We feel like it’s pretty easy to identify a bad boss. We can almost instantly list out the reasons he or she is unsuccessful and where they went wrong. If only it were that easy to be a good boss. There are so many leadership strategies out there, and there is a fine line of success between two opposite ends of the spectrum of fear-based dictator and nice-guy/girl pushover. So how do we find that line before we set ourselves up for failure within our company? The CEO of FM Evolution’s sponsor, Jim Robinson is here to give us the keys to his 35+ year run as a successful leader.
“I believe I’m here to serve other people. I wake up knowing that I have to m
ake sure I’m taking care of somebody else.”
Do hiring your own way.
No one says we have to follow a specific interview style in order to have the best staff, that’s just silly. Jim suggests getting potential employees out of their comfort zone and out of a traditional work environment to give our interviewee a chance to show their personality. We tailor our interview process by first identifying our own company’s needs. What do we value? What are we actually looking for in a teammate beyond their job-related skill set? It also helps us identify our people’s needs. If we have a serve-first mindset as bosses (which we should), then thinking out-of-the-box in our hiring process will help us connect with their deeper needs as a person, what kind of leadership style will be most effective, and their hidden strengths that can move the company forward.
Think of yourself as the ultimate problem.
This seems dark, we know, but hear us out. When we take responsibility for our team’s health or lack thereof, we enable ourselves to fix the problem and move forward, gaining respect along the way. Like Jim says, “What do I have shift, what do I have to change in order to engage Mary, Susie, Johnny for the day?.” We are not capable of handling everything, and by acknowledging our weaknesses, yes, even publicly, we are able to recruit better people who CAN handle our CAN’Ts and empower them to do just that.
Go all in on your people.
Remember, we’re building a family here, and families invest in each other. Starting even in that unorthodox interview process, we’re engaging with our people, asking them questions, getting to know their life outside of work, and making sure they know that we care about that part of their lives just as much as the work parts. We need to be there during their hard times. This sometimes will mean that we see them at their worst, but our job as leaders is to give them the grace and respect to be where they’re at and not expect robotic yes-(wo)men all the time. Going back to Jim’s quote in the beginning, we need to make our teammates’ growth, professionally and personally, our primary goal in our business.
Embrace new generations.
The all-too-common lament against younger generations is old and tired, and Jim encourages us to drop the complaints and work harder to adapt instead. He specifically describes Millennials and Gen Z-ers when he explains that each generation is full of hard workers, we just have to figure out what motivates them. Using creativity to work smarter, not harder is important to newer generations, and by tapping into that and allowing more freedom as opposed to sticking to outdated guns will help us reach the future of the workforce and make them feel like they have a voice and a place in our company. As established business leaders, we have the ability to give younger generations a platform to grow and expand and even show us a thing or two about effective business strategy.
A company’s success or failure is largely made by the health of its infrastructure. If we are intentional about a serve-first leadership model, we will see that return time and time again. We love having Jim on the podcast and welcome any and all questions for this incredible example of an industry leader for future episodes.