- Author: Noah Rickun
- Subject: Becoming a better leader
- Essential Reading: Shop Owner, Center Manager
The secret to becoming a great leader begins with an understanding of:
• The difference between compliance and commitment. You may be able to “get someone to do something” but that’s a short-lived win and a telltale sign of poor engagement. I don’t want a bunch of yes men working for me. I want engaged, passionate, dedicated people who are willing to fight for what they believe is right. I don’t want people who comply with my commands – I want people who are committed to doing what’s best for the company and for the customer every time.
• The difference between a manager and a coach. Managers are needed for supervisory purposes in industries that require remedial tasks. And even that’s a stretch. Nobody really wants or needs a manager. What they need is a coach. Think of the greatest coaches of all time: Vince Lombardi. John Wooden. Pat Riley. Joe Torre. I’ll bet you can name 25 off the top of your head. Now name the greatest managers of all time. Go ahead. Can’t think of one? That’s because managers are forgotten. Coaching and leading leaves a legacy.
• The difference between motivation and inspiration. Dr. Bob Nelson wrote, “You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.” I couldn’t agree more. Great coaching leads to employees who perform well even when the boss is away. Motivation is temporary; inspiration is forever. And the key is to inspire your people to win for themselves – not for you.
• The difference between expectation and encouragement. This is the difference between “You better do this or you’re fired” and “I know you can do it – I’m behind you every step of the way.” You’ll get far more out of your people as a result of your support, your help and your encouragement. People like a little chanting from the crowd. Be their support network, not their taskmaster.
• The difference between telling and showing. “Do as I say, not as I do” is the oldest and tritest parenting technique in the history of mankind. It’s also the most-ridiculous thing you could ever say to your kids. Your kids watch you, they emulate you, they follow you. So do your employees. “Lead by example” is not just good advice – it’s a standard by which the best coaches and leaders (and parents) live.
• The difference between negative and positive reinforcement. Both are (sometimes) required. But positive reinforcement should be given publicly, and negative privately. Try catching your people doing something right for a change. You just might like what happens next: They’ll do more right things more often!
• The difference between quitting a job and quitting a boss. If you say, “Bill quit,” you’re only one-third right. “Bill quit ME” is two-thirds right. But the reality is that you were fired by your own employee. People don’t quit jobs; they quit bosses.
Note well: If you understand and agree with what I’ve written above, you’re ready to begin your evolution. Coaching is an action. It’s a process. It’s not a title. It’s an honor that your employees and colleagues bestow upon you. And it comes only after you have established a track record of your own dedication, your own commitment, your own performance and your ability to bring out the best in everyone.
Ready to get started? Great! Now keep in mind that “Coaching is 90% attitude and 10% technique.” (author unknown)
How’s your attitude? Are you an upper or a downer? What tone do you set when you walk in the door each morning?
Let me guess: Your attitude is just fine – it’s the people who work for you who have the bad attitudes. They just always seem to ruin your mood.
Here’s a hint: You are completely in control of your attitude. And, as a leader, you can influence the attitude of your people (and, therefore, their performance) by creating an environment in which positive attitude is revered and people with negative or toxic attitudes are voted off the island.
Noah Rickun, aka Captain Reman, is the vice president of sales & distribution at ETE Reman. An aftermarket veteran, Captain Reman is known for sharing his sales, business and customer-service knowledge weekly through the e-newsletter Reman U.