Leadership Mints Series Sampler on Reprimanding Idle Employees

Busy cashiers finally got a breather.The long lines of customers in the checkout lane finally disappeared. Two cashiers on adjacent lanes capitalized on the respite. They began chatting.

A third employee joined the conversation while both cashiers visually checked to be sure no customers needed to be served. All three were engaged in a business-related conversation during the lull. Until they weren’t.

“Hey is anybody here on break or what?” barked the supervisor who seemed to suddenly barge into their threesome with a force of a bowling ball.

All three employees stopped chatting. One noted that they were discussing an important business issue regarding  safety.

The supervisor shook his head from side to side and walked away as the three employees halted their hugfest and went back to their posts even though no customers were yet in line to be served.

The three employees felt devalued more than deflated, discarded more than simply discounted. And the business no longer could count on the three employees to do their best work. They settled for going through the motions. 

The supervisor had
won the battle and lost the war.

What would a loving leader have done in the same situation to be sure idle employees stay focused on the job even when they have no customers to serve?

A loving leader might consider the ACT intervention process to help their employees remember they are on the clock, getting paid to work together not chat together: ACT stands for Acknowledge, Clarify & Teach.

           Acknowledge

A is for Acknowledge: Acknowledge the situation from the employee’s point of view. “Nice to get a chance to visit with each other when business slows down like this,” the supervisor could have said.

            Clarify

C is for Clarify: Clarify how the situation looks from the customer perspective. “Customers get frustrated when they sense that we see them as an intrusion in our conversation,” the supervisor could have noted.

Teach

T is for Teach. Establish the perceived tension between the customer and the cashier and teach the value in a change in behavior that first and foremost meets the employee’s needs and secondarily supports the organization’s profitability.

Of course we all know the customer is our life-blood: fewer customers , fewer sales, fewer new hires which means more work for us,” the supervisor could have said. “Thanks for staying at your posts even in slow times so we keep those customers feeling like we want to serve them and we are more able to control how hard we have to work. Otherwise, we would have to do the same amount of work with fewer employees since we would stop hiring if it begins to look like business has slowed significantly.”

For more ideas on on celebrating the competition to enhance your performance consider purchasing a 300-page book now available on Amazon. com filled with 77 short stories (5-minute reads called Leadership Mints) on examples from business, sports and politics.

It’s titled:   LOVING Like a Leader with Empathy– one of three books in The Leadership Mints Series designed to help leaders refresh their feeling for leading. And as a bonus, the postscript titled– BUSINESS: A HUMAN EXPERIENCE — shares the impetus for this book on empathy impacting the bottom line.The two other books in The Leadership Mints Series -now available on Amazon.com — include THINKING Like a Leader with Clarity and SPEAKING Like a Leader with Civility

What ‘s a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

Leadership Mints Series Sampler On Treating Others With Respect

Aloha! What if you began and ended your one-on-one meetings with that evocative greeting — a greeting that also serves as a productive farewell — even if you don’t live or work in Hawaii?

Aloha from Hawaii

Then you’d be saying much more than “hi and bye.” With your “Aloha” you’d be invoking “the breath of life” both at the beginning and and the ending of your meeting. Who doesn’t need a breath of fresh air to freshen the workday at the start and at the end? Aloha stems from “Alo,” meaning presence and “ha,” meaning breath. The website  To-Hawaii.com, published by Eleakai Publishing, LLC, also notes:

  • Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.
  • Aloha means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.
  • Aloha means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.

How can you best spread the Aloha sentiment of mutual regard and affection without actually saying the word ALOHA and yet conjure up images of flowing palm trees and colorful leis?

Simply ask your staff member to set the meeting agenda. Fight off the urge to dump your in-basket into the lap of your direct report with the following provocative Aloha greeting question of another kind:

“What is on your mind today?”

In his book The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier says that key question reaffirms a trusting relationship and establishes a working environment of dignity and respect for both the staffer and the leader.

This agenda-setting question also quickly targets a pressing need and a more strategic problem solving discussion that leads to a more productive outcome.

But then the most effective leader confirms the decision-making process with the staffer BEFORE the meeting ends with the following Aloha farewell question of another kind?

“What was the most useful to you in our meeting?”

Those two bookend questions take your one-on-on meetings to the next level, and a establish a more strategic followup meeting well beyond the hi and bye opener and closer of most meetings.

The leadership lesson is clear: Breathe life into your meetings. Turn your how-are-ya’s into Alohas!

For more ideas on on celebrating the competition to enhance your performance consider purchasing a 300-page book now available on Amazon. com filled with 77 short stories (5-minute reads called Leadership Mints) on examples from business, sports and politics.

It’s titled:   LOVING Like a Leader with Empathy– one of three books in The Leadership Mints Series designed to help leaders refresh their feeling for leading. And as a bonus, the postscript titled– BUSINESS: A HUMAN EXPERIENCE — shares the impetus for this book on empathy impacting the bottom line.The two other books in The Leadership Mints Series -now available on Amazon.com — include THINKING Like a Leader with Clarity and SPEAKING Like a Leader with Civility

What ‘s a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

Leadership Mints Series Sampler Using Code To Resolve Conflict

How do you alert a colleague to a potential danger without alarming paying customers standing within earshot?

You use a verbal code to communicate in a crisis without exacerbating the inherent tension and stress.

For example, if you are in airport or train station in Britain and a fire breaks out in the baggage pick up area, you could hear over the intercom:

Would Inspector Sands please report to the operations room immediately.”

Code for Fire in the building

Or if you are in a theater complex and you need to report a fire as discretely as possible, you might say: “Mr. Johnson is in theater 2.” In the theatre district Mr. Johnson is code for fire in the building.

Meanwhile in the retail industry cashiers talk about Bob, Lisa and Mitch whenever a colleague or supervisor thinks a customer may have forgotten to put all their products in their basket on the conveyor belt or is deliberately trying to steal the merchandise.

Rather than accuse/and or embarrass the customer or reprimand the cashier, a savvy supervisor will use a friendly tone and a discrete coded language to call the attention of the cashier to a potential theft while the cashier is still scanning products for the customer in question. The supervisor might ask:

“Have you seen BOB or LISA today?

BOB is code for (Bottom of Basket) and serves as a reminder to the cashier to confirm that he or she did scan that merchandise.

LISA is code for (Look In Side Always) and serves as a reminder to the cashier to confirm that he or she did inspect the luggage (or tool chest etc.) to be sure no merchandise takes an illegal trip out the door. The supervisor might also ask:

How’s MITCH doing?

MITCH is code for (Merchandise In The Customer’s Hand) and serves as a reminder to the cashier to confirm that he or she did scan the drink or balloon etc the customer was holding.

Give my regards to Ellen de Groot.

Code has long been used on the battlefield and in crisis situations.

Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who hid from the Germans with her family for more than a year during World War II, learned the plight of their friends and neighbors in concentration camps through a code the German censors couldn’t decipher in plain sight.

In a postcard to the family, a friend wrote positively of their current living conditions in the concentration camp and then concluded: Give my regards to Ellen de Groot.

Ellen de Groot looks and reads like the name of a person. However it was actually code that expressed the misery of life in a concentration camp. ” In Dutch, the phrase —ellende groot— means great misery.

To help you more fully map your next speech so that you will attain and retain the attention of your audience, consider purchasing a copy of SPEAKING Like a Leader.The 298-page book now available on Amazon.com.

SPEAKING Like a Leader is part of the Leadership Mints Series that also includes a book  on creativity —THINKING Like a Leader , a 284-page book filled with 77 Leadership Mints and a 300-page book on empathy filled with 77 more Leadership Mints-LOVING Like a Leader.

All three books in The Leadership Mints Series are designed for busy leaders seeking to refresh their feeling for leading in 5-minutes or less — the average reading of a Leadership Mint.

           What ‘s a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

Leadership Mints Series Sampler On Speaking Up in Meetings

You’re invited to the C-suite for the first time to participate in a strategy session with five or six executives who outrank you on the organizational chart.

You’re nervous.  You talk in circles when you’re finally called upon.   You seem oblivious to how often you’re repeating yourself. And then it gets worse.

You try to dominate the conversation. You fear if you give up the proverbial microphone you might not be called on again. So, you decide to shoot your wad. Instead, you end up shooting yourself in the foot.

No one is listening to you.

No one is advancing your ideas.

What can you do to get your train of thought back on track?

First: Remember why you are there.

You’re an expert in a certain area of the company that should be factored into the  decision making and strategic direction.

Your reputation precedes you. There is no need for showboating,  grandstanding or  pontificating no matter how intimidated you feel in breathing the rarified atmosphere of the C-suite opulence.

Second: Preparation is Key

Before your meeting, write down three key points on how your department currently contributes to the bottom line. Then distill each of those points in a single declarative sentence with fewer than 20 words.

Now take each of those points and anticipate Continue reading “Leadership Mints Series Sampler On Speaking Up in Meetings”

Leadership Mints Series Sampler Proving You’re Not a Robot

So how do you know you’re not a robot?

Oh yeah, you can tell your traffic lights and cross walks from the bridges and storefronts.

At least that’s what CAPTCHA says.

For the record, CAPTCHA is an acronym that stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

Now that you’ve qualified as something more than a robot, what if there was a test you had to take to prove that you were a leader?

How could you assure others that you aren’t a robot programmed to lead?

Well, first you have to find something inherently in humans that robots do not have nor can they be programmed for (at least not yet anyway).

You already know that robots are being programmed to assume more anthropomorphic traits such as eye contact, empathy and a soothing voice.

Nevertheless, is there one key question that you could pose to another to prove their credentials as a bonafide human with skillsets to lead other humans not a programmed robot engineered to  lead humans?

Consider the discerning focus in the following  question that career development expert Kate Lopaze posed on her blog for TheJobNetwork.com to determine leadership potential in job candidates.

 1. Do you truly value other people as human beings? 

The next four questions she asks reinforces that humanistic look at leadership:

2. Do you understand other’s emotions as well as your own ?

3. Do you encourage inclusion and diversity?

4. Do you look forward to the future?

5. Do you nurture other people’s talents?

No wonder author William Deresiewicz, writing in his book Excellent Sheep, advocates that college students seek courses that want to “humanize you not specialize you.” Even if you can tell the traffic lights and cross walks from the bridges and storefronts.

         For more ideas on unleashing potential and cultivating a creative climate that fosters a growth-oriented culture, purchase a 300-page book now available on Amazon. com filled with 77 short stories (5-minute reads called Leadership Mints) on examples from business, sports and politics.

         It’s titled:          LOVING Like a Leader with Empathy– one of three books in The Leadership Mints Series designed to help leaders refresh their feeling for leading. And as a bonus, the postscript titled– BUSINESS: A HUMAN EXPERIENCE — shares the impetus for this book on empathy impacting the bottom line.

The two other books in The Leadership Mints Series -now available on Amazon.com — include THINKING Like a Leader with Clarity and SPEAKING Like a Leader with Civility

 

All three books in The Leadership Mints Series are designed for busy leaders seeking to refresh their feeling for leading in 5-minutes or less — the average reading of a Leadership Mint.

           What ‘s a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.