As the new year rolls by, already mid January, we all reflect on what we can do better whether it be personal, professional, diet, more family time, etc., it is always a time for me to reflect on how do I keep more people in the boat rowing together with me. I want to lose less people than last year, increase the capacity of the people I do have, and improve my team by adding top-level performers. In this week’s blog I want to focus on keeping more people on my team. Now if you are reading this, I am going to make an assumption that you are already a pretty good boss, otherwise you wouldn’t be seeking out and reading things that would improve you even more. If you are a bad boss, well, you probably aren’t reading anything.

Now all my research and belief on this topic is purely my own conjecture, but hey, I’ve been managing people for a couple of days now so you are just going to have to take me at my word. So why do people leave in order of importance in my warped mind?

-They don’t like working for me
-They are bored and don’t like working for me
-They are disengaged and don’t like working for me

Wait, I think I’ve got it, they don’t like working for me. Sucks, but it IS the reality. I couldn’t do enough to excite them to the task, I couldn’t motivate them enough to be successful, or I couldn’t gain a good enough connection to have them come back for more.

So if you are losing lots of folks or just want to keep more of them around, try this task with some of the people you lead. Grab a blank piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, sit across from your team member, and start the conversation. First question up, think of the person that you have worked for in your life that you most admired. Next question, Can you name all of the qualities that you feel earned them your admiration as a stellar leader of people. As they begin to spew glowing evaluations of their prior boss, on the left hand side of the paper, write those qualities down, one underneath the other. Keep the conversation going and be exhaustive to the point that your team member can’t think of one more awesome thing to say about their best boss ever. A full page is a good sign you have pulled out all the good stuff. People love to talk about others they admire and respect.

Here comes the test, on the right hand side of the paper, write your name at the top of the page and ask this question of your best team member. “Of the qualities listed here, would you say that I possess any of them as your current leader?” A moment of hesitation will occur, and then the personal growth for you begins. As they identify some of the traits, write them on your side of the page. Don’t let them blow smoke up your skirt, if you don’t believe them, don’t write that one down. When the process is over, look and see what traits you didn’t write down on your side of the page.

Now you know EXACTLY what you have to do to keep this person from leaving because they don’t like working for you.

Humbling? Yes. Difficult? Yes.
Essential? Absolutely!

Views: 2

Tags: Swingley, communication, leadership, restaurant, turnover


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Comment by Sean Moloney on January 25, 2010 at 9:06am
AH the true servent leader rises again!! Great post Andy! I know that any leader who works with you, wants to be there because of your leadership and honesty (to them and yourself)!!!
Thanks for another inspiring note!
Comment by Michael Biesemeyer on January 21, 2010 at 3:19pm
You and I can FOHscilitate the discussion once they're on board. Let's get all the 'hands on deck'...we need to start rowing in the same direction. Thanks, Andy!
Comment by Andy Swingley on January 21, 2010 at 3:07pm
Angie Chaplin
@AngieChaplin on Twitter
Angie teaches and models the Leadership Challenge process that I love. The process was first discussed and has become a model for leadership written by Kouzes and Posner.

Bret L Simmons
@drbret on Twitter
This guy just plain gets it

That's a great start with those two!
Comment by Michael Biesemeyer on January 21, 2010 at 2:50pm
@Andy: any chance we could invite some of your mentors onto FohBoh? Is there anyone in the foodservice industry who's written/spoken/blogged about these issues in a way that resonates with you?
Comment by Andy Swingley on January 21, 2010 at 2:45pm
@David...aaahhh the eternal struggle. Yeah, let's connect more. I have some books to suggest as well as we should probably chat and see if we can come up with some strategies! (740) 438-8700 is my number and I love talking about this stuff and helping others to find a way to better leadership. You can also e-mail me at Looking forward to connecting!

@Jeffrey - thank you!!!!
Comment by Jeffrey J Kingman on January 21, 2010 at 11:17am
Comment by David Turk on January 21, 2010 at 7:12am
Oh, man, Andy. You've hit a nerve. I have attempted for a long time to abandon the "command and control" management style that you refer to, preferring to create an environment of responsibility and accountability. However, I feel like a babe in the woods. Do you have any suggestions for me on where I can learn more on how to adopt this style? I have not been as successful with it as I would like. I continue to revert back to my old (lazy) way of "my way or the highway".
Comment by Andy Swingley on January 21, 2010 at 5:16am
Thanks for the welcome and comment Keith!

Comment by Keith Bernhardt on January 21, 2010 at 5:03am
Some good points to ponder.
Welcome back to the team ~!
Comment by Andy Swingley on January 21, 2010 at 2:59am
Thanks for the comment Michael. I think the problem is that "command and control" management works to a limit and with that has always been accepted. The problem is that command and control leaders don't have vision so they don't have the ability to raise their limit. If their "limit" earns them enough of a lifestyle to consider themselves successful, well that's good enough, right? Uuuuurrrrgggghhh!




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