Tag Archives: Behavior

5 Questions with David Hunt

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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. This week, to change things up a little bit, we’re looking at one of my direct employees as our featured personality.

Name: David Hunt

Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Position/Job: Retail Sales Specialist at REI Santa Barbara

1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

Honestly all of my managers at REI have been amazing in their own way. Matt is terrific at recognizing people who are doing exceptional work and finding ways to increase productivity in less motivated workers. Lindsay puts everyone around her in a better mood by balancing her warm and sincere personality with a work-ethic that everyone respects. Wil is a master at bringing workers together for outside events, and making sure sales and membership goals are emphasized. I could go on and on about my experience with leadership at REI to talk about Dave, Piper, Mitch, Payton, etc (and I am still leaving a lot of people out), who are all stylistically different and yet are unquestioned leaders of their respective departments. They have all taught me to play to my strengths and embrace the leadership qualities I have while building on areas that I am less experienced in with their help.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

At RCC I was involved with a “leadership” group where the executive board was made up of six friends who decided to start a local chapter of an east coast organization. They had big ideas, and exceptional communication skills but never executed any of their goals that they spoke about in their first meeting which hosted over three-hundred students. The three hundred students quickly dwindled when they found out that they would not really be participating in any kind of reputable seminars, and the focus was more on generating profits to pay back the east coast operation. The experience made me realize that it doesn’t matter how excited you are, or how many people you can bring together for a meeting if you don’t deliver a product, or experience people that validates you as a leader. In other words, “Talk is cheap”

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

To me the quality that makes a truly good leader is someone who wants to listen to the concerns of those around them. It’s easy to tell someone what to do, and even to show them how it should be done in your own terms. To create an environment where not only do people feel productive, but also validated with their ideas and contributions is a skill that true leaders always need to master.

4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

I am currently developing a peer recognition program at REI where employees will be able to support each other for the work that we do every day. We experience unexpected challenges on a daily basis and a lot of times recognition for the way we handle those experiences goes unnoticed. When I see someone do a particularly good job, handling a tough customer, or cleaning up after somebody who didn’t do their job correctly etc, I make sure that I praise the effort to ensure they know their actions are appreciated. This helps motivate workers who otherwise might feel that someone else can handle the problem and/or default to calling a manager.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

I will refer back to question 3. Leaders have to be perceptive to what is going on around them and be able to respond with plans and goals that benefit their respective communities/organizations as a whole. If you are a leader people will look to you to help solve their problems and you can’t do that with incomplete information. An isolated leadership style will only allow you to work with the information you already have, but branching out and gathering knowledge from those around you will always help distinguish a true leader from someone in a position of power.

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5 Questions… with Patti Haberstock

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Name: Patti Haberstock

Location: Greenville, SC

Position/Job: Retail Sales Manager
1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

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.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

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.

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

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.

4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

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.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

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. 

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