Last week I described the leadership lesson our new Shepherd, Evie, taught me about perspective and integrity. This week I’ve learned a whole new lesson. Turns out Evie, who we rescued 3 weeks ago, is a very highly capable working dog. That means she has exceptional capabilities to be a search and rescue dog or a police dog. It also means she has lots of energy and drive. The implication for us as owners is that we have to manage her drive with activity, training, and exercise – at a much higher level than most pets require. It’s like she’s a gifted German Shepherd.
Only 20% of employees feel that they use their true strengths very day in their job. That means 8 our 10 employees are miscast in their roles. As a leader, I would point the finger right back at myself – did I hire appropriately? Or just put a warm body in the job? Just as we now need to work with Evie in special ways to ensure she lives up to her potential, supervisors need to customize they way they work with their employees – to ensure they live up to their potential.
It takes more time and energy on my part – whether training Evie or supervising to an employee’s strengths. But the results? Priceless!
If you don’t feed your employees, they’ll eat your customers. This was a lesson I learned early in my career, and I became a huge advocate of the “Southwest Airlines” philosophy of employees first! Linda Stone, owner of the Puffy Muffin, is a wonderful example of a business owner who has the same concept. The Puffy Muffin is a favorite gathering place here in Brentwood, TN for breakfast and lunch – and a wonderful bakery. The recession of 2008 and 2009 provided a tough challenge for Linda and the employees, so last September at a staff retreat, Linda revealed some aggressive goals for them to achieve over the next 10 months. The reward if the sales goals were met? – an Alaskan cruise. So this month, 48 employees will be enjoy the beauty of snow capped mountains, tall pines and icebergs from the railing of the best ship in the fleet. Linda said, “They serve others so well all year long, it’s time they were the ones to receive some service.” She’s closing the restaurant for 10 days to celebrate with her staff.
It’s a lesson in integrity – doing what you say you will do. I once worked for an employer who held an annual picnic to celebrate the accomplishments of the staff – but they were unwilling to close their facilities for a couple of hours in order to let everyone attend. They said they were about employees first, but their actions didn’t match their words. Linda Stone gets it – and she’s a super hero for integrity!
Who is your super-hero?
When was the last time you were recognized by your supervisor? We all like to be recognized, but most of our time is spent catching people doing something wrong – so walk the talk and use this list of 50 reasons to practice the Art of Appreciation.
- Resolving a customer complaint
- Submitting a great idea
- Perfect attendance for a year
- Working late to finish a project
- Being a buddy to a new employee
- Helping a co-worker finish their work
- Selling a service/product
- Recruiting a volunteer
- Working on a volunteer committee
- Compliments from co-workers
- Resourcing in-kind donations
- Fund-raising for a project
- Implementing a cost saving procedure
- Recognizing and correcting a safety violation
- Never saying, “It’s not my job”
- Answering the phone consistently using contact point standards
- Completing the most contacts
- Favorable feedback from customers/clients
- Assuring their area is always clean
- Completing a process faster than anyone else
- Having 100% participation in a class or program
- Competing their 30 day orientation period
- Learning a new skill
- Completing a level of training
- Serving as a role model to a child program participant
- Creating a new program or modifying an existing one
- Expanding enrollment
- Improvement of interpersonal skills
- Organizing a special event
- Answering the most questions in a shift
- Doing two jobs while another employee is out sick
- Getting a 100% on a maintenance cleaning check
- Fixing broken equipment within 24 hours
- Getting promoted
- Developing another employee for promotion
- Employment anniversaries
- Serving as an “interim” anything
- Calling a disgruntled customer back while off duty
- Picking up garbage outside the facility
- Always wearing staff id and/or appropriate uniform
- Getting a certification
- Going above and beyond the call of duty for a customer
- Donating money, in kinds service
- Working on a holiday
- Meeting revenue and expense goals
- Locating a lost item
- Preventing theft
- Just for being an important part of the team
Please add to this list!