My first job as a manager ended up being much more of a lesson than I had hoped. My prior leadership experience was limited to my fraternity or the Jaycees.
In my jobs, I had only had 2 or 3 bosses by the time I became a boss so I made things up as I went. Many of the things I made up were mistakes.
The trucking business experiences high turnover, but ours was even high for the industry. Our first hires left quickly. When I gave someone work, they often produced different results than I expected. And when they did something without being told, it was very often not what I would have wanted.
As the boss, I had to be called often, mostly for things being broken or stuck. Every call was a problem. It was a difficult time.
Out of frustration I began searching for answers. Both during and after that first leadership job, I made 6 attitude adjustments that transformed my negative, stressed, micro-management approach into a more creative, energized leadership.
- Focus On Others – Our team won’t be successful unless the members of the team are successful too. Focus on making our team members successful in a way that also creates success for the overall team.
- Be Transparent & Accountable – We get what we model. If we want accountable, reliable team members, we must be one too. As the manager, I had the power to fake it, but I didn’t want to institutionalize faking it, so I began to practice transparent accountability.
- Everyone Chooses – We always volunteer our best energy. If we feel forced to do something, we seldom give it our best. I began to ask rather than to tell and give people the opportunity to choose.
- Everyone Leads – We are each leaders. We each influence. I wanted to identify those who were purposeful and responsible with their influence, and give them the opportunity to choose to move toward the team’s ideal future.
- Everyone Learns – We don’t have to be taught, but we do have to learn. I worked to give people opportunities to self-develop.
- Respect Elevates – when we focus on others, model accountability, honor people as choosers, leaders and learners, we demonstrate respect. Our ideal team members are energized and elevated by that respect.
We respect our teams when we practice these attitude adjustments. And that respect brings energy and hope.
Now that you’ve read about my adjustments, what have you learned on your journey? What mental shifts have you made? Which do you need to make? Share your thoughts below and let others in on your experience.