Do You Protect Your People?

Good Wednesday morning to you!

Question for you – do the people of your organization feel safe? Protected? How about the people on your team? Is it safe to work for you?the-way-of-the-shepherd-book-cover

While it is important, I am not talking about physical safety today. I am primarily talking about emotional safety, your culture – the environment in your organization and / or your team.

Simon Sinek talks about this in his book Start With Why. He is talking about trust and one of the ways that you develop trust in your people is by protecting them. One illustration that he gives is that of a trapeze artist. A trapeze artist will push themselves to new feats of daring and stretch and grow their abilities to do amazing stunts – as long as they have a net under them. Without a net, there is too much risk to go for it. A good leader provides a practical and emotional net for his people. A great team will try great things and will, at times fail. That is when the leader provides them a net. And when you provide a net, people feel protected. When they feel protected, you will gain their trust.

In one of my favorite leadership books of all time, The Way of the Shepherd, the fourth principle is “Make Your Pasture a Safe Place” and there are at least six things you need to do to make it a safe place according to the authors:

a. Keep your people well informed.
b. Infuse every position with importance.
c. Cull chronic instigators from the flock.
d. Regularly rotate the sheep to fresh pastures.
e. Reassure the sheep by staying visible.
f. Don’t give problems time to fester.

So, do you want a high functioning team of people who trust each other and enjoy coming to work? Start with giving them a safe place to work – better yet, a safe place to create art and do great things!

BG

Don’t Make this Mistake!

Years ago when I was in the quality field, I remember a saying of one of the quality gurus.  He basically stated that all firings are the fault of management.  I initially scoffed at that idea, but over the years have come to agree in the main with his statement.  I don’t quite believe that ALL firings are the fault of management, but I now believe that most of them are caused by leadership (or lack of).A personal example.  Year ago, I was the commander of an Army Reserve unit in Texas of about 230 soldiers.  We had a great deal of heavy equipment so one of our largest platoons was the maintenance platoon.  This platoon was critical to the overall unit, but was not performing well and one reason was the platoon sergeant.  He simply was not leading well and his lieutenant was constantly coming to me to relieve the sergeant of his position.

The way of the shepherd book cover

I finally gave in and was about to start the process, when an older warrant officer (warrant officers are technical specialists) came to me and said, “Boss, I have an idea for you before you move ahead with this”.  Fortunately I listened.  Since we had so much heavy equipment, we often had to coordinate with the state for special permits for the movement of our equipment as well as arrange for special civilian trucks to move the equipment.  To do this we had a Transportation Coordinator position in our headquarters detachment.  So, we moved this sergeant into this position.

Bottom line – the sergeant excelled in this position and improved the performance of the unit.  I had almost derailed the Army Reserve career of a man simply because I did not know my people well enough.  Fortunately, I had someone on my staff that saw the potential in this man and who had the courage to intervene.  The sergeant was not a good leader of people, but was a great individual contributor.  He was simply in the wrong “seat on the bus”, but he definitely belonged on the bus!

So – do you know your people?  If you have read my blog in the past, you know that one of my favorite books is The Way of the Shepherd and two of its principles are:

Know the condition of your flock and

Know the S.H.A.P.E. of your flock.

Don’t make the mistake I almost did and derail a man’s career – get to know your people!

Have a great week!
BG

The Way of the Shepherd

Good morning and I hope your week is getting off to a great start.  Here at Life Action, we are entering into an annual event we call “Revival Week”.  It is a time when we pretty much stop fir the week and collectively focus on the Lord seeking Him to work deeply within this ministry.  We would appreciate your prayers for us during this time.

The following is a slight update of a previous post about one of my favorite books.  I have used this book at the ministry and in many of the classes I teach at Bethel College and the impact has been tremendous. The book is The Way of the Shepherd, 7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Productive People by Kevin Leman and William Pentak.

Following are the highlights of the book:

1. Know the Condition of Your Flock
a. Follow the status of your people as well as the status of the work.
b. Get to know your flock, one sheep at a time.
c. Engage your people on a regular basis.
d. Keep your eyes and ears open, question, and follow through.

2. Discover the Shape of Your Sheep
a. Your choice of sheep can make flock management easier or harder.
b. Start with healthy sheep, or you’ll inherit someone else’s problems.
c. Know the SHAPE of your sheep to make sure they’re in the right fold.

3. Help Your Sheep Identify with You
a. Build trust with your followers by modeling authenticity, integrity, and compassion.
b. Set high standards of performance.
c. Relentlessly communicate your values and sense of mission.
d. Define the cause for your people and tell them where they fit in.
e. Remember that great leadership isn’t just professional; it’s personal.

4. Make Your Pasture a Safe Place
a. Keep your people well informed.
b. Infuse every position with importance.
c. Cull chronic instigators from the flock.
d. Regularly rotate the sheep to fresh pastures.
e. Reassure the sheep by staying visible.
f. Don’t give problems time to fester.

5. The Staff of Direction
a. Know where you’re going, get out in front, and keep your flock on the move.
b. When directing, use persuasion rather than coercion.
c. Give your people freedom of movement, but make sure they know where the fence line is. Don’t confuse boundaries with bridles!
d. When your people get in trouble, go and get them out.
e. Remind your people that failure isn’t fatal.

6. The Rod of Correction
a. Protect: Stand in the gap and fight for your sheep.
b. Correct: Approach discipline as a teaching opportunity.
c. Inspect: Regularly inquire about your people’s progress.

7. The Heart of the Shepherd
a. Great leadership is a lifestyle, not a technique.
b. Every day you have to decide who’s going to pay for your leadership—you or your people.
c. Most of all, have a heart for your sheep.

Again – a great little book.

My question – Are you shepherding your people or are you just managing them?

Seven Ancient Principles for Leading People

I am republishing this post from January 2010 because this little book has had a profound impact on many lives.  I am an adjunct professor of management in an MBA program and have made this book a mandatory supplemental text for my management classes.  This little book has had more real impact on lives than anything else I have taught in my classes.

This one is worth getting and reading!!

We have been using a great little book in our leadership training that I highly recommend. It is The Way of the Shepherd, 7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Productive People by Kevin Leman and William Pentak.

Following are the highlights of the book:

1. Know the Condition of Your Flock
a. Follow the status of your people as well as the status of the work.
b. Get to know your flock, one sheep at a time.
c. Engage your people on a regular basis.
d. Keep your eyes and ears open, question, and follow through.

2. Discover the Shape of Your Sheep
a. Your choice of sheep can make flock management easier or harder.
b. Start with healthy sheep, or you’ll inherit someone else’s problems.
c. Know the SHAPE of your sheep to make sure they’re in the right fold.

3. Help Your Sheep Identify with You
a. Build trust with your followers by modeling authenticity, integrity, and compassion.
b. Set high standards of performance.
c. Relentlessly communicate your values and sense of mission.
d. Define the cause for your people and tell them where they fit in.
e. Remember that great leadership isn’t just professional; it’s personal.

4. Make Your Pasture a Safe Place
a. Keep your people well informed.
b. Infuse every position with importance.
c. Cull chronic instigators from the flock.
d. Regularly rotate the sheep to fresh pastures.
e. Reassure the sheep by staying visible.
f. Don’t give problems time to fester.

5. The Staff of Direction
a. Know where you’re going, get out in front, and keep your flock on the move.
b. When directing, use persuasion rather than coercion.
c. Give your people freedom of movement, but make sure they know where the fence line is. Don’t confuse boundaries with bridles!
d. When your people get in trouble, go and get them out.
e. Remind your people that failure isn’t fatal.

6. The Rod of Correction
a. Protect: Stand in the gap and fight for your sheep.
b. Correct: Approach discipline as a teaching opportunity.
c. Inspect: Regularly inquire about your people’s progress.

7. The Heart of the Shepherd
a. Great leadership is a lifestyle, not a technique.
b. Every day you have to decide who’s going to pay for your leadership—you or your people.
c. Most of all, have a heart for your sheep.

Again – a great little book.

My question – Are you shepherding your people or are you just managing them?

BG

 

Know your people – a story about Gladys and Ruth

Gladys [not her real name] is the “Front End” supervisor of one of the large “box” retailers.  As such she oversees all of the cashiers and their shift supervisors.  Gladys had been coming increasingly concerned about the continual tardiness of one of her veteran cashiers, [Ruth].  As time went on Gladys began planning out how she was going to approach the discipline and probable discharge of Ruth – something she did not relish at all, but felt was unavoidable.

During this same time, Gladys was attending the Human Resources class I was teaching in an MBA program and was reading the book, The Way of the Shepherd.  The first principle in the book is “Know the Condition of your Flock”.  Gladys took this to heart and began meeting one-on-one with all of her staff which is quite a few people.  When it came time to meet with Ruth, Gladys discovered that Ruth’s husband was bed-ridden and they could not afford a nurse to stay with him.  Ruth was under tremendous pressure taking care of her husband, running their household, working, dealing with financial pressures and on and on.  Instead of a poor worker, Gladys found someone who was working tremendously hard and under incredible pressure and not knowing how to cope.

Fortunately, Gladys’ employer has many employee friendly policies and benefits.  Working with Ruth, Gladys was able to change her work schedule to be more flexible as well as introduce her to several programs that the company has that are designed to help those that are in distress.

Just by taking the time to get to know her people, Gladys averted a situation that would have been devastating to Ruth and her family and instead she was able to be a blessing to them.

So – do you really know your people?  Do you really understand the burdens they are carrying?  And this is the hard question – do you really, deep down, care?

As leaders who are followers of Christ, we are called to care – we are called to be shepherds of those under our care.  Get to know your “flock” and be an instrument of grace in their lives.

BG