I recently hired four new managers. The store is growing and we will be taking on some new ventures so we implemented a much-needed change. People say they like change, but generally they don’t like it when it is actually happening to them. Lee Cockrell; former Executive Vice President of Operations of Walt Disney World Resort® explained in his book “Creating Magic” how Disney was undergoing oceans of change. He went home to have one of his favorite meals, which included Tabasco sauce. During the meal his wife gave him green Tabasco sauce. When he objected to his wife, she told him that she heard it was good and to try it. Guess what? It was good! As I am bringing this new group of leaders into my store I have gotten all kinds of feedback from others about all of the changes we are implementing. Here is my feedback; Leadership is not a job description, don’t put it on your resume.
Reasons I have heard that they should be a leader:
- I have been here longer
- I had to “train” the leader so I know more
- I deserve it
- They will take every opportunity to point out someone else’s weak spot.
Here is where I sum it up: Leaders, lead
- Who is following you? If you don’t have anyone following you, then you are not leading. You’re always in a position to lead, even if it’s as easy as holding open a door for someone. No one else did it, you’re leading by example.
- Leaders stay to get it done. I hear this from brilliant leaders on a regular basis. They will be working an all-nighter or cancel plans to get the job done. They are a leader because they finish the task.
Enlightenment: my store was getting wrapped up from a remodel. The walk in cooler sounded like we put 10 water buffaloes in it and shut the door; it was making an awful racket. It had to be something with the fan, but it was shaking the whole building. The foreman on the job said on Friday the installers heard it making this noise and said, “oh lets give it 48 hours, then we will come back to see if its still doing this.” That’s pretty convenient, since the weekend is 48 hours. I guess if they said it was Friday, they would just take the weekend off , and fix it Monday it wouldn’t sound the same. Now, a leader would have jumped back in there, and spent the time it took to make it right, allowing the customer to have peace of mind.
- Leaders see where help is needed and take action. When you see a need, try to help. You know what? Sometimes it may not work but people appreciate help, even when it does not work.
I was at a pizza place once, I took my family there on a Sunday because we had been a few times before and really liked it. We generally meet a couple of families there, so with my own family of 8, it gets very busy very fast. Well this particular Sunday, they were already busy. They had 3 people working, and the line went out the door. It was taking forever and saw these high school kids getting more and more stressed. Feeling bad for the employees, I walked to the back told them I knew the owner and proceeded to wash my hands. I told them I was going to help. I sized up ahead of time the only task I could do which was taking pizzas out the oven, cutting them and plating them, helping them to serve the guests quicker. I did encourage them to contact the owner, and let him know they needed help. My wife Noell, had been singing at church that morning so she followed about 30 min behind us for lunch. My wife said to me when she arrived, she was not too surprised to see me behind the counter, “that’s what you do”- See a need, fill a need” – Bigweld from Disney’s Robots.
- Leaders are not waiting till they get a better paycheck. If I get paid more I will help, or I would stay, but others get paid more. Here is a recipe to earn more quickly.
- Get to work 30 min early for work (even if its for free….. eventually you will be rewarded)
- Stay later than your shift.
- Look for opportunities that others shy from.
- Dress nicer than those around you- If your trying to pull ahead of others, you don’t have to be the best, you just have to be better than them. Remember that old joke: if you are with a friend, and you see a bear, you don’t have to be faster than the bear, just be faster than your friend.
Why are there so few leaders? Because leaders do what others wont to get the results. Leadership is not a job description.