We rented the Avengers movie this weekend. I enjoyed it. It’s always nice to see a band of earthlings fight off a massive horde of aliens. Even if the earthlings are all freaks of some sort.
My wife and I were trying to decide who our favorite Avenger is. I have to go with Ironman, with Captain America a close second. I just appreciate Ironman’s unmitigated pride, and his delivery. He is also not chemically altered, pure human. Pure ego, but pure human.
They all have their strengths…and their weaknesses. They all complement one another and at the end of the day, they get the job done that Nick Fury hired them for.
I love looking at people’s strengths (check out my posts on strengths) and trying to maximize their potential.
We are hiring in our office right now and looking for a specific type of person, with specific strengths. Someone that will fill in the gaps in our team and help us get the job done. I will have them in the office for multiple interviews, and personality tests, like the DISC, Values, and possibly Strengths-Based. There’s no reason for me to hire the unknown quantity, I’ve done that before, and had to let them go shortly afterward. But not before they did damage to the existing team. I intend on finding out who this person is before they join our team and culture. One of my most important jobs as leader is to develop and then protect an excellent culture.
Just like the Avengers, right?
Wish me luck.
What is your process for hiring?
I saw Larry the cowboy again this last week. He attends my church, so I usually see him on Sundays. But seeing him this time reminded me of some more lessons he shared with me on horsemanship, and leadership.
He told me that horses, like people, need a few things to be effective companions and good workers.
Security. A safe place. Somewhere they can be comfortable and not feel harassed or in danger.
Friendship. Someone to talk to and get to know outside of the professional sphere.
A Leader. Not being afraid of confrontation. Knowing where you want to go and sharing that.
He also described one way he uses Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits in leading and rehabilitating his horses. He told me that he never appreciated the Seven Habits until he thought one day about his horses and how he could use it with them.
He said to First Seek to Understand. Before acting on a certain behavior, find out why, or what is causing the behavior. And then you can address the source, and not just the symptom.
Lastly, he said something that showed to me his passion for his profession. He said that a horse and a man are the ultimate team. They were meant to work together. They complement each other’s strengths and buoy up the weaknesses.
In summary, I learned from him that if I can provide security, friendship and be a leader, my team will be happy. If I seek to understand before I intervene, I will more likely help than hurt. And if the right team comes together, they can be…
What Do They Need?
Being a leader is kind of a funny thing. You really aren’t a leader alone. You can’t study and learn and sit at home and be a leader. You have to have something else.
In the last two posts, we’ve looked at improving ourselves as leaders and as human beings by knowing our strengths. When we know our strengths, we can build on them. We get a greater return on our investment of time and energy than if we invest in our weaknesses.
Our team can take us to the next level by filling in for our weaknesses.
Now we can look at how we can meet the needs of our followers.
Tom Rath at Gallup, asked in a survey about a leader that influenced people’s lives. They then asked for three words to describe that person, or what that leader gave them.
After thousands of entries, these four general needs rose to the top of their results.
We have all seen how quickly the media jumps on a story of a business or political leader being dishonest. To foster trust, a leader must,
“die keeping your promises.”
Relationships are key, even more than competence, according to Rath. Get to know your followers and have integrity, sounds easy enough, huh?
A leader has to care about people. A leader has to be positive, says Mervyn Davies in Strengths-Based Leadership, “employees don’t want to follow negative people.”
This means that your principles are solid. Nobody can question your motives. It also can mean transparency to your followers. They see you have weaknesses and you acknowledge them. That builds confidence in followers. Don’t try to cover up your weaknesses, people can see them, so consequently, they just see the cover up for what it is. Be who you say you are.
Tom Rath says in Strengths-Based Leadership, that most leaders react to the needs of the day. This shows followers that their leader is tossed about on the waves of life.
He continues to say that when leaders initiate action, they create hope. Just by choosing their direction, they share hope for their future.
This last point was really important for me in my business. I would start a training program with my team, or we would start a staff meeting, and someone would bring up an “emergency.” Great, so let’s all spend the rest of the meeting and the next week working on this “emergency.”
So nothing got done. And it was my fault, I let it happen. Once I chose to downgrade the “emergencies”, I felt lifted. I chose what we would discuss and train on, and not someone from outside our office. I felt the hope. I was directing my team to go where I wanted to go.
Now I have read and implemented many of these principles, but I am still working on developing my strengths.
I make mistakes, I have weaknesses, but I’m planning to lead, and my team will continue to lift me, and us, all up to new levels of greatness.
And I hope yours does too.
What can you do to build trust with your followers? What can you do to create hope with your followers?