By: Michael Levin, Author and Keynote and Motivational Speaker on Leadership
One of the things I enjoy doing is listening to and reading what other thought Leaders have to say. When it comes to Leadership, one of those I like is Simon Sinek
. This is one example of a story he shared that I truly appreciate and completely agree with.
A Barista in Las Vegas…
He talks about staying at a hotel in Las Vegas and about a barista in the hotel’s coffee shop he really liked and thought did a great job. He asked the barista what they liked about their current job. He said the leaders when walking around ask him how his day is going and what they can do support him. This included leaders he did not report into.
He also said this barista worked at another hotel. At that hotel, the managers went around looking to make sure everyone is doing something right and catching someone doing something wrong. He said he just keeps his head down there.
He talks about in the second hotel how the Managers can’t get people to perform as they want and feel like they have to push harder. And that is clearly not the answer.
Are you a micro manager?
A huge miss many leaders have is exactly what Simon shares in this story. They feel the need to micromanage, to make sure everyone does their job perfectly and primarily provide negative feedback when things go wrong. Because, if they are doing things right when I ask my audiences, how come they don’t get positive feedback? The response is consistent. Because they are just doing their job. So why do we need to give them positive feedback.
How NOT to be a micro manager
In the first example Simon gives, it relates to what I believe is the number one need for employees from their Managers and Leaders. I was coaching a VP at a Fortune 100 and she was challenged by a new department she was taking over. With all of the other departments she oversaw, she knew how to do the job better than her staff. In this case she didn’t know how to do the work her staff did. She asked me what to do.
I asked her to ask each of her new staff one question and to ask that question to each person individually and privately. That question was “What can I do to support you?” I told her here is one answer I bet you don’t get. “Personally train me to do my job better”. If they need to enhance their skills, you can arrange for that to happen
She said the response was overwhelming. Many told her no one had ever asked them that question before and how appreciative they were.
Simon’s example is a great one. When employees feel supported like that barista you don’t need to micromanage them. You don’t need to catch them doing something wrong. They are motivated to do a great job, to be a leader, to take ownership of their position and support and take care of those they affect, both inside and outside of the organization.
If you’ve never asked your people the two simple questions in Simon’s example: “How’s your day going?” and “How can I support you?” I’d highly suggest you do. I think you may be pleasantly surprised about the short and long term impact asking such simple questions can bring.