During most Excellence in Leadership 1 classes, we ask two very telling questions:
- Who was the best supervisor/leader you have ever had, and why?
- Who was the worst supervisor/leader you have ever had, and why?
The answer to the first question revolves around development, coaching, and motivation. Most of the time, the leader that tops the "best" list focused on helping the person grow, elevating their performance, and helping them achieve more than the employee thought was possible. They played the role of a mentor, coach, cheerleader, etc. Their goals were balanced between getting things done and positioning other people to learn and grow.
The answer to the second question is also interesting. Leaders on the "worst" list are focused on themselves and getting things done. They treat their people as tools.
I have had many people from the Interstates family invest their time in me to help me grow. For example:
- Jim Franken - coached and pushed me about leadership and being forward-thinking.
- Darrel Ramhorst - gave me hard feedback, pushed me to have high standards, and encouraged me when I needed it.
- John DeZeeuw - helped me understand the business of construction, engineering, and automation. He also inspired me to have a balanced perspective (balancing the needs of the employees, the needs of the clients, and the needs of the business).
- Larry Den Herder - focuses on providing feedback and direction on how to make a difference for our clients.
- Jack Woelber - provides great feedback and support. He also helps reinforce the desire to build a great culture, live our core values, and provide opportunities for people.
- Dave Crumrine - helps me to think broadly and deeply about our clients and our business. His ideas, feedback, and passion for pursuing a better way have raised the expectations of myself and our team.
- Doug Post - encourages me to be a better systems thinker and to constantly read and look for solutions for our teams and for our clients.
- Kristi Segar and Lori Van Beek - provide great feedback, insight, and perspective to help me grow as a leader.
As you think about how to develop, coach, and motivate your team, there are two approaches that are effective. If you want to have amazing results, the key is to implement them together. These approaches are:
As a leader, know your team. Know what they want to develop and support that. You should also have open and candid conversations with them about what they need to develop and why. As you get to know them you'll find out what they need (e.g. skill development, experience, self-awareness, confidence, etc.).
These moments pop up every day, but many of them go unnoticed. A great leader has the ability to see them and leverage them. They may not see 100% of them; it is more like baseball - hitting 300 is great. They connect the teachable moment with the development that employee needs at that time. When it happens - it is powerful and can really motivate the employee, and the leader.
Interstates excels at development, both on the technical side and on the leadership side. Your responsibility, your opportunity, your privilege is investing some of yourself into your team, your peers, and other leaders to help them reach their potential. When it happens, it's a win/win situation. When you invest in people, you ARE leading The Interstates Way!
Continue leading The Interstates Way!