Discover the Rare Leader.

As with most blogs, you will find our most recent posting at the top in your current view.
On your first visit, begin with "What is the Rare Leader".
Reading subsequent postings under the archive section will allow you to "catch up" on the story of the Rare Leader.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I’ve Got Wonderful Relationships...I’m their Boss.

One of my clients asked me to help them discover a downward trend in profits at one of their locations.  Everything seems to check out, they said.  Marketing plans are consistent with our corporate guidelines.  Inventory control checks are all green on my dashboard.  Our service menu is easily the most inviting within a 60 mile drive.  Our online presence is great, with our website winning an award a few months ago.  Our pricing is in line with our competition.  But over the last year, our revenues have been slipping, and now we are below target on our bottom line.
I looked at the data and he was correct.  His dashboard looked very green, but the rolling 12 month report on revenues and profit was revealed something was wrong.
What are your customers saying...I asked?  They did not have reliable data here.  All they had were a few comment cards filled out by customers on their way out (if they took the time).  I suggested a targeted customer contact study.  Over the next month, we sent e-mails with a brief confidential survey to every customer from the past 12 months.  The return rate was actually quite high.  We invited 24 random customers to focus group events, teasing them with some nice “freebies”.  My facilitation of these gatherings told us what we had not known.  We changed the comment card and left it and an envelope with each customer during their service.   We used a “secret shopper” program to get an inside view of the customer experience.
I love data.  It not only verifies our intuition, but opens new doors to explore.  The customer data revealed one important topic, with several issues we had not anticipated.  The employees were failing their customers expectations.  We found inconsistencies in delivering the service that customers selected. (employees altered the service to what they “felt like doing”.)  We found customers were disappointed to learn their favorite employees had left.  Looking deeper we discovered turnover was high, but because of the great reputation, filling open positions came easy, disguising the turnover.  Employees generally seemed disengaged, unhappy, and a “turn off” to customers.  In short, the employees were turning customers away.
There were no exit interviews.  There were no follow ups with employees who left.  There was no corporate intervention on employee relations issues.  There was no data to analyze, leaving us to imagine the employees seemed isolated on an island with their manager.
The Manager can’t be the problem, said my client.  She’s great...she’s one of our best leaders.  Her reports are accurate and on time, she’s engaged with our Leadership Team, everyone  up here at “Corporate” loves her.  
But when we did talk to employees, we found the other side of the story.  Their comments included...She was a bully, she’s toxic, It’s all about her and no one else, she micromanages, she doesn’t care about service consistency, she ignores standards and protocol, she has mood swings, she has favorites, she doesn’t care about what I think.  And finally the revealing comments saying...”she makes certain the number one goal of her looking good to “Corporate” is always top priority”. short, the financials all seemed to check out until it was too late from a revenue to profit indication.  The business model seemed to shine.  The Manager (I hesitate to call her the Leader) was focused on her own success, and failed to build quality relationships with the employees who in the end, drove customers away. 
  1. Can we save this business?
  2. What steps would you take to turn losses into profits?
  3. How can you ensure customer satisfaction?
  4. Does this manager listen, understand, respond, or sense the needs of other people?
  5. What if this Manager focused on others first?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

But, Do I Have To Like People To Be A Leader?

We have concluded one of the twelve behaviors of the Rare Leader™ is to be high in “relationships”.  The quick response from some people has been...”so what you’re telling me, is that if I don’t like to be around people I can’t lead?”  
I’ve heard feedback on assessments when I review candidates for an Executive Leadership opportunity for a client...
  • If my MBTI shows me to be an “E” rather than an “I”, am I doomed to be in the trenches, rather than leading the troops?  
  • My DiSC profile shows me to be a lower “I”, should I see this as an indication I can not influence the people I lead?
  • My Culture Index profile indicates I am a lower “B”.    Because I like to think and focus on the tasks at hand rather than socialize shouldn’t be interpreted that I can not lead.
Now what? 
While there is a great amount of reality that Leaders interact with people, and establish that mutual trust between them, it is not intended the “relationship” behavior of the Rare Leader™ be an emphasis on social skills and desires.
However, the Rare Leader™ is always dealing with people, displaying the ability to listen, to understand, and to respond.  The Rare Leader™ uses intuition to sense what people are feeling and thinking.  The Rare Leader™ is able to recognize different behavioral styles proving he or she can focus on others rather than themselves.
Sometimes, “E’s”, or higher “I’s”, or higher “B’s” struggle leading others.  Perhaps their personal focus is on the social side of working with others rather than actually leading.  
This high “sociability” might even mask their inability to establish a trusting relationship, disabling any intuitive skill to sense what motivates their Team, or to understand and appropriately respond to differing styles of behavior.  After all, the key to utilizing these assessment profiles is understanding how you can affect others, and how to sense and interact with others.
So let’s make a deal here...
  1. Don’t take the popular assessment tools at face value as an indicator of Leadership.  We need to understand what they really mean.
  2. Social Skills are not the same as “relationship” behaviors and abilities.
  3. Consider these important questions;
    • Do you have the ability to listen to people?
    • Can you understand what others are trying to communicate to you?
    • Are you able to respond effectively to others?
    • Are your intuitive skills heightened?
    • Can you sense what people are thinking or feeling?
    • Can you recognize differing behavioral styles in people you lead?
    • Do you focus on the success of others as well as your self?
    Check back with us soon, to discover and share more about your answers to these questions.
    If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
    or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
    Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.