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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

10 Surefire Ways for Leaders to Engage their Team Members

Want to be an excellent leader? A truly inspirational, effective agent of your team’s success? There is literally nothing harder – or more important – in the world of work. That’s why effective leaders are so rare in real life.

If that discourages you, them maybe you don’t have what it takes to lead after all. If it motivates you instead? Well, then, here are a few tips to take it from “in charge guy/gal” to “excellent leader !” who gets the very best from their people.

1. Repeat after me (to your team): “My job is to help you be successful by making your job easier.”
No, your job is not to give them the day off to shop while you finish up their work for them. But your job as leader – your only job, as leader – is to remove impediments and provide the tools for your people’s success. Take the obstacles out of their way and give them the resources so they can do the important work of your company: serving your customers!

2. Foster friendships among your staff.
After work socialization is important – it is! But nothing builds camaraderie and team spirit like shared success as the result of shared struggle. What’s your team’s greater goal? What significant challenges are you confronting that all of you can be proud of overcoming together?

3. Reward for the big things. And the medium things. And even the itty-bitty little things.
We like praise. We want recognition. One winner-takes-all vacation or mega-bonus for the year’s top performer is great and all, but how about a $5 Starbucks, or even a made-up certificate from your printer, because someone filed her report on time? 

4. Push them.
People of quality want to be good at their jobs. Kindly help them to improve. …Kindly, but maybe not gently.

5. Release the “Just Enoughers” to other “opportunities.”
We all know the “Just Enoughers.” Employees that do just enough to avoid getting fired. No one likes to work with slackers – except other slackers. Redeploy them sooner than later. As the old saying goes, “If it’s inevitable, make it immediate.”
6. Hire slowly and caaaaarefully!
Show your current team members and your new recruits that not just anybody belongs on your team. If you want to build an elite group, hire top performers. You’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs as you vet the talent pond.

7. Give them something important to get up for in the morning.
Remember number 2, with the part about shared challenges? Pick a lofty goal. Then make pursuit of that the rallying cry of your team. Change lives, change how business is done; don’t just settle to change who wins this year’s sales contest. 

8. Talk up your people to others.
Talk your team up to your peers, to their peers, to your boss and her boss and heck, to the security guard, too. Be proud of each of them, and share that pride with anyone who’ll listen. Word will filter back to them, and as it does, it will have have a major impact. 

9. Expect the world of them.
Establish with your team how highly you respect and admire them. Expect big things from them. They will live up to your image of them, no matter what it takes.

10. Be worthy of their effort.
Want to really be the best, most effective leader ever? Work to improve yourself every day, in every way that is important to your team’s success. In order to lead a group of champions to new heights, you as leader must be worthy of the team’s time and energy. And that’s a lot more than we have room for in one blog post.

You will never be as good as you can be as a leader. But every hour of every day, if you’re sufficiently devoted to the success of your team, you can improve. Keep at it, and your people will start bragging about you – to their peers, your peers, your boss and her boss. And yes, even to the security guards.

When it percolates back to you how admired you are by those you serve as leader… you’ll be infinitely prouder than if they told you themselves! 

All the success!

Peter McLees

P. S. Smart Development inc. has a proven track record equipping leaders and companies  to elevate employee and customer engagement. We have helped restaurants, stores, branches, distribution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My Top 40 Random Thoughts for Elevating the Holiday Spirits

Yuletide Greetings ~

It was the week before Christmas last year when I was sitting in the my World Headquarters (My favorite chair) listening to that song “We Need A Little Christmas”. I was not in the Ho! Ho! Ho! holly jolly holiday mood. My outlook was more like Bah! Bah! Bah!...Humbug! "This too shall pass" (meaning the holidays). I didn't like my state of mind so I set out to change the way I was feeling. I made a list of things I've done in the past, could do again, as well as some new things and random thoughts to create laughter, perspective and a sense of well being for myself and those around me.  It's funny how just writing things down boosted my spirits. And when I actually did some of  them---Wowzy Zowzy!

[I apologize for the for the long list but I was on a roll ]

1. Find a way to make a friend, a family member, a co worker or a stranger feel like a million bucks today. It is the best way to get rich quick because you instantly feel like a million bucks yourself when you do.
2. Why not listen to some commercial free (almost) Christmas music here
3. Commit to hearty laughter at least once a day. Once you do that, make sure you help others do the same! Methinks we are taking ourselves way too seriously! I know I do at times.
4. Forgive someone.
5. Be a kid again. We won’t tell anyone!

6. Understand that other than the “5 Golden Rings” in The 12 Days of Christmas, someone basically cleaned out their attic and was trying to unload junk. I mean what am I supposed to do with a bunch of Lords a leaping? Just put them over there next to the swans a swimming, Cabin boy!
7. Sing along to a holiday song. Rinse and repeat!
8. Volunteer at the local shelter or senior home.

9. Take a coworker out to lunch or coffee . . . just because.
10. Between now and the end of the year include messages of hope and inspiration in your status updates.
11. Grab a hot chocolate or some spiked egg nog and look at some Christmas lights.
12. Give someone a few extra minutes of your time.
13. Take at least one opportunity to bite your tongue. (This one's tough for me)
14. Over tip someone who deserves it. (This one's easy)

15. Understand that laughing at the song “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” is sick. Would you really laugh if your Grandmother got run over by a reindeer? What’s next? Grandpa got burned to death roasting chestnuts over a raging fire.
16. Forgive your parents already. Like they didn’t forgive us for the stuff we pulled?
17. Evict negativity from your life. Seek out good. Its there! In the words of Dwitt Jones, "Celebrate What's Right with the World."

18. Give someone the gift of your undivided attention.
19. Tell a loved one how much they mean to you. Unfortunately, there’s an expiration date on this crazy thing we call life! And if by chance you lost that person . . . find a way to honor them!
20. Plan a family night.
21. Find something inspirational and then pass it to your network because quite frankly, we all need a shot in the arm from time to time.
22. Encourage someone. Its free.
23. Answer this question: What am I most grateful for? Take inventory and count the upside.

24. Stop striving for Norman Rockwell Christmas moments. Understand that the beauty of his art was in capturing the chaos and even celebrating it. Might be a lesson in that crazy thought.
25. Donate some food to the local food pantry. They get hit hard this time of year.

26. Change the words to one of your favorite holiday songs. Personally, I like singing “Walking in my winter wacky wear" (Like those embarrassing red sweat pants that only my dogs accept me in) to the tune of “Walking in a winter wonderland”.

27. Commit to wearing your spirit on your sleeve! As William James remarked, "Act as if your cheerful and you'll eventually feel cheerful."
28. Listen to the lyrics of “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and then ask yourself, What’s the deal with that Figgy Pudding and who the heck do they think they are threatening us that “We won’t go until we get some” I wish the person who wrote that song would have stepped back to realize that people are willing to get indignant over a Baileys or a bowl of Hagen Daz Macadamia Nut crunch ice cream, but a figgy pudding? Don’t have any, but help yourself to those Lords a leapin over there instead skipper!

29. Sing a duet of “Baby its cold outside” and then realize that the cacophony that just occurred with your singing is precisely why you both need to keep working your day jobs.
30. Don't OD on the news. Take it in bite sized pieces. They make mega bucks with negativity . . . we don’t!
31. Find a way to create a memory and then visit that memory often! Someday we will refer to today as “The good old days” Make 'em count!
32. 101 Christmas Videos can be viewed online by clicking here
33. Go to a tree lighting, a children’s Christmas concert to get that hometown vibe going!
34. When you find yourself in an exceptionally good mood, don’t ever let anyone take your joy away from you.

35. Mend a fence. Lose the ego and repeat after me “I'm sorry” ( I know that phrase can stick in my craw sometimes). Try it and it will lighten your load.
36. Catch up with someone you lost touch with.
37. Let someone know they inspired you!
38. Let your spouse have the remote control for the entire night...or week. Yikes! I'm already getting the shakes just at the thought of it.
39. Go Elf yourself, your pet or a public figure.
40. Watch It’s A Wonderful Life (again). Current events notwithstanding, we have have a pretty wonderful life!   This season reminds us what is really important -- the relationships we share.  It is those relationships that really make it a wonderful life.

I hope in some small way this list has brought a smile and kicked up the holiday vibe a notch.

Peter Mclees