Flood your team with information
Kurt, project manager for a Vancouver, Washington plumbing contractor, told Session 2 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab:
“Six months after I was hired as a plumber’s helper, I was working at an assisted living project in Portland. My assignment was to cut the water supply pipes that were stubbed out of the wall next to each lavatory, sink and toilet, and install angle stops on each one. I started by shutting off the water to that section of the building and then draining the water out of the system. I then proceeded with my task of installing the valves. I had just cut off two water stubs and placed a valve on each stub when a more senior coworker stepped in the room and said, ‘Kurt, work is getting slow and don’t be surprised if you get laid off.’ Instantly my mind went into overload and I was filled with fear. I had never been laid off in my life. How long would I be laid off? Was I going to lose my job? With my mind racing, I tightened up one of the valves and moved on the next room to complete my task. After completing all of the shutoffs, I walked back to the main shutoff and turned it back on to fill the system and test my work. As I sauntered down the hallway checking my work unit by unit, I noticed a painter being chased out of a unit by a LOT OF WATER! I ran to investigate. I HAD FORGOTTEN TO TIGHTEN ONE OF THE ANGLE STOPS AND NOW THERE WAS ¾” OF WATER THROUGH OUT THE UNIT AND WAS GETTING HIGHER BY THE SECOND! I ran back downstairs and shut off the main valve. By the time I got it shut off, water was dripping down through the first floor ceiling which had just been painted. After I had all of the water vacuumed up, I had to face the ridicule of my coworkers. I vowed to myself to not show my face at the office for a couple of weeks. I never did get laid off, but boy, did I have egg on my face!”
So what are the lessons empowering
leaders can learn from Kurt’s experience?
#1 – Fear is not your friend. Don’t try to scare people into compliance or conformance. It never works. You want more than conformance; you want cooperation and commitment. When people are scared, they freeze up, they forget even the most obvious things, even the most basic requirements of their job.
#2 – Any time your formal communication system fails or breaks down, the informal grapevine fills in the gaps. This always happens. You cannot control the grapevine, the rumor mill. You must hold yourself accountable for ensuring a hearty formal communication system that keeps everyone informed about the facts in a timely, credible manner. This is how you improve morale and build greater trust. You must ensure that everyone feels included in “the know.”
ENSURE 2013 STARTS WITH A ROAR!
End your year on a high and leverage the exciting promise of the New Year. We will tailor a program for you that will guarantee your year ends on a high note and you will rocket forward with high octane into 2013.
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