“Please call me Dick. What’s up?”
He was a brake press operator (you don’t need to know what a brake press is to get the leadership credibility principle here). The short version is another piece of equipment was located such that he could not operate his brake press in the most efficient and productive way. If the other machine could be moved a couple of feet, then he could be more productive, less frustrated, etc.—all good for him and the company. The machine was too heavy for him to move and I happened to be walking by (being available and visible), so….
It was a chance for me to be more than just visible (8/21 post) and available (8/29 post), it was a chance for me to be useful, to make a difference. I made a call, the machine was moved that day, and my leadership credibility soared with that employee and all those who heard the story.
Being honest, visible, available, and personable are great aids to raising your Leadership FICO Score (8/10 Post). But there’s more to it than that—add being useful to the list—do something that makes a difference in the employee’s workday. It doesn’t have to be grand and expensive: fix a water cooler or broken chair; replace burned out lights; make sure their workplace is cleaned regularly. The leader’s job is a lot more than “be likeable and look good.” Those will wear thin rapidly.
Employees are on the job every day; most are trying to do their best in spite of less than ideal working conditions. Most don’t expect ideal working conditions. However, there is almost always something you can do—however small—that will impact their workday for the better.
Look around. If office 201 was yours, what would you want to do? Would a rubber pad make a difference for an employee who is on his/her feet all day? Is the air conditioner—or heater—adequate? How about moving some clutter—or a machine—out of the way?
Now I realize that some things are expensive and can’t be done now or ever. But do something! It will demonstrate you are a leader who cares and listens and I promise, your credibility as a leader will rise.
Why don’t you go find something to do for an employee today? How about right now?
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Copyright 2015 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
The Leadership Credibility series:
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner