Meet Their Needs, Exceed Their Expectations!

Now that we have a solid definition of servant leadership to work from, and we’ve looked at some servant leadership practices that will help us meet the needs of our team members based on their own behavioral style, let’s close the loop with some final thoughts on how we can move this from being just something we do to something each of the leaders on our team will work to do…

As we worked through some of these thoughts recently, I shared a quote with you from The Servant by James Hunter saying that “a leader is someone who recognizes and meets the legitimate needs of their people, and removes all the barriers so they can serve the customer.” If we really want to build servant leadership into the entire culture of our organizations, we certainly need to start with looking at how we can recognize and meet those legitimate needs of the folks we interact with directly but we also need to work to ensure they understand how important it is for them to do...

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The Buck Stops Here!

I ended the last post by emphasizing how ineffective barking orders and cracking the whip is for a leader who needs to get long term engagement (and results) from their team, and I also referenced how that can often look like an easy approach to someone who hasn’t held leadership responsibility or someone who isn’t considering the impact it will have moving forward. As leaders, we need to consider the future as much as we need to take care of what’s in front of us right now. If we choose to bark orders, crack the whip, blame our team when things go poorly, and take all the credit when things are great, leader isn’t likely a word that will be used to describe us and we probably won’t have any of those strong alliances I’ve referenced previously.

One of my good friends owns a growing company locally and has a sign on his desk that reads “The Buck Stops Here!” In many cases, that could be interpreted as him saying he’s in charge and...

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Clear Goals and an Expectation for Action

I closed the last post by referencing something we can do to help remove a bit of the reluctance leaders often face when faced with addressing tough situations with team members - often due to the concern of hurting or offending them in some way. Separating a behavior contributing to an issue that needs addressed from the individual performing that behavior is far easier said than done! But as we begin to develop that kind of awareness, and really hone our skill in actually doing it, holding the team member accountable for the behaviors they choose involves so much less emotional stress…

So what does that have to do with why leadership training fails? Understanding what should be done and knowing what the specific behavior looks like to accomplish what needs to be done are very different things. Just like we, as leaders, will need to work at being able to separate the behavior from the individual in order to have effective conversations about improving performance,...

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I Am Responsible!

Let’s dive right in where we left off in the last post with an experience I had recently while helping my mom with something. We had attempted to use an online service to fill a very specific need that should have been fairly simple. We took the necessary hour or so to work through the questionnaire tool on the company’s website and received a message that we’d be receiving the legal documents we needed within a few hours. Simple enough…

Except it wasn’t!

In reviewing the documents, almost none of the details we provided were included. For that matter, the title of what we received didn’t even resemble the selection we made when we started the online process. I submitted a help ticket clarifying what we were looking for and received a response from what seemed to be a real person almost immediately outlining the exact step necessary to get what we were looking for. The only problem was that those were the same steps we had taken on our own to...

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Don’t Make Jack a Dull Boy...

Through the last several posts, we’ve been working through the importance of enjoying each step of the journey rather than resting on the hope that fulfillment will come once we reach that ever so important goal we’re chasing. I even used the last post to share an example of just how badly I’ve failed at doing just that…

In an attempt to be as corny as I can possibly be, I believe the saying may actually be true: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

As I prepared to put this final post together and wrap up this Don’t Wait Until You Get There idea, I found myself thinking about what John Maxwell teaches about the Three R’s in the Law of Priorities: What are we required to do?; What gives us the best return on the time we invest?; and What provides us with the most reward?

Nearly every time I reference these questions, it’s around making the most effective use of our time as leaders. But truth be told, that can often be done with...

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Don’t Just Get It Right, Get It Correct!

Before we close the loop on what we can do to exceed expectations for the folks with the final primary behavioral, I’m going to insert a quick plug for the complimentary session Cindy and I are hosting on Friday, Feb 12 at 2:30p on How Top Leaders Set the Tone for Recruitment & Retention. Whether you have a SHRM or HRCI credential that you can use the approved continuing education for or not, the only reason I can imagine this not being a relevant topic would be that you just don’t mind hemorrhaging money due to turnover. And if that’s the case, no worries at all. But if that topic will be of any value, here’s the link to register at no cost

Now, let’s look at some things we can be sure to do to really exceed expectations when we’re serving the 25% of the population who are Reserved and Task-Oriented; our more CAUTIOUS friends…

While the folks who have this CONTEMPLATIVE style will approach things with a slower pace, it’s...

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Just be Nice...

As I closed the last post, I referenced one primary difference between the folks with either of the last two styles we looked at and these final two styles we’ll be working through; the need to tone it down a bit as we work to exceed their expectations…

Before going too far with the style we’ll focus on today, let me stress that there’s not one right or wrong primary style. Well, I suppose that’s not completely accurate. There’s definitely a right style for me and a right style for you, and that’s the unique style blend we have. This should never be about making someone feel like they need to change into something they’re not; it’s about gaining an understanding of who we are and how we’re wired AND being able to recognize the behavioral styles of the people we interact with so we can serve them at an even deeper level.

Now let’s get to how just being nice can help us exceed expectations when we’re serving some...

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Extra Energy and Excitement

While exceeding expectations with the DRIVEN folks we looked at in the last post will often involve less sizzle and more steak, the next 30% - the INSPIRING ones - may actually enjoy the sizzle! Once we have that clear picture of what they expect, we can go above and beyond with this Fast-Paced and People-Oriented group by being as energetic and entertaining through the process and with the end result we provide.

By making the process fun for them and doing what we can to include their team, we’ll show them that a level of value that can easily be overlooked if we happen to be part of the 70% who don’t share their INTERACTIVE approach. Another thing we can do to really serve them is to provide them with opportunities to be INVOLVED in as much of the process as we possibly can. Showing them that they’re INFLUENCING the outcome will show our desire to IMPRESS them.

These customers, clients, or friends will typically be quick to share lots of ideas and feelings about...

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Driven to Exceed Expectations

In a large majority of the initial conversations I have with folks around the DISC Model of Human Behavior, I’m told “I’ve taken an assessment. I’m a D (or an I, or an S, or a C)” and that’s about as far as they take it. Interestingly enough, statements like that are almost always made under the assumption that they actually know how to use what their assessment told them. I won’t even go into the tirade about whether or not the assessment they took was anything even resembling accurate…

Don’t get me wrong, I believe a scientifically validated DISC assessment can provide us with some great information - but the key lies in understanding how we can effectively use that information on a day to day basis! There’s where the real value is with any type of assessment… And it absolutely should not stop at simply understanding we’re this or we’re that, we need to have a framework for recognizing how we can best...

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Aligning Intentions with Perceptions

Even after doing all the things we’ve looked at through the last several posts to ensure we’re on the right track to being able to exceed expectations with each person we interact with, there can be a huge gap between what we intend and what they perceive! Nearly all of us have grown up hearing just how important it is to follow The Golden Rule by doing unto others as we’d have them do unto us. But there are times with even the purest of purpose, things can go awry…

Have you ever met someone who seems to view the world through a pair of rose colored glasses? You know, one of those folks who can find the best in any situation… Hope about someone who can brighten just about any room simply by walking out of it? I’m not sure what color their glasses are, but they probably don’t have that same rosy tint!

Cindy and I were in a training session a few years ago where the instructor divided us into small groups and challenged each group to review...

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