Working with a client group recently and the question came up, “How can I find time to develop people while running my business?”
You can develop and be in constant training mode with your employees as long as you are willing to stay engaged, communicate fully and constantly ask great questions. Training can be a big event and it can also be a series of intentional moments.
From the first encounter in orientation all the way through the entire employment lifecycle of the employee, your job as the EI Leader is to train, coach, train, coach and train and coach some more.
Here are the steps:
- Communicate and clarify expectations.
- A+B=C and must be done in this timeframe. This is communicated with positivity from day one. Don’t make assumptions that your unconscious competence does not need explanation. It does.
- Check in to make sure your communication has landed and is understood.
- Ask your employee to repeat back or demonstrate what they’ve just heard. If they are accurate, that’s great. If not, re-communicate what you want them to know and adjust to their style as you are able.
- Focus on the outcome or the result of the expectation.
- People want to know the why and what of the thing you are requesting of them. Make sure to link the training to the results and answer the “why” question. Why is this expectation important to your employee? Remember to answer the “what’s in it for me” question.
- Get into the habit of asking questions all the time – this ensures that everybody “gets it”.
- It may feel awkward at first, but your employees will come to expect the next great question. It will help to stimulate engagement in the activity.
- Use the side by side method to help employees learn or upgrade a skill.
- At a desk, in front of the customer, at the host stand…wherever you have the opportunity to stand next to your employee, use it as an opportunity to do a little training or coaching. How about a turn-around…why not ask the employee to train you? It’s a great way to ensure that they are meeting expectations.
- Communicate the “miss” and ensure a hit by identifying the impact on the desired result.
- When there is a “miss” on the expectation, communicate it factually and immediately. No judgments or opinions, simply focus on the behavior and the standard and then communicate the impact of meeting and missing the standard. Make sure to offer your belief that your employee will be able to correct the error.
And, finally….remember the old adage, “If you think you can’t, your right and if you think you can, you’re right, too.” You always make time for the most important things. Make training important, and time will expand for all good things.
photo credit: © Oscar1319 | Dreamstime Stock Photos
We teach people how to treat us.
This is especially harmful when we throw on our hero cape and step in front of a natural consequence which is about to occur for someone else.
Rainstorm is about to arrive and the bikes are outside.
- Thought Process: It’s so much easier for you to put them in the garage rather than yell for your child to do so.
- Conditioned response: Child learns not to worry because Mom will take care of it.
- Long-term consequence: The child may never learn to the value of his belongings.
- Longer term consequence: Eventually Mom gets resentful and critical; child becomes dependent or disdainful and a barrier is erected in the relationship.
Rainstorm is about to arrive and the bikes are outside.
- Thought Process: You support your child by reminding him that his bike should be put into the garage.
- Response: Child does not take accountable action.
- Consequence: Bike is rained on, may rust and may be unusable.
- Long-term consequence: Child lives with the consequence of his inaction and, hopefully, learns from the loss.
- Longer term consequence: Child learns to take care of things that he cares about without relying on Mom.
Why the parenting lesson?
From a leadership perspective, it’s important to see where you are conditioning your followers by your own action or inaction. Conditioned behavior is usually a trained response to certain situations or stimuli that becomes virtually automatic.
If they always come to you for approval, are they being conditioned for reliance?
If they continually fail to achieve goals and objectives, are they being conditioned for a tacit approval that accountability is not required?
If you find you have more decisions on your plate day after day, have your employees been conditioned to not think through critical outcomes and rather rely on your brain, not theirs?
If any of this sounds familiar to you, I ask you to take a look at the behavior you are tolerating, turning a blind eye to, reluctant to confront, or unwilling to let go of in yourself. Remember, you teach others how to treat you – even if that behavior you are teaching is reliance.
It’s lonely at the top if you don’t involve others. Emotionally Intelligent Leaders insist on accountability and let go of the reigns often.
Take off the hero cape – that darn cape is slapping you in the face.
There were torrential downpours last week in the area of the U.S. which I live. Spring showers on steroids, it poured and poured. I love the rain and I love a good thunderstorm. So I was feeling cozy in my house with a quick check of the basement to make sure it was dry, and we all headed off to bed.
Come morning, the quick check of the basement came with a shock as I stepped into two feet of water. Stress, obstacle, problem, adversity were all rolled into one as I realized that my one precious item – the family photos – were likely floating in the river that was once my basement.
As the adrenaline kicked in, I started to shake and then moved into decisive action. Waking my son up to help move the boxes to higher ground, I marshalled resources to pump the water and obtained floor covering and then set about placing the photos on every available area in my home. I’m happy to say the photos were saved. I can’t say the same of many of the other items. In the moment of crisis, I made a decision. I’m happy with it.
Long story short, one of the key leadership skills of emotional intelligence is resilience. Resilience is forged through challenge and adversity. How do you know how you’ll respond at heightened levels of stress and obstacle? You don’t. The only thing you can do is to prepare by embracing the skills and tools that create YOU – the emotionally intelligent leader.
Most anyone can become emotionally resilient with practice. It requires that you become aware of how you respond and what emotions get activated with stress, perceived disaster, danger, confrontation or seeming failure.
Your perception of the situation creates emotions. If you have practiced the art of recognizing your emotions and default behaviors, you can manage the emotions and avoid the knee jerk response. This means you can focus on purpose and what is truly important.
Some things to consider in challenging times:
- Problems are really opportunities for learning and course correcting.
- Reframing the situation to find the learning or the true perfection in it creates massive growth.
- Humor and optimism help.
- Reaching for what you can influence and then letting go of the rest creates focus.
- Avoiding blame of self, others or circumstances can create a swifter pathway for decision making.
- Feel your feelings (I had a good 5-minute cry!) but don’t let the feelings immobilize you.
Remember that resilience means to bounce back. When all else fails, sing an old tune:
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again!
I love to watch the flight attendants when I fly. The ability to provide efficient and quick service while maintaining friendliness and watchfulness reminds me of a well-orchestrated ballet.
On a recent flight from San Diego to Chicago, I was watching one particular attendant as she took care of the requisite drink orders. When delivery time came, I observed the careful way in which she distributed the drinks.
I was fascinated by the handoff. Each time as she carefully lifted the drink, she would make contact with the hand of the recipient, ensure the stability and pause for a moment to inspect the result of the connection. The follow through required that the receiver indicate in some way that the cup was safely in their hand. For a simple operation, this was a multi-step and intentional process. And the clincher was in the handoff.
Got me to thinking about how we handoff to our teams and to our customers. Where are we succeeding with an intentional handoff and where are we missing a beat with a sloppy one?
What does an intentional and emotionally intelligent leader need to consider in the handoff?
It begins with the original intent or order:
- What is needed
- How will it be delivered
- How will you ensure it’s delivered as required
- What will get in your way
It continues with preparation:
- Review the needs
- Create process and order
- Address obstacles
- Check in for clarification or feedback if needed
It succeeds with the handoff:
- Have I met the needs?
- Have I secured the handoff?
- Have I inspected the results?
- Do I have the feedback that I need?
Whether delegating to an employee or handing off a requested product or service, remember the lesson of the flight attendant and pay attention to the details of the handoff. You will know, in the moment, if you have been successful or not.
Where do you need to sharpen your delegation or product handoff? What steps will you take right now?
In the last blog post, we talked about the state of today’s workforce engagement. Remember that Gallup revealed less than 30% of your employees are engaged with your company?
This presents a great opportunity for all of us to step up as Emotionally Intelligent Leaders. A good many of the reasons for the disengagement could be addressed with the active management of emotions, the constancy of communication and the willingness to ease up on command and control.
Let’s look at the 30/40/30 rule as it applies to discretionary effort and engagement.
- 30% of your employees are your champions. They are your positive mouthpiece on Glassdoor. They are your ambassadors of hiring. They are those who work the corporate objectives with purpose and passion.
- 30% of your employees are actively disengaged with you. They don’t care. They are posting the poor reviews on employment sites. They steer people away from the company. They bog things down. They hate you.
- 40% are on the fence, using nominal discretionary effort, but waiting to see which side wins.
On which percentage group should you focus?
Most of us, admittedly, focus on the bottom 30%. They eat up our time with reprimands, coaching, cajoling, re-do’s, re-explanations. OK, you get the picture. They take a lot of time to manage – and what are we really managing but the bad PR and ill-will? t is an awful energy suck. Interestingly, if you were looking at your business customers, wouldn’t it be beneficial to release and let go of the bottom percentage who take up all of your time? Great consulting practices regularly fire the bottom 10% annually to make room at the top.
Perhaps you say we should focus on the middle? Yes, but not yet.
Although counter-intuitive because many of them are so self-sufficient and high-producing, the group that requires the most attention is the top 30%. It’s a special kind of attention:
- Recognition of a job well done
- Regular coaching to break through the next set of barriers
- The awarding of higher profile assignments
- Constant feedback for improvement – always offered in the spirit of “you can do it”
- Allowing the learning to come from the mistakes incurred by this group – they are the de-facto teachers through their effort
- Setting an environment where this group of leaders can interact with and spark each other
Who is watching this? Yep. That middle 40%. They start to notice that the top 30% are winning and that side begins to look more attractive. This is when you can start to pay a little bit more attention to that middle group. Who is willing to step up? Who is willing to be a teacher from his or her own mistakes? Who starts sitting at the table with the “in crowd?” Emotionally Intelligent Leader that you are, you will see who is ready to move and you then can coach, communicate and connect to create that movement.
The teeter totter starts to tip towards the engagement crowd.
On the back-end, you are watching the disengaged. Some of them will cross over to the mid-section. A few, who have found their inner light once again, may even find themselves in the top 30%. Celebrate. There are no “I told you so’s” here.
Those that remain will either opt out on their own because the environment has changed and they can’t prevail or will be deselected by you. All without fanfare or drama. Because…the rest of the group is looking in the other direction.
From a leadership perspective, you have to be drama-proof and purposeful. Neutral (described as passionate, purposeful, and unhooked by my, or other’s emotions) is the preferred stance. And you must be constantly banging the drum of culture, communication, commitment, connection.
Not only banging the drum…but doing the dance, too!
To take the first step toward re-engaging your team sign up to receive my complimentary audio workshop “The 5 REAL Reasons Your Team is Not Engaged (and it’s not what you think)” CLICK HERE.