Most of us own, operate, or assist other businesses in being successful and evaluation of the effectiveness of the business is the culminating point to our individual success. When evaluating my own operating situations some of the things I hear from my team are:

“I have some folks on my team I am going to replace with an upgrade”

“My manager or employee just doesn’t get it.”

“Right bus wrong seat.”

“The work ethic of today’s generation…so much different than my generation”

“I just don’t think they care or are motivated by the same thing I am.”

I could go on, but I am sure you have heard some or all of these in your work experience. My concern…..these are all pointing fingers and there are a lot more fingers pointed back at you

Maybe some more responsible, business mature, and accountable quotes we should hear are:

“My leadership style is not getting the results I want, I wonder how I could change?”

“I hired this person based on the values and competencies I was looking for, why am I not able to motivate them to engage those skills identified”

“Maybe my communication isn’t being received the way I think it is.”

“I must have a poor connection to this employee that doesn’t allow me to motivate or inspire them to get great results?”

The big difference in the first set of statements and the second set? They are “I” not “You”. The hardest kind of growth is personal growth and so many of us don’t engage the root problem of results, ourselves, because quite frankly it can be a little uncomfortable, and in even more cases, deep down you know the problem is you.

How about an interview with your team member you are struggling with centered on these questions? As soon as you ask the questions, shut up and listen to the answers.

1. Do you trust me, my leadership, and is my direction helping you to achieve your best results? First and most important question. If they hesitate, or worse say no, stop here….you found the problem. Discuss this in depth and resolve the trust issue now. Nothing else matters until trust is achieved. No trust, no credibility, bad boss…no employee will be good without trusting you first.
2. I am concerned that WE aren’t achieving what I was hoping to achieve. Do you have any ideas or suggestions that are causing the gap?
3. If I could do one more thing to help you achieve the results we are striving towards, what would that be?
4. If we switched jobs today and you were in my shoes, what would you do to help me achieve the best results possible?
5. If someone offered you another job making the same money, same hours, and same expectations would you leave to work for them on the chance they may be a better leader?

Look inside before you look outside. Most of the time, you will find the problem there. Remember, great leadership is about you; there is never a solution in someone else.

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Tags: Swingley, leadership, problems, restaurant, results, selfless, successul


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Comment by Mark Frank on February 4, 2010 at 7:50am

The same comments you’ve so skillfully made in a work setting can also be made about raising and motivating kids. In fact, I was having this conversation today with my lady friend about her 14-year-old daughter. Your suggestion about placing yourself in the position of asking those "I" questions helps understand why we are unable to motivate this kid in the direction we wish. Perhaps if we reverse our effort and assume better “I” positioning we can potentially get the improved result we seek. This is every bit as much a life post as it is a work related post.

Another excellent, thought provoking post.





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