Leadership Consistency

                           Last night I was watching a football game with a buddy. The conversation lead to a problem he was having with the management where he works. This issue was a source of frustration to him and his co-workers. So I felt the topic was worthy of a blog.
The issue was inconsistency by the leadership. The lack of consistency included shift to shift variations, and manager vs. manager challenges. Even hour to hour fluctuations of the shift supervisor’s attitude toward the workers were creating problems.
The leadership role can be stressful but the best leaders don’t let that pressure spill over to their team members. There are many different management styles. Your staff will be most productive when the leadership can channel their varied styles toward a common set of goals.
Personalities of people can vary greatly, but as a leader it is best to be as consistent as possible while interacting with your employees. Leaders that are stoic or happy go lucky can both be successful. If those leaders are consistent with their behavior the group will adjust. Leaders whose personalities swing from one end of the spectrum to the other during a relatively short period of time frustrate their employees. That creates a situation where the leader is much less effective.
Consistency regarding a manager vs. manager is important to the organization, the employees, and the creditability of the management team. The leadership provides the vision, culture, and expectations of the organization. That makes the communication and implementation of standards among the management team the job of leadership.
Leaders that coach the management team properly will achieve consistent results. Those consistent results are needed to achieve the culture, vision, and expectations successful leaders. The team members receive a consistent set of directions and the management team is perceived as unified. This makes life easier for the employees and promotes credibility among the leadership group.


Leadership Feedback

  When a leader detects a problem with one or more team members it becomes the leader’s job to inspire a solution.  The team members should be presented solutions to resolve the issue that are concrete, measurable, and meaningful.

Many leaders avoid the potentially uncomfortable situations created by giving feedback.  That allows problems to grow.  It also denies the team members the possibility to improve.  Effective leaders realize that part of the job is to challenge the growth of team members through mentoring their productivity and efficiency.

Feedback should not be an uncomfortable situation if done properly.  A leader that has been listening to the group and consistently gives feedback both positive and constructive will have an easier task.  Feedback either negative or positive should be specific, sincere a meaningful to the recipient.  Insure that the feedback is informative.  The leadership’s role is not to prove that they are superior or more knowledgeable it is to shine light on the solution.

Leaders that avoid giving feedback because they hope to dodge a potentially uncomfortable situation are not doing justice to their team or the organization.  Those leaders also are damaging their own reputation. The team may perceive that leader as spineless.  Lack of proper feedback can lead to a makeany feedback going forward is not only inconsistent but also uncomfortable.

The best leaders are not always nice but they should always be fair.  Team members will be more open minded to regular coaching and feedback with the occasional tough conversation thrown in.  Feedback should be based on recent observations and include specific coaching on how they can improve going forward.  The more current the feedback the easier it is to correct the issue.  It is important in today’s economic climate to not only provide validation when a job is well done but to also improve any performance issues as soon as possible

Leadership vs. Management

        Management involves handling the intricacies of the daily operations of a business.  Effective management establishes consistent policies designed to achieve the goals of the organization.  Managers are responsible for following through on those plans and producing the desired results.

Leadership has the responsibility of establishing the direction of the organization.  Leadership’s role includes having the vision required to navigate changes in the industry.  Effective leaders have the insight to anticipate those changes and keep their company several steps ahead of the competition.  That vision must be communicated to the entire team in a manner that inspires success.

Management has the responsibility of implementing the vision of leadership by supervising the operations of the organization.  These lines often become blurred because some leaders feel the need to manage.  Many managers inspire employee’s loyalty and performance because they are effective leaders.

The roles of leadership and management are vital to the success of the organization.  When the leadership of an organization has placed the proper people in management roles it is important that those managers are trusted to do their jobs.  That allows the leader the time require to do
their own job.  When the leader also takes on the management role the integrity and authority of the management team is diminished.

The leadership has the enormous task of anticipating the industry trend and exploring new opportunities to grow the company.  Today’s business environment is changes quickly and is impacted by global events more than ever.  The combination that works best is a leader focused on his role complimented by a management team that inspires the employees to generate the required results

Leadership Accessibility

It is important for a leader to remain accessible to his team.  That means being physically present as well as being receptive to conversations with the team members.  The manager that is seldom on site or stays locked up in their office reduces their connection with the group.  This disconnection can limit a leader’s effectiveness in many ways.

Limited interaction with the employees results in a greater dependence on others to evaluate the staff.  A reduction in direct interaction and
communication with team members lowers the accuracy assessing the company’s collective levels of knowledge, skills and abilities.  A leader that frequently interacts with his employees has a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the personnel.

It is important to not only be physically present but also accessible and open to dialogue.  Great leaders hire great people.  Accessibility allows access to valuable feedback from those on the front line.  That access can offer a number of benefits including cost saving ideas, increased
productivity and loyalty. The greater the number of levels in the communication process the less effective the message.  Direct interaction between leadership and the employees can create better conflict resolution and opportunities to possible avoid lawsuits.

Leaders that establish a relationship with their team can provide an example of the company’s culture and provide the inspiration that builds winning teams.  The actions of the leadership group will become positive re-enforcement the goals and standards of the organization.  Accessibility demonstrates these standards on a regular basis and soon will be adopted by the entire team.




The Value of Incentive Programs to the Organization

 Who does not like being recognized for their efforts and a job well done?  Incentive programs can be used to acknowledge a number of positive behaviors.  That may be a one-time reward for reaching a desired goal or it can be recognition for excellent performance over time.  These programs go a long way when it comes to building a winning team.

There are three standard types of awards that can be utilized.  Performance awards acknowledge the achievement of a goal that had been established and is clearly measurable.  Recognition awards identify team members that have demonstrated actions that are key to the organizations standards and success.  Service awards are generally given to employees to honor their contributions to the organization over time.

The organization benefits from these programs in many areas.  It allows the company an opportunity to recognize the performance and efforts of the team members.  Opportunities are created to improve customer service.  Many incentive programs incorporate a component that drives increases in sales.  An incentive program that is clearly measurable and communicated properly to the employees can also be structured in a manner that encourages teamwork.

A program that is fair to all the participants and provides a clear signal that the organization is willing to share its profits can increase morale among the group.  The ability to earn some extra cash through employee performance incentives also strengthens employee loyalty and retention. 

Improvements in the areas of attendance and safety are also ways that the organization can benefit from employee incentive programs.  No matter what type of incentive program that a company selects is important that it be perceived as fair and the award should be significant enough to generate interest.

Passion, Or Is That a Smoke Stack Sticking out of Your Ass?

If I hear one more person talk about their passion I’m going to puke.  Does a good comedian need to tell you they are funny?  I just cannot picture a Nobel Prize winner having to state how smart they are during their acceptance speech.

The same concept applies to passion.  If you are truly passionate about something it should be clear by your actions.  Those around you will know all about your passion without being told.

Dictionary defines: Passion

n.1: a strong feeling esp. of anger, love, or desire

2: object of affection or enthusiasm.

It’s interesting that the only word that applies to leadership is the last one listed in the definition: enthusiasm.  As a leader enthusiasm is important so is sincerity, credibility, and creativity.  A leader needs to consistently demonstrate enthusiasm by letting their actions do the talking. Establish a clear set of goals.  Get the rest of your team involved.  Celebrate the successes of your group.

A great leader makes success look smooth and almost effortless.  They are happy and health with a balance in life that inspires others.  When the
desired result are achieved and credibility is maintained then enthusiasm spreads among the entire team.  Employees like to work for those leaders and it promotes a greater level of pride in the organization.

A leader that has proved that he sincerely cares for his team will find his actions rewarded.  I would not under estimate the insight of your employees.  Employees spend a lot of time at work and they most likely do a good job of evaluating the enthusiasm, sincerity, and credibility of their boss.  The best policy for a leader is to walk the walk rather than blowing a bunch of smoke.

Conflict Resolution

When faced with employee conflict resolution experience has taught me several important lessons. It is important to listen, document and remain impartial.
The parties involved in the conflict can usually make compelling cases for their actions. By listening to each party you let them get the issues out on the table. It is very important that both employees know that they are being heard, that the situation is important and it will be followed up on.
Documentation needs to be thorough. The details of the event should be written down and the employee’s signatures and the date of the event recorded. This may be in the form of a written warning if required or just a description of the events. The employees should be clearly coached on the behavior expected, and consequences of similar behavior should be included in the documents both parties sign.
It is important to remain impartial. The manager’s job is to document and resolve not to judge. Experience has taught me that if one party was responsible a paper trail will most likely develop. If both parties are treated fairly and one of those involved has another issue with additional employees the common denominator becomes clear. If Bob has a problem with Joe, then with Sue, then Fred is not hard to identify that Bob is the problem. For the health of the group an employee who is the source of conflict needs to be terminated if documentation and coaching is not enough.
The manager also has the responsibility of identifying factor of the operation that may have contributed to the conflict. Is there something that the management did to contribute to the situation such as improper staffing levels or other sources of pressure? All of the parties involved need to be held accountable for their behavior and steps should be taken to eliminate future conflicts. Proper conflict resolution is a key part of building a winning team.