Sunday, February 1, 2015

The key to effective leadership in business

Understand the environment in which you operate


Don’t expect that you can walk into any situation and that your presence alone will be enough to solve issues within a business.  Whether it’s personnel, or the methods in which the business is run, it’s important to really know the people within the business.  I harken back to a key piece of advice a business professional once told me: understanding the human psyche is the most valuable part of business leadership.   How someone reacting or performing can almost always relate back to their past experiences.

Take this scenario:  You had a great day at work, you feel like everything is going your way and feel like everyone around should be feeling as good as you do.  On your way back from work you stop at the grocery store.  You’re in such a great mood and while you’re at the till you say hello to the cashier with a big smile and to your surprise you get a fake smile back with a very curt “Hey”.  As you patiently wait for your groceries to be rung through the cashier points out you forgot to write the scan number on one of your bulk items and with a hint of distaste reminds you that you need to pay more attention.   Now as you wait for her to finish, with your own hint of annoyance starting to build, the cashier forgets to take scan your points card so you politely remind her that you need it to be scanned.  For your trouble she shoots you the “are you serious” look before she scans and gives your card back without so much as a thank you or a smile. 

Now look back at this scenario, what are the first thoughts that may come back to your mind:
-       Why would someone hire this person to represent their business?
-       Should I talk to the manager to give my two cents?
-       I have no idea why this person would be in a people industry

But now suppose I told you the night before she had her mom go into the hospital and was dealing with a life threatening ailment. Would your opinion change? 

Dealing with stress, as tenuous as it can be, is a very trainable attribute.  Not everyone grows up or has been taught the same coping mechanisms and as the leader of any organization your ability to understand where your team members are psychologically can be invaluable to the continued success of your business.  The absolute worst thing you can do is to ignore the problem and wait until it goes away.  Every day and every moment can be a reflection of your business and with you being the leader it’s a reflection of your leadership ability: fairly or unfairly. 
Why do the best hotels in the world consistently have positive reviews.  It’s not because they have the softest pillows or the best locations.  It is because of training, communication, detailed job descriptions , accountability, performance reviews, standards of care and the constant ambition to excel.  These are not just buzz words, they are roadmaps to success.

If you have not read it an excellent book to pick up is "Mastery" by George Leonard.   Using his personal experiences learning the martial art Aikido, combined with Zen philosophy, the author shares his life changing lessons and how he used them to gain a high level of success and personal achievement in every aspect of his life. 

Constant growth will always be its own reward and will lead you on a path to lifelong happiness.

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