What makes a good leader?
A strong force on the front lines?
It can be argued that a good leader consists of all of those things.
But how should leadership in the workplace be encouraged and developed?
In a recent conversation with Bob Payton, President and CEO of Dental Planet, Bob gives insight into what good leadership in the workplace looks like. Bob has handled a lot of turnaround management and is all about understanding the customers needs and fulfilling them. His knowledge is invaluable.
Here’s what we learned.
It’s all about listening… and hiring
Leadership is a whole lot about listening. Listening to the customer guide where the company needs to grow.
Listening to your team.
Because after all, they’re good people. They’ve got good insight.
Well, that is they should. If you hired the right ones.
As a leader it is crucial that as you’re hiring for your team, you’re interviewing for the job you’re needing to hire in.
In other words, you need to look at what the job is and hire for that specific job.
If you’re looking for a leader, make sure that you ask leadership questions.
If you’re looking for an assembly line person, then talk all things assembly line issues. Talk about what it will be like doing the same job over and over again everyday.
A crucial point in the hiring process is being sure to have pre-employment testing.
Whether you’re hiring a welder or a writer, you need to check out their skills and not take whatever they say for granted.
Have a test ready so that you can see what the candidate’s abilities are all about.
If you can do those things and really take your time in the hiring process, then you can build a team of great people because newsflash…
You can’t do it alone!
You have to have a great team helping you out.
Your success is dependent on who you’ve got on your team.
On building a team
When you’re building your dream team, it’s important to remember to empower them.
You’ve got to let others in the organization see that you’re not going to control every single move.
They need to see that there is progression.
They need to be given opportunities to show off their skills. Luckily, there’s a number of ways to do that.
Put a team together and put them on an opportunity. It can be developing a new product or a customer service improvement initiative that your company needs to take.
Whatever it is, go ahead and pick a team that has some company veterans on it as well as some newer younger people so that everybody has a chance to offer input and their different points of view.
After you have your team picked, set the expectations for what you want.
Give the team a timeline and what kind of output you are looking for. Then let them go.
It’s very important as a leader in your organization to empower those around you.
Not only is it your job to empower them, you have to model the right behaviors for that team to see how things should be done.
You can’t just throw out a project and expect them to do what they want.
You want to have led by example and shown them how you would take a team through and making sure all voices at the table are heard and that they’re really coming up with a good product.
Communicating with your team
In the broader scope of the entire team that is working together, communication is KEY.
You have to communicate often.
You have to communicate in several different forms.
Not everyone on your team learns and takes in information the same way.
Whether they’re visual, auditory, or tactical, you’ve got to make sure that you’re communicating clearly to them the overall strategic goals in a way that they can take in the new information.
If they don’t get it, that’s on you as the primary source of the information.
The 1, 2, 3 principle
When you’re making decisions with your team, using the 1, 2, 3 principle aids you in making a better, and more collective, decision.
1: Who can help me make a better decision
2: Who will be affected by the decision
3: Who will be impacted by that decision
The key is not just talking to all of those people, but talking to them all at the same time.
At the start of the process.
The inside and the outside principle
Your internal colleagues are your internal customers.
You don’t need to treat somebody in another department any different than you would your best customer.
So often it’s so easy for the company, the team, to slide into an us vs. them mentality.
Repeat this mantra daily, “We’re all on the same team.”
As a leader, you’ve got to help everyone realize that they’re on the same team and that they’ve got to serve each other. Not just the person outside of the organization.
You need to have your team asking one another, “How can I serve you better so that you can serve me and our external customers better?
Click this link to hear the entire interview with Bob Payton.