By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you work smarter not harder. Reading time: 3:21
Forget working 12-hour days or more. Try working just 5 minutes a day –with each of your employees—and making more time for you to think, to learn and to lead.
No way, you say. You gotta be kidding me! Well, read on and see for yourself.
The most effective leaders leverage the Friendly Five Minutes strategy to preempt problems and take precautionary measures that ward off at least some of the headaches before they flair into full-fledged migraines.
Highly effective leaders say that if they spend 5 minutes each day FIRST THING with each of their employees, they increase morale, cool smoldering fires and more fully assess the working conditions to better align for every-changing production demands and staffing assignments.
Let’s say you have eight direct reports and you spend 5 minutes with each of them or 40 minutes and let’s say you need 10 minutes to get from workstation to workstation to visit with your next direct report or 80 minutes.
So in 120 minutes (40+80) –or two hours—you have the other six or eight hours to do what you do best: lead. Not mop up proverbial spills. Or try to staff problem areas during critical stress situations.
Your first objective in spending those five minutes first thing during the shift is to show your appreciation for the employee, to make him or her feel important, and to sincerely listen to their PERSONAL interests and concerns first before focusing on business issues
“Hi, Alice, how did Sarah do in the dance recital yesterday?”
Now that’s a powerful question that makes Alice feel important and that shows how much the leader really cares about following up on Alice’s daughter’s dance recital and in the process demonstrating to Alice that she is valued as a person and an employee.
Then of course when you have a business conversation on current work load or work flow for example there is a higher degree of trust and credibility between the leader and the employee and that fosters more accurate, more timely information to solve problems curb costs and reinforce your influence as a leader.
After all, employees who feel they are listened to and have daily access to you, don’t go to higher ups in the organization to complain about you. You have invested in the Friendly Five.
You have given them at least five minutes of your time focusing solely on that one employee. You have already let your direct reports give you a piece of their mind at the start of their day so that you can have more peace of mind throughout the rest of your day.
Sam Walton, the founder of the Walmart, reinforces this leadership dictum of getting up close and personal –managing by walking around– to finding out what fires may be kindling right now that need to be simmered.
In his autobiography, Sam Walton, Made in America, My Story, he writes on page 147:
“I have been asked if I was a hands-on manager
or an arm’s –length manager.
I think I am more a manager
by walking and flying around and
in the process I stick my fingers into everything
I can to see how it’s coming along.”
Chances are Sam Walton used his own version of the Friendly Five. So can you.
Connect with your employees personal for five minutes at the start of a shift.
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