Everyone, meet Watson. Watson, meet everyone.
Watson is what we affectionately call our Honda Element. (Element… elementary… Watson). It’s a great car that has served us well. Recently we had to get the brakes redone and transmission flushed, but that’s all part of owning a piece of machinery like this.
It’s like my Dad would say… if you want something to last, you have to take care of it. If we want Watson to be ready when we need him, we’ve got to take care of him.
See where this is going? If we want our employees to last and be ready when we need them… I’ll let you finish that statement.
In all cases, this takes people who are qualified to perform the work. For Watson, that’s a mechanic. For your employees, that’s YOU!
Do you FEEL qualified? Most newly promoted leaders don’t, but they also don’t know what steps to take to remedy the situation. (Don’t feel bad, in many cases your manager doesn’t know how to fix it, either.)
Here are some things to think about (and talk to your manager about!):
- Are you actually qualified? Mechanics (the good ones) take classes and attend update and recurring trainings to keep their skills sharp. What books, classes or seminars can you experience to hone your skills? Is there someone you know that you can seek out as a mentor or coach?
- Do you have the right tools? A hammer won’t do you any good if you need a wrench. What tools (skills, abilities) do you need in your tool box to effectively lead your teams? (Look at the things you dislike to do the most – that’s a good starting point.)
- How well do you use your time? When I first called the mechanic, they said they couldn’t get Watson in for another 3 days. Do you have a good handle on how you spend your time, where it goes and how to maximize your efficiency within the time you have?
- Are you a good problem solver? When I first brought Watson in, I explained what the brakes were doing (according to me). The mechanic then had to look at all of the surrounding factors and circumstances to determine the right solution. Are you able to identify the needs of your employees so you can provide them with what they need? If not, what tools or skills do you need to be able to do that?
Leaders (the good ones) are constantly looking at ways to get better at their craft, and that means seeking out opportunities learn, grow, and be better at your job than you were yesterday. Some of your skills might be right where they need to be, others may need some attention, and that’s okay.
Cars keep changing, so mechanics have to continue learning just to keep up. Your job as a leader ain’t that different.
Distinguished author, speaker, and industry veteran Matt Heller can sum up what he does in three simple words: Helping Leaders Lead. Matt’s firm, Performance Optimist Consulting, has worked with some of the largest attraction operators in the United States, including Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Universal Studios, Apex Parks Group, and Herschend Family Entertainment, along with countless other parks, zoos, museums, and aquariums. Matt focuses on leadership development, guest service training, eliminating employee burnout, and reducing turnover.