“Garner was an engineer. He was used to dealing with machines. Command is about people.” -Lee Adama, Battlestar Galactica
Recently I was speaking with a Dale Carnegie instructor who said how difficult it was to highlight the impact of leadership training.
He said, “Sales training is easy to quantify, and as a result, easy to sell. I can correlate an increase in sales production to quantifiable changes that training brings about. I can then extrapolate those top line increases to bottom line profit. With the leadership program, it’s more difficult to effectively tie leadership training to a bottom line results.”
His remark took me back to a conversation I had with a product engineer when I was a part of an an enterprise storage sales team.
A Leadership Example From My Engineering Days
I was down at the company HQ for a week for my own product training and to perform some configuration testing with a system. When you are a systems engineer, you don’t get as much hands-on time with systems as you do when you are with the manufacturing and test team or the development team. So I usually took every opportunity I could get to spend time in the lab with the product engineers to put test out the systems and become familiar with the capabilities.
In this particular instance, I was in the lab when Rich (not his real name) came out of a Monday morning meeting with his team. He wasn’t looking in the best of spirits.
So in between setting up my system, I said, “Hey Bubba, you look like someone just ran over your dog. Everything ok?”
His initial response was, “Yeah, it’s all good.” But his face betrayed his true feelings.
After a little coaxing, he finally gave me an opening with, “Bob is a good guy. I’m sure he’ll get better.”
At this point I told him to spill it.
“Well, Bob (another name cover), was recently promoted to team lead. Again, great guy and I’m sure he means well, but his staff meetings are just demoralizing. He comes in and criticizes everyone’s performance, he belittles every member of our team, and highlights things that really don’t matter. Everyone comes out of the meeting exhausted.”
“We wander around unfocused and dazed for the remainder of the day. No one really hits their stride until late Tuesday and by Wednesday, we are all fully focused and back on track. But by Friday morning, we start getting unfocused again until the afternoon when everyone is preparing for a little weekend R&R. The cycle starts again when we get back in Monday morning.”
I used that story when I started promoting Dale Carnegie Training’s Leadership Training For Managers program because it was a quantifiable example of the impact a leader can have on his or her team. Bob’s product engineering team was operationally effective for only 3 days out of a 5-day work week because Bob was demotivating his team every Monday morning.
Bob was accustomed to being an engineer and managing things. That mindset doesn’t work for leading a team of people.
Impact Of Old-Style Management Mindset
In a seminar with another Leadership Training for Managers instructor, I once heard a participant say “Why should I be nice to my employees? They are getting paid to do a job.” That’s one way to approach the challenge.
But as a manager in your company, if this is your only method of keeping your employees, then you are creating a poor talent filter. Your competitors will pick off your best people with the lure of a higher salary and a personally rewarding environment, leaving you with the people who are too afraid to move on.
Or as I heard one motivational speaker put it, “The company is paying these workers just enough not to leave and they are doing just enough not to get fired.”
You can’t manage the people in your team like you can manage time, money, or inventory. Dealing with people requires knowing how to build relationships. People require leadership.
As a leader, you have to motivate your people. And one of the best ways to achieve that is by getting buy-in from them.
One of the basic concepts taught in the Dale Carnegie Training Leadership Training for Managers is that people support a world they help create. So one way to get your team motivated is by letting them have a say in how their work environment is put together.
If they have some control and some ownership over their environment, then they will hold themselves responsible to achieving outcomes that are beneficial to the company.
Don’t dictate like Bob. Having your team operating for three days out of a 5-day work week is not inefficient. Let your people take ownership of their environment and they will work to achieve outcomes beneficial to the longevity of the company.
Interested in learning more methods for creating a supportive environment?
Want to know more about the difference between management and leadership?
Then I encourage you to review the processes outlined in the Leadership Training for Managers program here.
And if you are in the Modesto area and want to know more about the impact the Dale Carnegie Course can have your team members, check out the full spectrum of training programs here.