I’m honored to present my Leadership Trainings worldwide and one of the most important concepts I share is the 5 Types of Employees! The first type is the “Inspired & Motivated”. Every company wants hundreds, if not thousands, of this type. However, I’m quick to tell leaders to be careful what they wish for… as “The Inspired & Motivated” also want something from you! They want to be positively influenced, impacted, and protected… and the latter is where many employers and bosses fall short!
In our new professional world of so many organizations doing more work with less people… and with the increase of hybrid and remote work… employees consistently pulling-off “The Impossible” is more impressive than ever before! I’ve had the pain and privilege of being on both sides… The leader of a small team that continually pulled off the impossible and the employee on a team that kept pulling off the impossible… leading to the achievement becoming an expectation, the norm, no help coming, and burn-out! So, what to do as the leader and what to do as the employee?
First things first, let’s preface a few things! There are pros and concerns to everything. The Pros of your team consistently pulling off the impossible, whether you’re in the leadership position or a more Front-Line Employee, are you have proven results under your belt, you’ve proven to be a hard-worker, a willing worker, and dependable. The Concern is… all of this can easily be taken for granted by Higher-Up who don’t know your name, exactly what you do, or what it takes to pull off “The Impossible”. Your great accomplishment is merely numbers on their monthly metric sheet! I’ve actually been told by employees who have attempted to provide feedback to their bosses that they were easily replaceable like interchangeable parts and to get out of their office… Yes, this really happens! So, let’s start with those in positions of leadership. There are 5 Keys Points to focus on when your people, person, or team pull off the impossible… especially consistently?
- 1-on-1 Meetings! – I’ve shared this in my book, The Leader’s Toolbox, as the most important; yet most cancelled and rescheduled meeting across all organizations. This simple meeting allows you, as a leader, to be of best impact, influence and protect your people as you share your Positive of the Week, ask their P.O.W., What they’d like to get out of the meeting, Mesh Goals with what you want and need as a leader or organization, ask about their current List of duties, Issues, and Their Suggested Solutions, Plans moving forward, and ask Their Biggest Takeaway? This done monthly keeps you in the know regarding “The Impossible”!
- Be Curious! – I also train on the 5 Types of Leaders; one of which is The Visionary. This is me… I have big ideas, I share them with my team, ask can we pull it off, the timeframe, and GO! As the Visionary, I’m not very much interested in the small and numerous steps it takes to make the “Impossible” possible. However, over time, I’ve found it best for my Leadership and the Leadership & Work/Life Harmony of my people when I know enough about the process to not only care… but more importantly to best reward them for the long hours and diligence it takes to pull-off “The Impossible”!
Perhaps you’re the Motivator Type of leader and so excited about the project but have little understanding of the process the employee on your team must engage in. Or, you’re Intense Type and don’t care at all. I’m not suggesting you be different; I am suggesting you up your curiosity!
- Fine-Tune! – This is short, sweet, and powerful! As you meet with your team or Direct Report… you now know their list. Does their list stay the same, can they handle more, does it need to be adjusted and prioritized, could they benefit from an Assistant… or even want one, perhaps A Leader’s Concierge where the company can concierge at-home or driving services for this person; allowing them to get “The Impossible” done with less stress? I could go on, but you get the point! The point is… some employees are fine with how things are but simply need to vent from time to time, some can handle more work, some less… it’s our job to Be Curious, Fine-Tune, and Follow-Through!
- Celebrate! – This comes to knowing your people! Some are over the moon being taken out to lunch, some want a bonus… especially since they know how much revenue “The Impossible” actually brought in, some want a plaque, a new title, a public announcement, etc. Again… as a leader, it’s your job to Be Curious & Deliver… collectively and individually!
- Hiring-Freeze No-No! – I understand financial caution in the workforce regarding economics, crisis, and in times of change. However, I also understand many companies have increased their revenue in times of crisis and change. Therefore, work may have doubled, tripled, even quadrupled… but the hiring freeze is still on and your small staff of “Inspired & Motivated” is handling it all and continually pulling off “The Impossible” day after day! This may be impressive and necessary at first… until it isn’t and slowly becomes an anxiety-ridden norm. NOOOOOO! There are funds available to bring in the “Right-Person/People” to assist the All-Star Department in your organization; they need help and the better they are… the better your organization and your customers… Be Mindful!
You may be asking yourself, what if I’m the employee and part of a team no one is listening to? I have an answer for you, and I must warn you it may not be what you want to hear or work out as nicely and neat as you’d like. As I’ve said, I’ve been here myself and it’s not without risk but the reward was worth it for me.
Years ago, I worked as a Mental Health Therapist in an Alternative School. I stared as a team member, then was promoted to lead the team, and subsequently a part of the facility’s leadership team. In the beginning, it was the perfect job and everything I could dream of! However, over time things started to change… from the clientele we began to accept, the staff we hired, and how the workload was tenfold what it used to be. Long story short, the real problem was… we kept getting the same difficult job done at all and any cost and through the mounting turmoil!
I’ve found that “The Inspired & Motivated” tend to have too much passion and pride to fail or even ask for help. It’s The Leader’s Paradox… when you have a motivated team; they will continuously get the job done… having no work or personal boundaries, burning-out, telling no one, and slowly imploding. I knew the paradox was real… because as long as we kept getting the job done with our BIG Bosses in another building; utterly ignorant to our plight, nothing would change. I attempted to get the “Inspired & Motivated” to stand together to offer possible solutions… or at worse, not get a job done for once and stand together to share why. All to no avail; so I did it my way:
- Share! – I wish I would have done this with more grace, however the point is to share your experience with your boss along with a suggested solution. Too many times we share with coworkers, family, and friends… all of which cannot help you! Share and document the conversation… remember an undocumented conversation neve happened. Perhaps your boss had no idea consistently pulling-off “The Impossible” was so difficult, maybe they did but since no one was complaining they pushed the limits, maybe they did know and simply didn’t care… whatever the case, your “sharing and documentation” ensures they know, can protect you and your team, and will show you the organization you’re working for!
- Unify! – When possible, you’re stronger as a team! Can you approach your boss as a team with your coworkers, or write a letter together, is there an employee advocate to help provide suggestions, etc.? Yes, this will be scary… so is staying at your job the way it is for another decade!
- Risk! – Only you can decide if the risk is worth the reward… The reward of positive change or the reward of a new beginning… possible somewhere else! In my example, I attempted to unify… no one was with me and was willing to stay on the Struggle-Bus. I began to burn-out and my behavior showed with constant venting, negative gossip, and disconnecting. Eventually, the tough-conversation was had with me and I risked it all by being honest about my feelings. Surprisingly, I was offered a transfer to a less volatile facility and something more suitable for the person and professional I had become. However, I had to risk leaving my Professional Home… my workplace I valued for 12 years, helped to create, and walk away from coworkers that had become my family. Only you will know when it’s time to take such a risk… and you’ll do it and benefit from it, one way or another, when you’re ready!
- Work/Life Harmony! – Consistently pulling off “The Impossible” for your company or clients is wonderful… but, if you’re nearly hospital-bound due to anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, your marriage is suffering, and your kids can’t remember what you look like… what’s it all for?
Be sure to give yourself, your significant other, and other important relationships as much attention as you give your job! This is the importance of knowing what “Fun” is for you in all the roles you play, what “Fun” is for those you love, and scheduling it into your phone with alerts… I’m serious! Vacations, Staycations, Date-Nights, Dates with Your Kids, Time with Your Friends, and Time with Yourself are all necessities… not luxuries and are all a part of enhanced Leadership & Work/Life Harmony… Be Mindful!
Enjoy your EVOLUTION!!! You now know A Leader’s Paradox… what was your Biggest Takeaway? What will be the one or two things you give yourself as Homework and begin to implement NOW for yourself, your team, and your organization moving forward?
“Perhaps your boss had no idea consistently pulling-off “The Impossible” was so difficult, maybe they did and since no one was complaining they pushed the limits, maybe they did know and simply didn’t care… whatever the case, your sharing and documentation ensures they know, can protect you and your team, and will show you the organization you’re working for… Be Mindful!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
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