Your team lights up when you use their ideas!
Roger, warehouse distribution center manager for an electrical wholesaler, told Session 6 of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“Two weeks ago at about 2:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, we suddenly lost power at the warehouse. A storm front had blown in, and a large gust of wind snapped a nearby corner power pole like a twig. When the pole came down, the transformer blew up and dangerous high voltage lines lay across the street and blocked the entrance to our parking lot. We found ourselves in the dark, cut off from the world, with only phones and an incomplete workload. No one could get into or out of our warehouse. There was a lot of pressure to continue operating inside of the distribution center, using the little illumination that penetrated through the overhead sky lights. I did not feel that it would be safe enough and refused to take any chances of someone getting hurt. The swing shift team leader called to say that due to the street closures he was unable to find a way to get to work. I told him that we needed him and to keep trying. Finally after much frustration and three phone calls he arrived hours late. He was extremely perturbed and about to turn around and go back home.
“I applied the same leadership principle I followed when I insisted that our employees not drive the fork lift equipment in the dark, Leadership Principle #1 - Lead from High Ideals, and reminded him that hundreds of coworkers and thousands of customers were counting on him to achieve his mission. He asked me how that was possible. I asked him if he had any ideas. He said that there were miner-style flashlights and batteries in inventory that they could use while pulling hand carts around to fill orders. I ‘Let It Be His Idea’ - Leadership Principle #8 - although it seemed to be the only option.
“He and his crew actually had fun that night. The power didn’t come back on until their shift was almost over, yet they successfully completed their task of filling
and shipping every order. In the past when this kind of thing would occur it would take us weeks to catch up. Since the swing shift team completed their normal work load, we avoided getting behind and this was, by far, the fastest recovery we have ever experienced from any similar set of circumstances.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that when I ‘lead from high ideals,’ and let solutions be ‘their idea,’ I get full engagement and optimum results.
“The action I call you to take is to lead from high ideals, ‘Play Yourself Down,’ Leadership Principle #7, and let solutions be ‘their idea.’ Each of us have deeply rooted values that guide our actions and you can tap into the ideas of others when these leadership principles are operating.
“The benefit you will gain when you follow this advice is you will never have regrets about your decisions, and others will appreciate your approach. This will secure your position as a leader and builds genuine teams.”
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