5 Ways to Empower Your People

This is the third installment in the series from JetBlue CEO, Joel Peterson.  I have once again hit the highlights for you.  Thank you to Mr Peterson for a great series!

Our best performances are nearly always spurred on by colleagues and leaders who have empowered us – that is, trusted us with the freedom and resources to excel.  Low-trust organizations have trouble giving their teams the latitude to do much. Wary ofeveryone, they often don’t trust even their most trustworthy people. Instead, they rely on thick compliance manuals for even the most trivial matters, and reward tattlers as a way to prevent rule breaking. This suspicious atmosphere kills initiative and creativity, and worst of all, it stifles any potential for trust.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re aiming to build a culture where people are empowered to do great work:

1) Bet on people. Allow people a chance to prove they can take on more responsibility. A leader who trusts others to grow inspires the best in people and can ignite trust.
2) Take action.  Try out ideas, don’t just talk about them.  Walk that talk.
3) Move On.  What worked before is not today’s answer. High-trust organizations don’t rely blindly on old rules. Instead, they trust their teams to figure out the new ones.
4) Expect mistakes. Even the best efforts can, and do, fail. Find out why quickly, learn and move forward with renewed vigor.
5) Don’t be paranoid. Giving up power is a great way to create more power.  Get everyone on the same page and make great stuff happen together.

A little Aretha Franklin to jump start your day.

Enjoy the day.

Webman

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Leadership Integrity and Trust

Happy holidays!  My best wishes for a terrific 2014!

I recently started to follow Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways on Linked In.  I follow a number of exemplary business leaders on LI, but was very impressed with Mr. Peterson’s perspective on Leadership Integrity and Trust.  As a practitioner of this management approach, I feel strongly about the value of these attributes to leadership and to the troops that go into battle together every day.   This is the way it should be. http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131223065401-11846967-building-a-high-trust-culture-1-it-starts-with-integrity?goback=%2Enmp_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1&trk=object-title

All of the content below is sourced directly from Mr. Peterson’s post.  I could not say it any better.  I have modified the original content to shorten this blog post.

In firms where people trust their leaders and colleagues trust one another, there’s more innovation and better business outcomes. Mistrust and politics are expensive, time-consuming and dispiriting. Like most things, business works better when the energy spent on doubt, fear and suspicion are reduced.  When teams feel encouragement and support, rather than fear of retribution or embarrassment, they tend to take the kinds of risks that can lead to breakthroughs. In an organization where team members have earned the trust of their supervisors, they can have confidence that if they don’t nail something the first time, there will be a second. Empowered workers can sense they are trusted. For most people, the feeling of being trusted leads to an increased desire to be trustworthy. 

Trust Principle #1: It Starts with Integrity

The foundation of any high-trust organization is the integrity of its leaders. Having integrity means, among other things, that the gap between what you say you’re going to do, and what you actually do, is small. I call this a “say-do gap.” Leaders in high-trust organizations must serve as living examples of integrity and trustworthiness – and not just at the office and during business hours. Here are a few ways to think about personal integrity as a core building block of trust:

1) A business is only as trustworthy as its leaders. The people who run things must show – by their actions – the way they want business to be done, and the way they want people to be treated. Talking doesn’t cut it. Leaders must embody the spirit they want the team to adopt. People pick up on phoniness. They trust authenticity. Just as kids look to parents for an example, team members watch their leaders. So, miss an opportunity to be that example, and you miss a chance to raise the level of trust.

2) Personal integrity matters. No matter a leader’s competence, charisma, or authority, she’s either trustworthy or she’s not – in all parts of her life. Trustworthy people are trustworthy when it comes to family, friends or colleagues. Obligations to show respect, to consider the welfare of others, and to keep your word don’t end when you leave the office. Leaders who fall short with commitments to friends, family, or close associates are unlikely to establish enduring trust with colleagues, suppliers, or customers. You just can’t fake character.

3) Integrity is a habit. Leaders who strive to do the right thing under all circumstances know that being trustworthy takes effort, awareness and work. Trustworthy leaders have generally worked long and hard on their own character building. They’re often quite intentional about fixing things about themselves, about receiving feedback and about learning from it and making changes. In the same way a mechanic keeps a car in top running condition, high-trust individuals monitor and tune their behavior, always striving to do better by team members and customers alike.

Anyone wanting to build a high-trust organization must start by looking in the mirror. Personal character is the foundation for interpersonal trust. And organizations in which leaders have integrity stand a much better chance of building trust from the top down, and bottom up.

Enjoy your holiday season.

Webman

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Five Traits of Successful Teams

Teams are constantly being built and re-built.  Players come and players go.  Co-workers change and just when we thought it was going really well, it starts anew.  Business conditions change – the team was good when we were growing, now not so much.  We have all been on good and bad teams.  Bad teams suck.

What makes a business team work?

  1. Members talk and listen in equal measure, keeping contributions short and sweet
  2. Members face one another and their conversations are energetic
  3. Members connect with each other, not just the leader
  4. Members communicate outside of meetings
  5. Members explore outside the team an bring quality information back

Are you on a team?  Does it work like this?

If so, embrace it.  If not, change it.

Webman