Can I help you?
Just one moment, I responded as I waited for Madison to make a selection.
Madison (our 8-year-old) and I have a standing breakfast date every Saturday morning. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week. We’ve learned so much about each other and from each other during these special weekly moments.
Today would prove to be the same…
Can I help you? The manager’s voice raised slightly, almost pleading. No one else was standing in line – glancing around, the restaurant was mostly empty. She was talking to us.
The phone began ringing. The manager calls back – Someone answer that! Two rings. Three. Will somebody answer the phone?! - borderline yelling.
Madison paused a few more moments as crew members shuffled around cleaning floors, doors, air conditioning vents, walls, trash cans. It was cleaning day.
The manager sighed then shifted. Then one last emphatic attempt to coax me into ordering - I’m ready to take your order.
We ordered, sat down, and began talking about the day ahead. Several minutes later the manager brought our food to the table. She offered condiments and asked if we needed anything else.
On her way back to the kitchen, she hurriedly called out instructions to the crew members who were busily cleaning in various parts of the restaurant.
Madison apparently noticed. She leaned over to me and said quietly, She is really hard on her employees. She should be nicer to them – they’re working hard.
Madison’s observation reminded me of the exchange at the counter. Then I began watching the manager’s interactions with the employees. She wasn’t mad or necessarily mean to them. She was simply in a hurry and appeared too busy to slow down long enough to notice that her team was working hard and making good progress.
What’s the hurry?
John Wesley once said, Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry. Because I don’t take on more than I can accomplish in calmness of spirit.
My experience in a fast food restaurant on this otherwise uneventful Saturday morning reminded me that a hurried life does not leave much room to encourage, serve, and celebrate others. [Tweet That]
If you are going to help people, they must know that you care. And if your team is going to grow and improve, you must have regular, purposeful positive interactions with them.
This weekend I wrote down 4 ways to positively impact your team. And if you do them, your team won’t just think you’re awesome, they’ll know!
For every team member, you choose to trust or to be suspicious. I get it - trust is not always easy. We’re a suspicious bunch. Maybe it’s because a lot of people do take advantage of us.
But if you are suspicious, you’ll find yourself operating from a win-lose perspective. You will assess every situation wondering if you or the organization is winning or losing.
When you choose to view a team member through the lens of suspicion rather than trust, usually everyone around knows it. They see it in your communication, in your actions, and in your decisions.
Let’s face it – nothing productive ever comes from interactions based on suspicion. Your team members deserve your trust.
So give them the benefit of the doubt. Yes, some will abuse your trust. But more often, they will value and reciprocate the trust.
When young people aspire to be a great leader, serving is rarely the first thing that comes to mind. Most list vision, passion, systems, goals, success, authenticity, and achievements as components of leadership long before considering service.
Be more interested in the success of others than your own. The truth is, mentoring, coaching, and supporting others as they pursue their dream is the best investment that you can make in your ultimate success.
Relationship development is not something that can simply be checked off of the to-do list. It can’t be outsourced. And it’s certainly not an exercise in convenience.
Effective leaders value key relationships and make them top priority. [Tweet That]
There are no shortcuts in relationships – people trump everything else.
Does your team know that you care?
It’s the one thing you can do every day for every person you interact with – especially your team members. So encourage them. Often.
If you’ve been mentored, you understand the enormous value of the mentoring relationship. Your life and work were profoundly impacted by your leader. So pass it on to someone else.
Madison and I finished breakfast Saturday morning. And as I walked toward the door of the restaurant, I noticed that Madison wasn’t following me. I looked back toward our table and saw her circling the table, straightening the chairs, and intently wiping the last few crumbs from the surface of the table.
Moments later, as she climbed into the truck, she said, That manager was not nice to the workers because she has a lot of things to do. That’s why I straightened up the chairs and cleaned the table for her. Maybe now she will have a little more time to be nicer.
Question: What would you add – How can a leader positively impact their team? Share your thoughts in the comments.