Believe In Them and They Will…

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Do you believe the best in your employees? Are there some that are underperforming? If you changed your opinion about the underperformer to a favorable one, do you think their performance will follow?

There is a theory, somewhat old now, that believing in the best in people actually does improve their performance. It is called the Pygmalion Effect.

Some argue that the effect is self-serving. For example, if you intentionally treat someone better, does their performance actually change or is it simply a change of perception that colors your view of them?

Store level retail is full of entry-level associates. Many have no background in retail, and their adaptation may be slow. This could lead to an unfair perception that they are not the right material.

How can you show them that you believe in them?

When we believe the best in them, what would they become? Here are four suggestions to help you put this theory to the test:

  1. Give them a task or project that is essential yet difficult.

Give them the proper training and encouragement, and let them try. Tell them you believe in them. If they get stuck and come back to you, ask them what they feel their barriers to success are. Ask them how they can overcome those barriers. Encourage them to go with their own solution.

  1. In the interview process, outline the path to management level.

Let them know that many employees started in the same position, and you believe that the person you hire will have that capability. After you hire them, tell them that you will commit to giving them the training over time if they commit to give their best.

  1. Constantly ask them, “What would you do?” when they ask you for direction.

In the beginning, there is a need for clear direction. However, after a few months, there is a good chance the employee already knows the answer. When they look for direction after gaining experience, ask them “what would you do?” When they reply, unless their answer is outlandish or violates company policy, tell them that it is a good answer and encourage them go do it.

  1. Frequently inquire about their future.

If they indicate a future that is with the company, ask them what they would like to try next. Unless it’s not feasible, make it happen for them.

The worst case is that the employee fails you. However, when they fail, give them a hand back up. It’s OK to fail as life’s best lessons are often learned this way.

Retail has a high degree of turnover, and much of it is due to lack of engagement. When you express your belief in them, I believe you’ll see reciprocation in engagement. With your belief and their engagement, so much more is possible than before!

I would like to hear your thoughts or comments!

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The Best Leaders Are Futurists?

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There are people out there who study the future and try to plan for eventualities. Their vision is so forward looking that they are called futurists.

I didn’t really understand the word until recently. My interest was peaked by a passage written by Alan Loy McGinnis, Bringing Out the Best in People.

He wrote, “The best leaders are more than optimists (though almost every good motivator is a strong positive thinker). They are also futurists. That is, they love to live in the future, dream about the future, talk about the future – and they are always urging people around them to do the same.”

It’s a curious thought. I think the benefits of being a futurist leader we would be:

  1. Sharing your vision is the same as inviting those around you to participate. By trusting your employees to your vision, they feel included in the journey.
  2. Employees understand the Big Picture. This helps them pull in the same direction as you.
  3. Talking out loud allows questions. Your employees can help you understand some other considerations that are needed. Better yet, they can help you with those considerations.
  4. Optimism is better than gloom. Have you ever felt that somehow your bad mood negatively influenced an employee? The opposite would have to be true. Your optimism about the future should affect your employee positively leading to better engagement and less turnover.
  5. Your connection with your employees will grow. They may start to share their own dreams with you thereby deepening the bond.
  6. Help others deal with the change. Change is so much easier when you know it’s coming. Futurists expect change, and you’ll better prepare your team for it.

What do you think about being a futurist? Does it have benefits? Please share your thoughts.

Disclaimer: No one has paid me to mention this book. It is one of my favorite books to keep around and browse through every once in awhile. You can pick up your copy on Amazon or Barnes & Nobles. For your convenience, here are the links:

https://www.amazon.com/Bringing-Out-Best-People-Helping/dp/0806621516

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bringing-out-the-best-in-people-alan-loy-mcginnis/1122980260

 

A Dose of Patience For You

“Patience is a virtue.”

I heard this saying all the time as I was growing up. I don’t hear it as much any more.

Did I stop listening?

The world is a fast-paced environment. Companies want results. Stock prices and world markets make the fortunes of men in the matter of hours. News travels as fast as satellites can transmit.

Does the world need patience anymore?

Recently, I tried to rank my top five virtues. Patience made it into the top five. Is this virtue a relic of my upbringing, or is it still relevant?

I believe it’s still relevant, and I’ve put together some quotes to help you remember this virtue. It could help the next time you are dealing with a problem at work.

Quotes

Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles, and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?

~ Lao Tzu

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Credit: zen-mama.com

Quietly endure, silently suffer and patiently wait.

~ Martin Luther KIng Jr.

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Credit: seattletimes.com

Patience is a key element of success.

~ Bill Gates

Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself.

~ St. Francis De Sales

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Credit: catholicgentleman.net

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet.

~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.

~ Abigail Adams

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

~ John Quincy Adams

Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness. They are signs of strength.

~ Dalai Lama

Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.

~ Maya Angelou

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

~ Leo Tolstoy

How poor are they that have not patience! What would did ever heal but by degrees?

~ William Shakespeare

If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.

~ Isaac Newton

He that can have patience can have what he will.

~ Benjamin Franklin

Most of all, be patient with the development of your employees. The good ones will eventually become all-stars and work their hardest for you.

~ Joe Croarkin

Tell me, is patience a forgotten virtue? Share your thoughts!

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Little League Lessons In the Workplace

Matt Third Base-min

My son has been playing in the Little League All-Star tournaments since early June. Today, he is playing in the championship game for Nevada.

I’ve always had an influence in his baseball life. I’ve helped coach his teams in 7 of the 8 years he’s played. When he plays on a team I don’t coach (like this All-Star team), I always have encouraging words to say to him to help his progress. Here is a recap of some of the encouragement I’ve given him this tournament and how it relates to business coaching.

“Win every pitch.”

He was the starting pitcher the game before last against the tournament favorites. Before the game, I told him that the game is not won inning by inning or batter by batter. It starts with trying to win every pitch.

In the business world, this could apply to the employee who deals with the customer. Your business growth and livelihood is won customer by customer. It’s also won task by task as you stock shelves or build displays or make the lobby look nice.

In that game, he pitched two strong innings to keep his team in it before they pulled him. He gave up only one hit.

“Be ready when your number is called.”

On his talented all-star team, he doesn’t get to play every inning. On his regular Little League team, he was the star and played every inning. It’s important he doesn’t get down on himself when he’s sitting on the bench.

In the world of an upwardly moving employee, it can be frustrating to not have a chance to move up when you’re ready. If you have an employee like that, reassure them that they are doing a great job. Look for more opportunities to use their skills. Give them stretch projects to build skills needed for the future. Delegate other opportunities to them that may be a little outside of their role. Finally, help them look out for opportunities within the company even if it’s outside of your department, store, division, etc.

Last night, my son only got one at bat and hit a double! His team won that game 8-1.

“Stay within yourself.”

My son’s team can all hit great, and most of his teammates have a homerun in this all-star run. My son, though physically one of the strongest kids on the team, has not hit a homerun. He’s now hit 3 foul balls that would have been long shots if they were fair.

He was getting frustrated that he wasn’t hitting home runs. I told him he just needs to focus on making good contact. Don’t use a home run swing. Stay quick and short to the ball. The homeruns will come.

In business, sometimes employees will fail because they try to do too much. Don’t get down on them. If needed, help them see that simplifying their execution…or focusing on what really counts is a more productive use of their time. If you consistently execute on a series of small correct actions, the bigger results will happen.

Work or life doesn’t happen one homerun at a time. It’s really a series of choices in which we’re tasked with making the correct choice as many times as possible. As a result of the accumulation of our positive choices, the homeruns eventually come.

Since that conversation, my son has relaxed at the plate and been more productive for his team than before when he was looking for homeruns.

Matt Bat-min

Do you have any sports analogies you like to use in the workplace? Please let me know in the comments box!

Helping the Team Do Their Best

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Trust is a value I hold dear. It’s equally important in a working relationship. As an employee, I trust my manager will give me a chance to do my best. As a manager, it’s vitally important that I uphold this trust and give them a chance to do their best.

Keep the following leadership principles in mind when helping your team do their best:

Empower

Give your employees the opportunities to make decisions and to solve problems that they see. Empowering is difficult to do as it takes patience with your employee as they may make mistakes. Be understanding and ask them what they would do next time. Then encourage them to go do it. Speaking of making mistakes…

Let Them Fail

Often times failure leads to the most learning opportunities. When they make a mistake, offer your employees a hand up and an ear to listen. Don’t make the consequence severe unless the result is severe. Reiterate you believe in them.

Remove Obstacles

Some obstacles are difficult or impossible for employees to overcome. Some of them are simple and easy for you to see. Remove them. Don’t force them to go through the ring of fire unless it’s necessary.

Give Them a Stretch Goal

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Provide goals that both encourage learning new skills and build a path for them to whatever the next stop in their career is such as moving up in the company. Have the confidence and delegate one of your duties to them. Give them the one-on-one training they’ll need to do it. They will love this time with you and the opportunity to take on more responsibility and learn new skills!

Give Them Credit (Publicly)

Ensure you give the employee(s) involved 100% credit when an employee earns recognition for the unit. Knowing that you won’t assume credit will build trust with you and naturally encourage them to keep achieving.

What are some other ways that you help your team do their best? Please share in the comments! Thank you for reading!

My Favorite Leadership Blogs

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None of us are perfect. But how often do you leave time to understand where you can get better at leadership? Time is precious. Time is not unlimited. Fortunately, there are ways to maximize your time and get a little better at leadership every day.

The following blogs help me understand leadership better and only take minutes a day. It’s the list that no one asked me for, but I insist that you check out my favorite blogs!

Michael Hyatt

I must thank Michael for turning me on to social media. His book, Platform, was a revelation. I read this book as part of my school assignment, but I didn’t know that he also shared a passion for leadership – Intentional Leadership as he calls it. He provides straightforward steps on how to intentionally lead people, and his blog is published daily. Like podcasts? He does them, too. He even gives away free e-books!

http://michaelhyatt.com/

Dan Rockwell

A prolific blogger with strong takes on leadership, he dishes reality on leadership. His blogs are short and to the point. He gives authentic takes on how to handle difficult topics. It’s not fantasy advice; it’s reality advice. He responds to comments on his blog, and he will give you a jolt of confidence that you can get better at leading people. He’s a Leadership Freak!

https://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/

John Maxwell

John has been blogging for about 7 years, and we are lucky to have his insight. As a successful business leader, he breaks down the basics for us weekly with real world insight at a level we can all understand.

http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/

Ken Blanchard

Author of the One Minute Manager, Ken’s blog is adept at simplifying leadership trials and travails and how you can succeed at it. His blog comes out bi-weekly.

https://howwelead.org/

Suzanne Lucas

Suzanne makes HR issues simple. She provides insight that helps new to seasoned managers. Always an interesting take on HR issues!

http://evilhrlady.org/

And if you’re in retail like me…

Beth Boyd

Beth is passionate about GREAT leadership in retail! She’s seen enough bad leadership that it doesn’t sit well with her. As such, her advice is aimed at those looking to be GREAT. Do check her blog out often as she usually writes two or more times per week.

http://cottoncandyfshn.com/

Bob Phibbs

The Retail Doctor! His blogs are definitely aimed more at C-suite execs, but it is also great for those interested in retail strategy. Bob keeps my industry knowledge relevant!

https://www.retaildoc.com/blog

What are your favorite leadership blogs? Share them in the comments!

 

Leadership Lessons Learned in Childhood

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Credit: nba.com

I recently pondered my own ideals and their origins. I found great leaders hugely influenced me in childhood. Upon reflection, I wonder if you would feel the same?

My father

He always believes the best in me. He trusts that I will make good decisions. He’s happy if I’m successful. I can’t think of better traits to have in a leader. The day that I feel I disappointed him the most is when I was picked up by the police for a vandalism crime that my friend committed. When he got home from his over one hour long commute, his look of disappointment on his face struck deep to the bone. When he learned I was not responsible, he was relieved. Leaders believe in you!

Ronald Reagan

He was my president growing up. When he addressed the nation, he did it with such sincerity! I felt like I was part of a great nation. Leaders are often great communicators!

Mikhail Gorbachev

He did what was right for his people and decided that friendship and understanding was better than hostility. It wasn’t easy to make an unpopular choice in having dialogue with Reagan. It was even more difficult to decide to bring down the wall. Leaders make the right choice no matter what!

Walter Payton

I watched him break the NFL rushing record. He was everything you wanted in a football player – a great teammate, worked hard, and he represented his city. He was everything you wanted in a running back – could run, catch, block, and even throw. He finally won his Super Bowl, and he was Chicago sports to me. When he retired, he could have had all of the spoils that come with the glory of being a Chicago sports legend (see Mike Ditka). Yet, we rarely heard from him as he quietly went along still doing great works of charity in the community. Leaders do not need glory!

Michael Jordan

Everyone knows about Mike. He was the fiercest competitor team sports has seen. Leaders are fierce!

Scottie Pippen

When number 23 retired (Michael’s first retirement), he stepped up his game. He had career highs the following year in points, blocks, and rebounds. He was third in MVP voting also. He was one phantom foul on Hubert Davis away from likely leading the Bulls back to the NBA Finals.

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Credit: nba.com

When the leader goes down, real leaders step up!

Spider-Man

It may seem silly to include him on the list, but he had a profound impact on me. He makes the right decisions all of the time. His loyalty is unwavering. He is brave regardless of the odds. He has a positive attitude in the face of danger. While life sometimes doesn’t have a happy ending/outcome, he’s made me believe in happy endings. Leaders believe in happy endings!

What are some of your childhood influences on leadership? I would love to hear about them!