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How Can You Evaluate Your Leadership Skills?

For the next several weeks I’m going to focus on Consulting Collaborative’s “Leadership Self-Evaluation Best Practices.” Consulting Collaborative was founded by my friend, Richard Voreis.

The company provides:

—Strategic planning for all sizes of businesses;

—Consulting based on three decades of experience—many of them in our glass world; and

—Self-Evaluation Checklists—focusing on leadership qualities.

The first three leadership traits we’ll look at this week are:

—Optimizing productivity without intimidation;

—Representing a role model with a high degree of ethical conduct; and

—Demonstrating imaginative leadership and imparting a vision for the future.

Optimizing Productivity without Intimidation

That one hits home, doesn’t it? Remember last time you told one of your technicians that he or she had another windshield to replace and it was 4 p.m.? What you’re your tech’s response? Was the person glad to do it because he understood that the customer needed to be taken care of and there was a need? Or did he mutter something under his breath and vow to look for another job the moment he got home because he didn’t have to take this type of abuse?

It may come down to a tech’s pay plan. It may come down to the hours a technician has already worked for the week. Maybe he has a softball game that night at 6 p.m. Most importantly, it will probably come down to the leadership you show on a day-to-day basis. Your approach to taking care of customers who have a need, your personal involvement with your day-to-day business and each one of your technicians, and your personal work ethic will undoubtedly come into play on your technician’s attitude.

Representing a Role Model with a High Degree of Ethical Conduct

This all comes down to your day-to-day conduct with your team. Do they see you as ethical? When you bring back cash deals do they see you stick that money in your pocket?

What does “ethical” mean to you? Equally important, what does “ethical” mean to your employees?

What if you have a practice of charging for moldings and not putting them in? How about if you buy tools or materials that put your employees in harm’s way? What if you won’t buy ladders that are safe or tall enough? Or, what if you insist on one-man sets if two men are needed—or if you need to purchase a device to help them install?

The best role models I’ve ever had were fair, honest, positive and what I view as ethical. It was those qualities that made them role models.

Demonstrating Imaginative Leadership and Imparting a Vision for the Future

Early in my career I worked for a company president who always had an open door policy. I was very young and felt comfortable walking into his office and telling him what I thought our challenges were. Finally one day he told me that I was welcome to come into his office and emphasized that he, too, knew our challenges. He wanted me to bring solutions when I brought in problems. That taught me a new way of life—looking for solutions. To find solutions I needed to be imaginative.

Fred DeLuca, founder of Subway, and a person who is always accessible to people like me at the International Franchise Association Convention tells this story:

“But at some point I did get serious about goal-setting. This was probably in the early 1980s. In ’82, we had 200 stores, and I remember saying to myself, ‘Two hundred: Is this a lot of stores or a little? What should we be planning for the future?’ After doing a little research into the fast-food industry and thinking about the possibilities, I set a goal of 5,000 stores by 1994. So that was real serious goal-setting—and that’s when we started a growth spurt.”

I can’t think of a better way to emphasize the point of imparting a vision for the future.

Now put this in your world. What vision have you painted for the future for your employees that make them want to stay with you?

Next week, we’ll look at three more of Richard Voreis’ “Leadership Self-Evaluation Best Practices.”

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