Listen to your team!
Trevor, service manager for a commercial heating and air conditioning service contractor, told Session 2 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“In August 1991 I had just started in my new position as Installation Supervisor for a residential heating and cooling company. I was responsible for eighteen installers and two shop technicians. We had just started a new residential construction job, 45 homes in a sub-division. Some of the houses had been pre-sold before the actual construction began. As supervisor of the installation crew, one of my responsibilities was to make sure all the supply air ducts were properly installed.
“It was an early start that Monday morning and from time to time the homeowners would stop by to see how their homes were progressing. I had met with these new owners of the houses we were working on and decided to give them a tour of the house. One of the best features of these new homes was a large bay offset in the formal living room. As we entered the room, I noticed that there wasn’t a supply register in the bay offset. Josh, one of my lead installers, was walking by, so I asked him to cut a hole in a certain spot that I picked out in the bay offset. Josh had been with the company for 12 years and really didn’t care for my authority at that time, so with a big smile on his face, Josh preceded to cut the hole right where I had told him to. Josh wasn’t even halfway through his cut when we had ‘old faithful’ rushing into the new house. Josh had come to me earlier that morning with some concerns, but I thought I knew everything I need to know and dismissed his concerns. After everything was under control, Josh
looked at me and said, ‘I tried to tell you this morning that the main water line had been moved!’ Boy, did I have egg on my face!
“The lesson I learned from this experience is to take the time to listen, even if I’m sure of myself and think I know everything.
“The action I call you to take is take the time to listen to your team. Two heads are better than one!
“The benefit you will gain is a broader knowledge base and you will earn the respect required to be an empowering leader.”
Have you ever put yourself in the position Trevor found himself in? As you read this wonderful story, you may have thought that Josh was sabotaging the project, undercutting the team’s performance – “He can’t do that; I wouldn’t let him get away with that.” – Well he did it, didn’t he? Trevor got what he asked for. He got to be boss, he got to call all the shots, and he got to make all the decisions. Ask yourself honestly, are there any times when you are acting like Trevor? Are there any times when associates are subtly sabotaging your projects? Pledge today to actively listen to everyone on your team.
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