How can we unlock the abilities of others to get things done?
I heard it all from my coaching encounters this past week — safety, quality, productivity, cleanliness of the shop floor, compliance of basic company policies like showing up on time, and a firing due to sexual harassment.
Then I had a call with a decision maker who was exasperated with his Millennials. He said, “John, I know you said they are the most productive generation ever. Well, we are not seeing it. How do you engage them? And more importantly, as they are now becoming our new leaders, how do you train them?”
This reminded me of when I was coordinating a public Dale Carnegie class in Altoona some 25 years ago. I walked into an establishment as the owner just happened to be walking out. When he heard me say I was representing Dale Carnegie, he turned to me and said, “That’s nice, but you and Dale Carnegie, whoever that guy is, have no idea what’s going on here.” I replied, “I believe I actually know what is your number one problem or challenge.” He said, “If you can give me that answer, I’ll give you 30 minutes.” I simply said, “It’s people.” He enrolled a team into my class and we are still friends today.
People — This gives the servant leader opportunities to serve, because only as we are useful to others do we unlock their abilities to get things done. Here is one way to be useful:
When explaining the job, task, or activity expectations, spend more time explaining the “why” rather than the details of the “what” they are supposed to do. Try it and see what happens. Let me know how it goes.
Dale Carnegie said to make others happy about doing the things you suggest. To truly be successful at this, you need to put on your servant lenses.