People Follow Leaders with Vision by Susan M. Heathfield

​”When leaders share out a powerful vision and organize and staff the workplace to accomplish it, a powerful dynamic drives employee performance. When leaders walk their talk, it’s a demonstrated motivator for people. When leaders  share a strong vision, employees flock to it – even choosing the job in the company over other options.

These are the fundamentals necessary for a vision that excites and motivates people to follow the leader. The vision must:

  1. Clearly set organizational direction and purpose;
  2. Inspire loyalty and caring through the involvement of all employees;
  3. Display and reflect the unique strengths, culture, values, beliefs and direction of the organization;
  4. Inspire enthusiasm, belief, commitment and excitement in company members;
  5. Help employees believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their daily work;
  6. Be regularly communicated and shared, not just through monthly announcements and reminders at the company meeting, it must permeate all communication at every level of the organization;
  7. Serve as the reason courses of action are chosen, people are hired, markets are selected, and products are developed; 
  8. Challenge people to outdo themselves, to stretch and reach.”


Read the entire article here:  https://www.thebalance.com/leadership-vision-1918616


Leadership Beyond Our Walls – Aunt Millie’s Bakehouse by Jim Johnson

Yesterday, my leadership team and I had lunch with Tim & Todd Baumann of Aunt Millie’s Bakehouse.  Tim serves as the EVP of Sales and Todd is the Director of Continuous Improvement / Strategic Growth.  I met Tim while standing in a 2 hour line during early voting. We talked about bread, Cubs baseball, and leadership.I later emailed him asking him to meet my leadership team.

I have taken my leaders outside of our office to meet, interact with, and learn from local entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Aunt Millie’s has been in business in our city since 1901 and they do business all over the U.S. as overseas (Saudi Arabia, Dubai, etc.). The family who has been leading this company does so with passion, integrity, and great effectiveness.

We had an outstanding time with great conversations and shared insight.  My leadership team asks wonderful questions and are very curious and eager to learn and grow.

Here are some of our take-a-ways:

  • Creating a culture that lasts for generations takes commitment, consistency, and courage.
  • I want to help create a culture that becomes a legacy at 3Rivers – where people love being here while serving our communities.
  • Leadership matters– whether a company bakes bread or makes loans. 
  • It is worth getting better.  Always.
  • Serving others is a leader’s highest calling. 
  • “Be intentional”. None of us have all of the right answers however if your head and your heart is in the right place than great things are bound to happen.
  • Build trust.

In our community, we have a rich history of successful leaders, entrepreneurs , and community investors.  This exercise is proving to add value to my team, those we meet, and to me personally.  My team becomes ignited through these experiences.  We grow in our leadership journey as we work to always “lift our lids”.

Be the Right Person by Jim Johnson

It’s human nature to focus mostly on what comes easiest to do.  In a job, that means we focus on the tasks at hand.  Getting stuff done.  But if you ignore being the right person, then you will fail to really do the right things for the right reasons.  As many a philosopher has stated, being must come before doing.

What do I mean by “being the right person?”  To be the right person who is seeking to advance themselves, I believe you need to internalize and consistently demonstrate the following attributes (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Respected Work Ethic
  • Life of Learning
  • Passionate Purpose
  • Trusted Resource
  • Professionalism & Maturity

You must be the right person, doing the right thing, at the right time.

 

Read more at:  https://www.amazon.com/Right-Jim-Johnson-ebook/dp/B006VEMDT0#nav-subnav

 

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Why Leaders are Least Trusted by Brian K. Dodd & Jim Johnson

I read an article on Zite (mobile app) this morning.  The original title is “Two Surprising Areas Many Pastors & Church Leaders are Least Trusted” by Brian K. Dodd.  I am reposting it here but in a re-written format – for the business community.  Mr. Dodd spells out clearly some blind spots that many leaders – whether in a religious, non-profit, or for profit setting – need to be aware of.  Here’s the article from a business perspective.  At the end of this post, you will find the link to Mr. Dodd’s original post.

 

Trust is a fragile.  Trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships.  Trust takes a lifetime to build but can be lost at a moment in time.  You cannot grow a church without trust.

After countless conversations and almost three decades of personal leadership experience, I would submit the two areas where leaders are least trusted by their teams, boards, company are…..Competence and Execution.

  • Competence is defined as “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.”
  • Execution is defined as “the carrying out or putting into effect a plan or course of action.”

Trust is lost because of broken promises, continual missed expectations, empty “cutting edge” rhetoric, lack of movement, inability to make a decision, perpetual stalling in the name of a lack of accountability, faulty systems, recklessness, plans which are not well thought through, not addressing issues, repeated poor decisions and multiple failed business initiatives.

When leaders are not trusted, you see the following:

  • Polite smiles as vision is being cast.
  • Shoulders slumped or shrugged.
  • Blank faces indicating apathy.
  • Frustration.
  • Leaders leaving the company .
  • Increased absences at leadership meetings.
  • Disengagement.

You also hear phrases like these:

  • “I’ve heard this many times before.”
  • “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
  • “We never get anything right.”
  • “Why didn’t they call me.  I could’ve helped.”
  • “Same ole.  Same ole.”
  • “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
  • “They don’t have a clue what they’re doing.”
  • “They’ll rotate off the Board soon.”

So the questions becomes how do you increase congregational trust?  Leaders increase trust by making and executing wise and timely decisions over an extended period of time.  In other words, get some wins under your belt.  This builds confidence and credibility allowing you to make more important decisions moving forward.

For example, let’s look at the life of David.  David slayed the bear, then slayed the lion, and only then slayed Goliath.

People trust leaders who:

  • Return calls within 24 hours.
  • Complete assignments with excellence.
  • Have everything ready when people show up to meetings or events.
  • Are proactive.
  • Show up to meetings prepared.
  • Don’t waste others time.  It’s the only thing you can’t give back.
  • Ask good questions.  Are a learner.
  • Admit mistakes and ask forgiveness.  Are humble.
  • Include leaders  at various organizational levels in the decision and execution process.  Frankly, they’re probably better at it than most executive leaders.
  • Have meetings before the meeting.
  • Put on good quality events showing you have given it much thought.
  • Deliver projects/vision meetings/process initiatives which answer the questions people are asking.
  • Demand and do things with excellence.
  • Have the courage to make hard decisions and be willing to live with the results.
  • Are committed to the vision and do not let others hijack it.
  • Build mutually beneficial relationships with leaders.
  • See potential in others and unleash it.
  • Showed you have studied and are prepared.
  • Finish on time.
  • Do things which are memorable.

These are things every leader can do to increase trust.  And when you do them, you will then gain the support, credibility, funding and trust to attempt even greater things.

Trust can be gained or lost by if you are making and executing wise and timely decisions over an extended period of time.  Make good ones and if you don’t know what to do, ask for help.  Trust me.

 

Original post can be found here:  http://pastors.com/two-surprising-areas-many-pastors-and-church-leaders-are-least-trusted/

 

 

The Power of Praise by Jim Johnson

In my experience as a manager/leader of people for the past 30 years and in observing leaders I’ve led, a key behavior is too often missed.  Sure, we’re all good at pointing out areas of improvement.  We follow-up on the progress of a project.  We question our team member on an expenditure.

But we miss something.  Something that is powerful.  Something that is impactful.  Something that can help turn an indifferent team member into a passionate player.

PRAISE

Why is it we overlook this crucial part of leadership?  When a team member has done something great, overcome a hurdle, landed a significant sale, helped move the company forward, or shown initiative beyond their position, we might give a nod.  But so often we skirt by that and move on to “our” agenda.

The Results of Not Praising

What happens when we don’t verbally (or even in writing) praise a team member?

* We show our ignorance.  That’s right.  If our team member has done something significant and we don’t acknowledge it, they most likely will think “he/she has no clue what I do or how hard I work to make an impact here.”  And that is true.

* We exchange price tags.  What we focus on demonstrates what we value.  If we continually focus on what has gone wrong (according to our perspective), we show our team members what we value.  When they have really hit a significant goal or company metric and we basically ignore it, we have taken the “price tag” off that achievement and placed it on “well, we need to talk about how you…”  Where does that leave the team member?  Frustrated.  They just accomplished something that they are required to do – and exceeded expectations.  And what do we as leaders do?  Place value on something else with barely a recognition of their work.  Don’t ever let a team member feel “well, I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t”.

How to Praise

*Be specific.  It may seem like this is out of the “Mr. Obvious” playbook, but praise them specifically for what they have done.  Document this achievement and put it in their quarterly/annual reviews.  I’ve never had a team member be unhappy to review once again a major accomplishment.  They loved seeing it again.

* Make eye contact.  Look them in the eye when you are praise them specifically.  I’m bad at this.  But when I do it, it positively impacts me AND the team member.  It gets all of the focus on what you’re saying.

* Smile.  Again, I’ve got work to do here.  But if you are saying something positive, look positive.

* Remind them of their accomplishment.  Weeks or months down the road, you may be in a coaching session with this team member and they are not having a good stretch.  Remind them of what they can accomplish.  Remind them of what they did “back then”.  They can do it again.  Encourage them.

I just had a coaching session with one of my leaders yesterday.  I was so encouraged to hear how an online class had gone for her.  She took the lead in the class and was recognized for it by her professor.  I was able to put into my own words why this experience is true at her work, too.  She is very passionate about her job, her team, and her impact.  I was able to speak encouragement to her.

A few weeks ago, I sat in on an interview with the leader of my call center.  We were meeting a young lady who was hoping to get our part-time position.  She said at the beginning on the interview that she was nervous and not very experienced in interviewing.

But as my team leader worked her way through the conversation, this young lady spoke clearly, specifically, and confidently of her experiences and what she would bring to the table.  At the end, I said I had something to say.  I asked the young lady to look at me and I said, “you did an excellent job in this interview.  You did not come across nervous.  You gave specific examples of how you handled various work scenarios.  You demonstrated confidence in you as a person and your abilities.  You interviewed very well.”

The young lady almost cried.  She then said that she so needed to hear that.  She told me how much that meant to her.

Oh, yes, we hired her and she started this past Monday in training.

Don’t underestimate praise.  Don’t forget it.  As a leader, you probably don’t know how much your words of praise means to a team member.  The benefits for them, for your team, and for your company are endless.

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Lead by Telling or Lead by Questioning by Jim Johnson

We’ve all had “that boss” who would dictate directions from afar.  We would be fearful of taking any action on most anything for fear that we were heading in a direction that they would not like.  So, we sat on our hands waiting for our orders.

Leading by telling is not an effective or efficient way to get things done.

One of the things I’ve tried to get better at is to lead by questioning.  This leadership tactic has required me to roll up my sleeves and spend time with my team leaders.  I’ve worked hard to build trusting relationships with them so they aren’t afraid to disagree with me, challenge me or question me.  I’ve had to make it safe to do this with me – the “ownness” is on me.

Just the other day, I sat down with one of my first-year leaders to talk about some results I needed to see improved.  I had been using a report that, I thought, demonstrated the need for improvement in a sales area.  I asked her a lot of questions about the performance of her team and how she managed them in this particular area.   She began questioning where this report came from, who showed it to me, and was it the same report that the lending department actually used.  Since someone in lending gave me the report, I had assumed (oops) that the report was valid.  It was not.  I was able to find the right report and we both got on the same page right away.   But I only learned this when this leader questioned me on it.  We then created a better tracking mechanism that she can use with her team to predict their performance by month’s end.  It was a very good use of our time.

In this interaction, there were a lot of questions and clarifications being used – and this was healthy.  We got to the heart of the matter.  I worked hard not to simply tell this manager to “fix it”, but we talked through the issue and found the resolution that we both needed.

In her post “If You’re Always Giving Order, You’re Not a Great Leader”, Jessica Stillman shares the following:

“Think about a leader and chances are your first image is of someone giving orders — maybe it’s the quarterback in a huddle outlining the next play for his teammates, maybe it’s an army officer coolly  barking commands in the heat of combat. But chances are, when many of us think of leadership, we picture a person telling others what to do.

After all, that’s the essence of leadership, right?

Wrong, says Christine Comaford, an executive coach and author of SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together who recently participated in a series of interviews on the website of fellow author Keith Ferrazzi. In the course of a long exchange about leadership, she tells the story of an executive she was coaching who couldn’t stop telling his employees how to do day-to-day things.”

She goes on to say that when a leader asks more questions vs. telling the employee what to do, good things happen:

  • The employee learns that they do have responsibilities (and the abilities) to get things done on their own.
  • The leader cannot create an environment where the staff will not act unless they get permission.  Nothing will get done this way.
  • The leader and the employee will both learn more with this method.

“The great leaders are like the best conductors –

they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.” –Blaine Lee