Name: Patti Haberstock
Location: Greenville, SC
I am motivated daily by a peer in my current position. He sets an exemplary example of effective leadership by leading from the front with positive energy and a natural ability to connect with others through honest communication, innovation in the way he partners with staff to set and achieve daily priorities, and helping them to evolve and grow in their roles. Working alongside this man has been inspiring to me and his positive influence will remain with me throughout my career.
At a time early in my retail career, I was unsure about the priority of a number of tasks assigned. When I asked about it, my boss told me, “Get them all done, sucker”. Not only did that statement not help me to learn about setting priorities, but has stuck with me all of these years as an example of ineffective leadership behavior.
Honesty – not only in expectations and performance feedback, but also regarding our business climate and company direction. It’s easier to pull together through the tough times when everyone knows their part and how it will impact the big picture.
We have very high expectations of our sales staff and it is my responsibility to see that each staff member performs to their highest potential. A number of months ago, I positively influenced an underachiever who had potential to grow in his role. He was very shy and had a hard time making eye contact with customers. Though he had product knowledge of his department and was cordial; he was not very effective in sales techniques or in promoting our co-op. I observed his behavior on a regular basis and coached to enable him with more successful behaviors. As he listened and learned from coaching, he gained confidence and increased his desire to improve his effectiveness in sales techniques. He grew in his skill set to the point that he had a much stronger floor presence and even received an “Employee of the Month” award.
Never get so grounded in your own viewpoint that you do not listen or learn from your staff. Over the many years that I’ve held leadership positions through a varied career path, I’ve learned some very good lessons from heeding this advice; and I have learned some very bad lessons from the times that I did not heed this advice.
Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input.