care for team members. We also need to be competent, and we need to be able to inspire others with a positive vision of the future.

What’s the most important of these? How should we prioritize our time and energy?

What if there was a single skill that helped us improve every aspect of being leader — a meta-skill that influenced all the others?

Wouldn’t that be the most important skill to develop?

There is such a skill. It is self-awareness.

This is the most crucial skill there is for leadership (and for life in general) and I believe that the vast majority of people have likely reached less than five percent of their potential for self-awareness ability.

Why Self-Awareness Is So Crucial

This post was originally published on the Huffington Post.  To continue reading, please click here.

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Commit to Train Emotional Intelligence – Idea # 14 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

emotions

I like to define emotional intelligence (EQ) in the broad sense as a combination of self-mastery and people skills.  By mastering our inner world, we are better able to influence the emotional states of those around us in positive ways.

Over the last 15 years, as a result of the bestselling book of the same name by Daniel Goleman, “emotional intelligence” has become one of the most common buzz words in the business world.

An abundance of research has been published suggesting that EQ is the most important skill for leaders to develop.  Daniel Goleman’s research suggests that EQ actually predicts stellar performance twice as often as IQ does.  Goleman’s research also suggests that for senior leaders EQ accounts for roughly 90% of the differences between stellar performers and those that are average.

As we would expect when there is so much written about a topic, and it is touted as being the most important skill to develop, there has been some backlash.

Studies have been conducted suggesting that EQ isn’t really that important in many situations.

Who is right?

I don’t think we need research to help us realize how important emotional intelligence is.  It’s actually quite intuitive.

Let’s imagine two hypothetical companies, company A and company B.

The leaders of both companies have relatively similar business acumen.  They have relatively similar levels of competence and intelligence.

However, at company B, the leaders aren’t able to create and sustain a positive emotional climate.  The culture is quite toxic.  Negative emotions like anger and anxiety are the norm.  People don’t enjoy coming to work.  They come in, do enough to keep their jobs, and go home.

At company A, the leaders are able to sustain a culture where positive emotions reign.  People are happy, inspired, and feel cared for by their leaders and their co-workers.  Communication is open and robust. People truly enjoy coming to work.

Which company would you imagine is the better performer, especially over the long-term?  There’s no question about this, is there?

Of course, in the short term, company B may outperform company A if they have a dominant market share or some other factor that allows them to generate a lot capital.

But, at company B, workplace metrics like quality, innovation, and customer service will all be significantly worse than a company A.  Over time this will create a huge disadvantage for company B.

Company A will be able to attract and retain people much more easily.  This will result in better workplace performance and lower costs due to the expense of high turnover.

Emotional intelligence is what allows the leaders at company A to achieve better long-term success as leaders.

Is competency important?  Are cognitive skills like creative problem solving and analytical ability important?  Of course.  In fact, these skills are required to be promoted to a leadership position in the first place.  Technical and cognitive skills are essentially a ticket that allows us to have a chance to get in the leadership game.

What Daniel Goleman’s research suggests, and what intuition tells as well, is that while technical skills and cognitive ability can help us get into the leadership game, they’re not what’s most important for long term leadership success.

For those of us who aspire to be highly effective leaders who can consistently serve and care for team members, EQ is what helps us close the gap between aspiring to effectively serve team members and actually doing it on a consistent basis.

The good news is that EQ is highly trainable.  We can train to change our brains in ways that make us more emotionally intelligent.

If we aspire to be highly effective leaders who can serve and inspire greatness in others, we should commit to a well-structured plan for training in emotional intelligence skills.

This topic of EQ is so essential to leadership success that I will be devoting numerous posts the topic of EQ over the coming months.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Can you think of examples where a technically proficient, smart person failed when promoted to a leadership position simply because she or he lacked emotional intelligence?

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An Inspiring Metric for Leadership Success – Idea # 13 of 101 Ways to Better Serve Team Members

lifting someone up

In Serve to Be Great, and in a recent post on this blog, I wrote about the importance of “measuring the right things.

The best leaders over the long term tend to place equal or greater emphasis on measuring the degree to which they serve and care for team members than the emphasis they place on numbers.  These leaders realize that by serving and caring for the people on their teams, they are helping to ensure that the numbers are taken care of.

Of all the metrics we could establish for how well we serve and care for team members, one of the most impactful is the growth of our team members.

At a strategic level, a metric could be as simple as asking the question, “How much did the person on my team grow professionally and personally, as a result of working on our team?”

Upon further reflection, it seems as though getting this aspect of leadership right would influence every other metric in a positive way.

When growth is a metric, each of the following are taken care of:

  • We inspire a person to achieve excellence and we help them to achieve it. Thus, we facilitate the individual’s peak performance.
  • We develop the spirit of teamwork, which helps the team achieve better performance.
  • We help the person develop personal qualities that will ensure their success both with our team and beyond; qualities like kindness, patience, compassion, empathy, and good listening.

In short, we work to help the team member become the best version of herself that she can possibly become, and this is a win-win-win-win.  This benefits us, her, our organization, and our community in general.

This approach also builds trust and loyalty.  Imagine working for a boss who cares just as much, or more, about you and your growth as a person as she does about what you can produce for the team.  Isn’t that someone for whom you would go the extra mile?

Tactically, the metric of growth becomes a little more challenging.  Measuring growth isn’t incredibly easy.  Also, we can’t make a person grow.  We can only facilitate the process.

A good exercise to help with this effort is to sit down and think of all the areas where the team member could grow both personally and professionally.  I recommend focusing on areas where the team member is strong and leveraging those strengths to help bring any areas of weakness up to the point where the team member could at least be average in that area.

The next step would be to discover what’s important to the team member and where he wants to go in both the short and long term, and both personally and professionally.  If you’ve already conducted the “How can I serve you?” meeting, you already have this information.

Once we know what’s important to a team member, and where he wants to go, we can construct both a plan and metrics for helping the person grow in the areas he’ll need to grow in to accomplish his goals.  It will also be much easier to align any areas of growth we would like to see with what the team member values.  If we combine this with involving the team member in building a plan for development, we can achieve a lot of buy in, which is essential for success.

Please leave me a comment below if you apply these ideas.  I’d love to hear about your experience.

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