Effective leadership requires training and skills, regardless of the leader's character. However, their ability to carry out orders and ensure the team's goals are met necessitates a positive aspect of their character. The key aspect of their character that must be commendable is their ability to execute tasks efficiently and effectively.
Leadership is pervasive in various aspects of our lives. We encounter government leaders, parents, and leaders from other countries who impact us. Companies we rely on for our purchases have their own leaders. Even sports teams have leaders. Leadership is undeniably crucial in our career development.
When assuming a leadership position, it is essential to take a moment to reflect on your intentions with your team. If your intention is to bully or mistreat others, or to vent personal frustrations on them, it will ultimately disrupt the operation and lead to the end of your leadership. In the Star Wars series, Darth Vader serves as an example of a leader constantly driven by revenge and the desire for control, and his life eventually comes to an end. The antagonist is typically ousted in such scenarios. Instead, your intention as a leader should be to serve the mission and purpose of the job, ensuring alignment with efficiency and avoiding harm to others. Furthermore, as a leader, it is crucial to avoid creating conflict, which only generates unnecessary anxiety. How you lead is pivotal not only for the success of the business but also for your own happiness and the well-being of those you lead.
What Good Leadership Begins With
Good leadership begins with understanding the individuals you're leading. If you have two people who are not performing up to par, it's important to be aware of that. In such situations, starting the day with a team huddle can be advisable. When you have a great team, you don't have to say much; you can simply acknowledge their abilities and motivate them to excel. However, if you're leading a team of underperformers, instead of reminding them of their shortcomings, provide them with motivation to improve.
You could say something like, "Team, today is incredibly important because we have been entrusted with significant responsibilities. I firmly believe that we can succeed and prove ourselves as the best team in this company. I am here to support you, so if you encounter any problems or if anything I say makes you anxious, please come to me without hesitation. Don't be afraid to communicate with me."
Systems should be established in a way that allows even a subpar leader to succeed. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, making good leadership even more crucial. To comprehend human nature, it's important to recognize that while we are all here to work, nobody enjoys taking orders from others. It somewhat goes against our natural inclinations as humans. However, we learn to cope with it, as long as we are spoken to respectfully and without disrespect. Feeling disrespected can lead to resentment among team members, which ultimately affects their attitude, customer interactions, and overall dedication to their tasks.
Naturally, there will always be some employees who don't care about their job, regardless of the circumstances. It falls upon upper management to identify those individuals within the system and address the issue. In the meantime, we must acknowledge that we will be surrounded by both hardworking individuals and those who may pose challenges. Good leadership is about effectively navigating such situations, ensuring that they don't impede our ability to lead, whether through support or, if necessary, decisive action.
Triggering Negative Emotions in Each Other
It's not that people get triggered because they have work to do; they understand their responsibilities in the workplace. Rather, they get triggered when they perceive that leadership is targeting them or when communication lacks a respectful tone. It's important to consider how you communicate with others and ensure that it is done in a way that is critically important.
When things are calm, maintain a calm tone while giving orders. However, if the situation becomes stressful, such as when there are many customers and something is going wrong, it's acceptable to convey a sense of urgency as long as you explain it to the person and acknowledge that you feel the urgency. For instance, if the situation becomes urgent in the store, it's helpful to address the team by saying, "There are a few problems happening, guys, so I might sound a bit more stressed. Please forgive me in advance."
Avoid asking coworkers for favors. Instead, be direct and say something like, "Please clean the three-compartment sink." Follow up immediately with a "please" and "thank you" to ensure your appreciation is heard. Making direct eye contact when making such requests is beneficial to avoid appearing indecisive or passive.
After the staff member cleans the three-compartment sink, if the circumstances allow, it's important to express gratitude and acknowledge a job well done. However, if they performed poorly, that may not be the appropriate moment to correct them. Instead, you can report their performance to your superiors, noting that you asked them to clean the sink, they were responsive, but their execution was lacking. This feedback can serve as a basis for future training if it's within your role to provide it. When training them, choose a suitable time and ensure the training is clear and compassionate.
Leaders Feel Added Stress
As a leader, it's natural to feel stressed about operational issues at times. However, when your anxiety levels rise, it's important to be self-aware and recognize if you unintentionally take it out on others. Notice signs such as increased stress, shallow breathing, muffled voice, or unclear commands. Take a few deep breaths, acknowledge that problems are part of the business, and look for the best ways to solve them. Remember that using the correct tone of communication, with frequent use of "please" and "thank you," often alleviates problems rather than exacerbating them. A leader understands that any issues within the operation are their responsibility, even if they were caused by the company. They should already be considering solutions to rectify those problems.
Leadership Should Not Feel Like Bossyness
Leadership should not be perceived as a hierarchical and authoritative position. Instead, leaders should strive to create an environment where subordinates feel supported and guided by experienced individuals who genuinely care about their success. The goal is to foster a sense of teamwork, where leaders actively assist their team members in accomplishing their tasks and achieving their goals.
When a leader approaches their role in this way, it creates a collaborative atmosphere where everyone feels valued and empowered. Subordinates should feel comfortable seeking guidance and support from their leaders, knowing that they are there to help them navigate challenges and achieve success.
By adopting a supportive and team-oriented approach, leaders can build strong relationships with their subordinates, leading to increased trust, motivation, and productivity within the team. It's important for leaders to prioritize the growth and development of their team members, acting as mentors and facilitators rather than simply issuing commands.
Ultimately, effective leadership should create an atmosphere where individuals feel supported, motivated, and inspired to give their best effort in accomplishing their tasks and contributing to the overall success of the team.
LeaderShip Plans Ahead For Adversity And Knows How To Lead Through It
Imagine a basketball coach on the sideline yelling at her key player to shoot three-pointers during the game. The player has been trained to hear the coach's voice and, in the heat of the action, may have momentarily forgotten to take those shots. The coach's yelling serves as a reminder, and the player instinctively shoots and scores, leading the team to victory.
However, if the coach is doing her job correctly, she would have communicated this expectation to the player before the game. She would have looked the player in the eyes and had a moment of understanding. The player would be aware that the coach might yell at them to shoot three-pointers during the game.
How Does The Team Perceive You?
Another crucial aspect of leadership is understanding how the staff perceives you. For instance, it might be easier for me to give commands because I have an intimidating appearance, covered in tattoos with a shaved head, and a wealth of experience. I command respect, but I also treat the staff with respect, making it easier for them to take orders from me.
Suppose two people were hired together, both excelling at their jobs, but only one of them was promoted to the next level of management. The person who didn't advance may feel disrespected, jealous, and angry. A good leader should anticipate these emotions in the person they're leading and think to themselves, "In order to help this person succeed and fulfill their tasks, I need to convey that I am here to support them, not just push them around."
You Are The Leader of A Ship in High-Seas
I often repeat a phrase that may sound foolish, but I don't care because it holds immense significance: if you don't hold a vision of what you're leading in your mind, you cannot win.
In my mind, I envision myself on a boat when I enter the store—a boat in motion, relying on a million systems to avoid sinking and to provide clean water, fresh air, and functioning toilets. There are countless metaphors that align with what we're doing.
This visualization makes it easy for me to remind myself that if I don't steer this boat as if we're in a constant storm, I might overlook an iceberg and cause the boat to crash, sink, and result in our demise. I apologize for my intensity, but winning is my goal, and I recommend embracing intensity if you want to succeed. However, that doesn't mean we should be unkind or lack compassion. On the contrary, because we understand that we're leading a boat that can sink, endangering us all, we must be clear and decisive in our decisions. We must act swiftly before the ship starts taking on water and it becomes too late.
For instance, if we discover a team member is struggling, we analyze how we can support them and bring out their best. We quickly assess whether our efforts yield better results. If we determine that the person simply doesn't have what it takes, we discuss their situation positively, evaluating whether they can be salvaged within the organization. Once we realize they're not salvageable, we don't dwell on it. I apologize for the unsettling metaphor mentioned earlier; it was meant to emphasize the need for prompt action and closure in such situations.
In conclusion, good leadership involves a blend of intensity and compassion, focusing on achieving the best outcomes for the team and the organization.
Get Rid of The Bad Sailors to Save The Ship
It is crucial to eliminate the weak team members as they pose a significant risk to all of us. We recently experienced a situation where one of our workers consistently proved to be deficient in essential areas. We acted swiftly to isolate that person as a threat, giving them chances to improve, but they fell short. We made the decision to terminate their employment, only to later discover that they were engaged in further activities that could have severely harmed the company.
Had we allowed that person to remain in the store, they could have created opportunities for potential lawsuits, such as sexual harassment claims. Leadership can never afford to let their guard down when it comes to monitoring the behavior of others on the team. It is our responsibility to detect and address such issues promptly.
Once you step into a leadership role, you must hold yourself to a higher standard than before. If you break a rule, it sets a precedent for others to do the same, especially if they witness your actions.
As the one in command of the ship, your primary focus is ensuring that customers have a great experience and that the store is in a safe condition. We must ensure compliance with health codes, provide the staff with the necessary resources to succeed, and safeguard our products and cash.
Know The Job And What Needs to Be Done
There are numerous factors we need to consider, and they should become ingrained in our memory as a pattern. We must ensure the correct music volume, store temperature, and proper product display. We should maintain cleanliness and ensure tables and floors are free of filth. The Smoothie station must be staffed correctly, and the team member should work at the desired speed. Cash availability for the drawer and proper functioning of the POS system are vital. Additionally, we need to prevent leaks, floods, and toilet clogs. It's important to always have a sense of who is in the store at any given time. This knowledge comes with experience in retail.
For instance, when you're at the POS station, you should have a good understanding of what's happening behind you at the soup kettle station, whether there's a shortage, whether the three-compartment sink is adequately cleaned, and if dirty dishes are piling up.
Simultaneously, you should be aware if the bus tub on the retail side needs to be changed or if there are crumbs on the table. While multitasking, you may also notice someone making smoothies or a line forming, or you might recognize a customer who spent a significant amount during their previous visit, warranting extra attention. As a leader, it's crucial to redirect the staff's focus if they seem distracted or off-track, even if they were performing well under different circumstances.
It's best if we, as a team, use consistent phrases to correct staff members. These phrases should be carefully crafted, as if we are branding our message to retail customers. In this case, we are branding our words to the staff, instilling a belief in a specific way of doing things that aligns with our objectives.
As a team, we can establish a phrase like "focus, please and thank you" to communicate a specific message. Beforehand, management should explain the meaning of this phrase to the staff, so that when we use it in the field, we don't have to explain it again.
It saves time and ensures that our ability to serve the customer is not compromised. When we say "focus," it implies that we should ensure all tasks are being completed. We can then be more specific, such as saying, "We need to make sure the customer receives a straw with their smoothie. Please and thank you." It is important always to include "please and thank you" after giving any type of command, as it promotes a respectful and positive environment.
In situations where the register is unmanned and someone needs to quickly attend to it, a team member should shout the word "register." If nobody responds with "register," the person who initially called it should either go to the register themselves or repeat the command, this time addressing a specific person. For example, "Bob, register, please and thank you."
It is crucial to correct staff members outside of busy hours and when there are no customers around. We should always strive to present ourselves as a well-orchestrated shop, even during busy periods. As long as we are all moving in the right direction and appear to be on top of our tasks, the customer doesn't mind waiting. However, if the customer senses chaos or a lack of control, it can create stress and anxiety for them, even if they love the product they are receiving. It is simply the nature of human beings.