Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 95 To our clients and friends October 3, 2006
Helping the Grader Make the Grade
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Stand up for your standards

Tom, an earthwork superintendent for a large general contractor in eastern Washington, told Session 6B of the Leadership Development LAB:

“When one of my grade checkers showed up late for the third day in a row at our Richland, Washington project, he could tell I was upset even though I didn’t show that emotion as I have sometimes in the past by losing my temper and yelling at him. I told him we needed to take a ride out to look at an area that I wanted him to stake off as soon as we could get to it. While we were riding over to the site in my pickup truck in a relaxed, conversational tone, I began by providing him with acknowledgement for how great a job he does for us (Leadership Principle #4 – Provide Acknowledgement). Then I pointed out how much better it would be if I didn’t have to worry about him showing up late. I was an active listener (Leadership Principle #6 – Be An Active Listener) as he told me about his daily commute. I just listened as he went on to explain to me that he should set his alarm clock earlier to allow the time needed for the somewhat unpredictable traffic delays on his commute. I became genuinely interested as he explained how he

planned to arrive at work on time or early from now on (Leadership Principle #2 – Become Genuinely Interested). I didn’t have to say that much. When he was through telling me his action plan for improving his reliability, I again told him how much I appreciated his quality work as we walked off the area to be staked out.

The lesson I learned from this experience is that calmly taking workers aside and talking about the problem in a rational manner helps both of us. The action I call you to take is to deal with performance issues immediately in a professional, patient manner. You are going to have workers come to work late, fail to tie off, violate and break other standards. It doesn’t make it any better if you violate one of the standards of empowering leadership by losing your temper.

The benefit you will gain by dealing with performance issues quickly in a professional way is you will feel better about how you stand your ground and you will make the other person feel good about their value to the company while ensuring that they conform to all the standards of peak performance, including, but not limited to, being to work on time.”


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