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This month’s featured article outlines a portion of the leadership course that is being developed for employees of Atlas Industrial.
Released: December 10, 2019
Author: Ryan Rhodes, Chief Information Officer, Atlas Industrial Outsourcing, LLC
Featured: December 2019 Monthly Article (view here)
Normally, our newsletters are expected to go out by the first Friday of each month. Unfortunately, I had to delay this month’s newsletter by a few days because the substance of this article on leadership was not quite compiled. In fact, I wanted to make sure that I had taken the time to properly edit and proof read this article and get the right information out to those who it would affect the most, which would be everyone apart of this company.
One of the hardest things to do in any organization, is to lead. It’s an intangible ability that only comes about through gumption and experience. Gumption, or drive, is what causes leaders to inspire those who are subject to their charge or area of responsibility. In this article, we are going to speak about five key areas that will help lead and inspire others towards the same vision. During our Leadership, Management and Accountability (LMA) course; we go more in depth as to what differentiates leadership from management and how anyone can be a “manager”. Without true leadership abilities and/or qualities, there is a lack of overall performance from that person filling the role of the manager. Where the expectation is a rise in performance and overall company increase in profitability, instead there is a steady decline in morale, overall work quality and performance, trust, respect and decline in the company’s profitability. All which rest on the shoulders of the Manager put in place to fulfill a role that they should be qualified to fill.
Many of you may have experienced the example listed above, where you had a direct supervisor or manager that was put into place due to tenure, or because they were part of the family and naturally were given the succession because of an inheritance. In either case, there is a direct correlation between a company’s overall well-being and the qualifications held by its management team. Failure to put the right person in the right seat, can cost the company not just monetary value, but time.
In this article, I want to outline the importance of understanding your leadership style and how when you are given more responsibilities, it is up to you to broaden your understanding of that role and furthermore do a service to yourself and the company by further improving it.
When in a management role, if you are not bettering the company for tomorrow, you are failing as a leader today.
If you struggle with going into work, then the question should be: “Are you happy or content where you are right now?”. In many cases, the answer is going to be No. There is, and will always be, room for self-improvement. Questions to ask yourself: Am I aligning with the company’s vision? Am I on point with the company values and culture? Am I giving it my all, do I drive my ship with passion?
Each month, the WJTA releases articles that outline differences in the industry and spotlights for companies that are members of the association, as well as upcoming events. In October’s outline, there is a spot in there from Kerry Siggins, who is the CEO for StoneAge Tools and she is also the Vice President of the WJTA Board of Directors. During October’s issue, she highlighted an article about “Work Hard to Develop Passion”. She made excellent points which I have outlined below.
You can’t be great at something unless you know what “great” looks like. Your goals will change as you master your role so don’t spend time trying to figure out the end game; there is no end game. Pick one part of your job to master first, determine what being an expert looks like, set goals and then act. Then repeat.
It’s hard to excel at something if you don’t go beyond your comfort zone; you will never achieve mastery if you don’t push yourself. Take on a challenging new project, ask your boss for in-depth, critical feedback on your performance, or learn a new skill. Rather than accept status quo, raise the bar for yourself.
It’s easy to be distracted by tasks that minimize the discomfort of working hard at something you aren’t yet great at. Don’t be your own worst enemy; minimize your distractions.
There is no way around it., if you want to be great at something, you must work at it. Michael Jordan said it best: “practice, practice, and more practice”. You can look at new tasks and challenges as strength and conditions exercises; every task complete and challenge overcome you’ve built your “getting really good at your job” muscles. Give your best effort and analyze your performance. Then practice more.
Read job related books or publications, take classes, go to conferences, join forums online, ask for more training, try a new way of doing something, find out how other people do your job. Be curious and never stop learning. There is always something to improve upon.
Receiving feedback can be tough, but it’s critical to grow personally and professionally. Be coachable by checking your ego at the door. Ask your boss and coworkers for feedback on your performance. If you can get criticism, don’t take it personally or give up; instead use it as fuel for improvement.
To summarize Kerry Siggins article, those who are revered as highly skilled people are that way because they worked hard at becoming their vest best. They make each day a commitment to their passion. Passion is something that will follow you as you put in the hard work to become valuable to the world. Another important factor to be successful in the role that you have been assigned, is to align your personal purpose with your work.
So how do we do this? Start by bringing back imagination into your work.
That is not to say that you want your imagination dictating your work, instead, if you can dream it, you can do it. If Thomas Edison had not failed over a thousand times to find the one way to create a lightbulb, someone else would have dreamt it eventually. Because it was his passion to advance man-kind, he sank his time and energy into his work. Think of all the possibilities if you switch your mindset to: Let me get that done today, instead of putting it off for tomorrow.
Tips outlined below will help any leader/manager become more efficient at their job and overall role. However, you and only you, can apply these to your job and take the time for more practice to get better.
Start by identifying the task(s) at hand, or you could even use this method to identify problems that you want to see change for the better.
Having a common vision is key to be successful. If you surround yourself with coworkers that share in the same vision as you, it makes it easier for both you and your team to be effective and efficient.
There are four main concepts of leading with your imagination.
Love: This is the action, not the squishy feeling. This is one of the guidance forces used while interacting with your teams. Leaders Eat Least (LEL) is a principle where the leader puts others first. By leading with actionable love and compassion, leaders set the tone of engagement.
Authenticity: You must be humble yet authentic (trustworthy). Live by the Four Core Values of our company and set the example. You must be willing to be transparent and take the opportunity to trust your team.
Be a Risk Taker and be Vulnerable: Imagination in essence, means trying new things that inherently involve a little risk. Applying imagination to a challenge, a creative solution can be developed. Risk done well can be called innovation.
Curiosity: You and your team should be curious as to why. It becomes a pattern when you start to understand the process and reasoning behind certain actions and above all, why?. You must be willing to explore and ask questions, which important insights can be discovered. This improves your efficiency as a leader within any company you may work for or with.
To influence another person to join on the same mission and vision, is to inspire that person. Great leaders must first lead themselves. By leading oneself, you will create an air of positive change in those around you. In just the way you present yourself and actions, could inherently inspire and change others around you and you may not even notice it.
At Atlas Industrial, our company’s core focus is to Innovate and Improve. This means that when we find something that is not performing to efficiency, we look at why. We look into the problem or failing process. We adapt a culture of change to that process, we set in motion a plan to fix, apply the fix and/or changes, await the results and drive on feedback. Is it working? If not, then we repeat this process.
Innovation is what drives companies forward, and ultimately is what drives our world. Without innovation, there would be no internet, cars, paper! If there is a more efficient way to complete something, then you are innovating and imagining ways to make the process better. So many times mangers get complacent and use the phrase “That is how we have always done it”. If there is an easier way to do it, why not at least give it a try and forget the norm. Innovating only helps to solidify the old way versus the new way. Which way is more efficient? That is for you to find out.
What kind of life are you living and if you are living the life you want, have you made a connection with someone else to make a difference in their life? As leaders, we too, often forget the importance of why we are where we are. Leaders develop other leaders. It is an old saying that still is true to this day. If you are not making a meaningful impact on someone else, then re-evaluate and start making those impacts. It can be with a fellow employee, family, friend, community outreach, etc. When you leave this world behind, what kind of legacy have you made for the next generation to live up to or take on?