Leader Feeder by Front Line Leadership Systems https://uniquedevelopment.com/ Join our Leadership experts for weekly advice on how to develop consistent, capable and confident Supervisors, Managers and Team Leaders who drive safety, productivity, quality and team member engagement. In this series we will highlight some of the key elements of the Front Line Leadership Training System. This comprehensive approach will ensure a lasting change in the leadership approach and culture of your business to support high performance. Thu, 26 Nov 2020 04:59:34 +0000 en-US © 2018 Front Line Leadership Systems Inc. Leadership Training for Front Line Staff Front Line Leadership Systems Join our Leadership experts for weekly advice on how to develop consistent, capable and confident Supervisors, Managers and Team Leaders who drive safety, productivity, quality and team member engagement. In this series we will highlight some of the key elements of the Front Line Leadership Training System. This comprehensive approach will ensure a lasting change in the leadership approach and culture of your business to support high performance. Front Line Leadership Systems Inc. admin@uniquedevelopment.com clean http://uniquedevelopment.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Podcast-Logo.png Leader Feeder by Front Line Leadership Systems https://uniquedevelopment.com/ Front Line Leadership Systems admin@uniquedevelopment.com Join our Leadership experts for weekly advice on how to develop consistent, capable and confident Supervisors, Managers and Team Leaders who drive safety, productivity, quality and team member engagement. In this series we will highlight some of the key elements of the Front Line Leadership Training System. This comprehensive approach will ensure a lasting change in the leadership approach and culture of your business to support high performance. No https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 Embrace Challenge https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/embrace-challenge/ Mon, 23 Nov 2020 13:04:16 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6917 Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors,Teamwork

Why should you, as a leader, embrace challenges?

It’s tempting to think that challenging events and situations are only stressful and negative, but they can also contribute to some of your greatest strengths as a human being and leader.

Here are three tips to reframe your thinking about challenges:

Tip number one is to see the challenge as a confidence-building opportunity. Your confidence as a leader is strengthened by overcoming the challenges you have faced along the way.

Some circumstances in the workplace, especially around COVID-19, could appear negative— such as cutbacks. Or, they may be positive: you might be dealing with unprecedented growth and integrating new team members into your production flow. No matter what, overcoming these challenges will build your confidence for future situations.

Embrace your challenges. Here’s how, in three ways.
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The second tip to remember is that challenges build capabilities. You have and will get better at things after you’ve faced the hurdles along the way. You will have new strengths and skills you didn’t possess before. These challenges have actually built your capabilities for future success.

Worker At Construction Site Is Fixing The Form For The BeamFinally, remember that challenges build bench strength. Not only do you grow from difficult or stretching scenarios, but when you overcome them, your team gets stronger as you go through them together. Protecting your team from facing adversity is not going to help build their strengths. Instead, let them go through the learning that comes from facing and successfully navigating challenges.

Using these three tips in your everyday approach will help you continue to view challenges as a positive, instead of a negative, in the workplace.


clean no 2:32 Greg Schinkel No no
Clone Your Top Performers https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/clone-your-top-performers/ Mon, 16 Nov 2020 21:26:16 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6898 engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Supervisors,Teamwork

What if you, as a leader, could clone your top performers?

Many leaders fantasize about having the ability to clone their top performers, so they have even more of them in their work group.

Of course, we are not talking about a lab experiment where we extract DNA from your best people and breed more of them. Although, maybe someday that will be possible.

We are talking about how you can observe the top performers you have, identify the key elements that make them different, and then pollinate that across the work group.

Here are three steps for you to do just that:

The first step is to observe. This isn’t isolated to just watching people with your own eyes. You might want to consider recording and reviewing your top person to understand their approach. That way, you can clearly identify their process and understand what’s allowing them to create notable results. Take, for example, a paper-making business we recently spoke with—they knew that some of their supervisors did a much better job than others in terms of monitoring and setting up the work for the day. It was suggested that this person be “followed” and observed in their day-to-day work so that a training program could be built around their processes.

This too could be a valuable approach for you and your company to consider.

If you want to see an interesting contrast, take what your top performers do and compare it to what your medium or bottom performers do. This will help you identify what key aspects seem to make the biggest difference.

To clarify: it’s not good enough to just ask your top performers, “What is it that you do that’s different from everyone else?”

It’s very difficult for high performers in any field to tell you exactly what makes them successful. “It’s best if you actually observe and record them so you can point out the positive behaviors. Much like a coach does with game tapes, you can review what’s being done to help identify what your top performers are doing differently.

What if you, as a leader, could clone your top performers?
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Once you have gone beyond the observing stage, the second thing to do is to document what you are seeing. Once you have analyzed the game tape, you can put it into a procedure, checklist or best practices document. Then, you can identify nuances that might make someone different. I talked about that in a recent Leader Feeder episode on how athletes are conquering distance.

Once you have put it into a process, you can use it to train other people. Again, you can use videotaping or other permission-based recordings to do so. It will help show your team the differences in their performance versus the standard you are trying to achieve.

 Two manual workers talking while cooperating during quality control inspection in steel factory.

The third aspect is to train and coach. Training is more around skills and knowledge, while coaching is around making observations that can help someone change their behavior to increase their performance. Training could be a group workshop or small group work with a team of people that perform the same job. Coaching could be where you have identified and observed certain behaviors in a member of your team—and then share with them a suggestion for how they could do it even better.

By implementing these three simple tips, from observing, recording or documenting, to training and coaching behaviors you want to replicate, you can help, in essence, clone your top performers.

Even if it seems like a fantasy to build a team exclusively with top performers, imagine if you could take every person on your team and elevate their performance just slightly. It would make a huge difference to your output, your ability to satisfy customers, and to be competitive going forward.

clean no 4:21 Greg Schinkel No no
Three Steps To Keep Employees Fit for Duty https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/three-steps-to-keep-employees-fit-for-duty/ Mon, 09 Nov 2020 17:00:31 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6885 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing

How do you ensure your employees are fit for duty and not jeopardizing the health and safety of your team?

Your responsibility as a supervisor is to make sure your team is fit for duty. When we say “fit for duty”, we mean making sure employees are able to perform the job tasks required without the influence of drugs or alcohol. It also includes making sure they are well-rested, so they are not causing themselves and other people potential injury. In summary, you need to ensure your team is safe to work.

Fit for duty really requires three different steps:

Step one is to observe. Under the observation banner, you would be watching the employees; how they are acting and behaving. You are looking for areas where they may not be able to mount the equipment the way they are supposed to; or they are walking funny or stumbling. It might be that their speech is somewhat slurred, or they are more irritable than usual. This could include something you observe as the supervisor or it could be something one of the other employees brings to your attention. It could also be a third party, like a supplier or a customer, who brings it to your attention.

Your responsibility as a supervisor is to make sure your team is fit for duty. Learn how to do just that by clicking here.
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Step two is to dig for more information. No matter how you come to know the information, you now have a responsibility to dig a little further. When you do that, you are going to be dealing with an area called “reasonable suspicion”. It means you have reason to believe the employee may not be fit for duty. This will require a conversation with them and in that conversation, you will be looking for information. For example, was the crew all out drinking and partying heavily the night before and is the person clearly hungover and unable to perform their job tasks? If your suspicions are justified, you have an absolute responsibility to not allow that person to perform work that day.

Finally, the third step is to offer resources and manage performance. Often, your company will have an employee assistance program (EAP). If it is a substance abuse issue, you can refer the person to the EAP or to community resources you know are available that can help them. Most companies realize they have a duty and responsibility to help people be more successful on the job from a health and safety standpoint.

manufacturing leader talking to team member

There is the performance management piece of dealing with the issue as well. This means you may have to administer progressive discipline.

After all, one of the toughest requirements of a supervisor is to manage the actions of that employee so you don’t jeopardize the health and safety of your team.


clean no 3:12 Greg Schinkel No no
Unlock The Secret To Top Performance https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/unlock-the-secret-to-top-performance/ Mon, 02 Nov 2020 16:46:02 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6869 engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Performance,Team

Should you think of your employees as athletes?

Today, I want to talk about an article I read recently that talked about how athletes are conquering distance and whether you can apply some of those same concepts to elevate your team’s performance.

The article was in the Wall Street Journal, and it talked about how athletes are conquering distance in many different sports.

For example, top athletes can now can run two-hour marathons, something that was unheard of years ago. In the NBA, they can take and make more three-pointers two or three steps behind the three-point line. Professional golfers are hitting the ball sometimes 300, 311, 315 yards off the tee.

Better performance changes a lot of dynamics, but what if you could do that with your team?

What if you could get them to conquer some of the barriers to their performance? After all, we are all on a quest to increase our competitiveness and our productivity, and to reduce costs.

The article focused on little things that people do that create a huge difference in their performance in the long-run.

For example, when you notice the difference between your top performers and your middle and bottom performers, it is often just some little things your top performers do to focus that makes a huge difference in their productivity and output.

If you can identify just a couple of things you need your team members to focus on, this small change can yield great impact in terms of productivity. Additionally, it could help boost your effectiveness too.

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This sometimes gets handed off to the engineering or the continuous improvement folks in your organization, but there’s a problem with this.

Factory worker operating band saw cutting machine for steel bars in the industrial factory

If operational changes and improvements are identified in the front office and not on the shop floor, you are going to be missing some of the things you could gain from direct observation.

My suggestion is, you as the supervisor, along with your partners in continuous improvement and engineering, should take a look at what your high performers do differently and have all of your employees focus on those small changes that could make a big difference in their output.

clean no 2:53 Greg Schinkel No no
Are You Using Teamwork To Your Advantage? https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/are-you-using-teamwork-to-your-advantage/ Mon, 26 Oct 2020 16:32:11 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6854 engaging employees,Leadership,Management,problem solving,Supervisors,Teamwork

Many leaders believe that their team doesn’t want to help problem solve or make things better in the department. Some even believe that their team is actively working against their success.

This mindset is a big mistake, as it impedes your ability to make the kinds of improvements your department needs in order to satisfy your customers, increase productivity, and drive better outcomes.

Here’s three tips to help you change this mindset:

Tip number one: stop trying to solve everything on your own.

Many leaders mistakenly think because they were promoted, they have to solve all the problems on their own. The reality is that your team has knowledge and experience that can help you problem solve if you call on them.

When you ask your team members for input, you can then give them credit and recognition, and they will be more likely to be helpful moving forward.

Many #leaders believe that their team doesn't want to help problem solve or make things better in the department. Some even believe that their #team is actively working against their success. This mindset is a big mistake.
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Tip number two: allow your team to help you run the department.

You don’t have to do everything, make every decision, and solve every problem on your own. Your team members can help with troubleshooting, scheduling, or other tasks.

Roofer worker in protective uniform wear and gloves,using air or pneumatic nail gun and installing asphalt shingle on top of the new roof,Concept of residential building under construction.

For example, if a department is so reliant on you that you can’t take a break or take vacation time because you are needed every day, you need to coach your employees to understand how processes work, what problems they might encounter, how to prevent them, and what to do when they arise.

Trust your team to help you run the department, and they will be more motivated and engaged than ever.

Trust your team to help you run the department, and they will be more motivated and engaged than ever.
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Tip number three is to remove obstacles that frustrate your team.

It is inevitable that you and your team will run into obstacles. You might see these obstacles and decide to simply accept them.

Instead, I recommend helping your team overcome them. This might mean finding a way around them, asking for help from other departments, or helping your team cope with them.

Once you’ve recognized that your team is your ally in generating results, you won’t feel the need to do everything yourself.

Why not let your team help you? It motivates them and generates better results.


clean no 3:27 Greg Schinkel No no
Help Your Team Be “Right” https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/help-your-team-be-right/ Mon, 19 Oct 2020 18:34:59 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6824 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing

How do you, as a leader, make your team feel “right” or good about what they’re doing, so they can build on those successes?

It has been said that one of the basic human needs, especially in the workplace, is a sense of security that you’re competent and doing something right. It’s important, as a leader, to help your team feel this way.

This is not about false praise – rather finding genuine reasons that they are right or correct about something.

Try following these three tips to build on your team’s successes.

Tip number one is help people feel “right” by asking instead of telling.

Many problems and challenges arise daily in workplaces. As a leader, you might decide to solve the problems by telling people what to do. What if, instead, you started asking your team questions about the problems?

As your team contributes suggested solutions, and you give them credit for it, they can take ownership over the outcome, feel good about it, and they will be more committed to carrying it out.

When you help your team to be right and get better at what they do, you will notice that their overall level of engagement and motivation is higher than ever before.
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The second tip is to explain the big picture.

In order for your team to feel a sense of belonging and feel like they own the work, you have to make the importance of the work clear. When they understand why what they are doing is valuable to the end customer or the company, they will feel good about it, and will have improved motivation and productivity.

The third tip is to grow your team’s competence.

Raise your team’s level of competence and performance over time so that they become more productive. They will produce higher quality products, meet efficiency targets, and be more productive and happier overall.

Coach your team to get better at what they do and look for opportunities to provide constructive feedback. When you invest in your team’s competence level, they will feel more confident, and they will deliver on your expectations.

When you help your team to be right and get better at what they do, you will notice that their overall level of engagement and motivation is higher than ever before.

clean no 3:57 Greg Schinkel No no
Communication Tips for Effective Leadership https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/communication-tips-for-effective-leadership/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 20:00:07 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6807 Communicate,Communication,Communication Skills,Leader,Leadership,Listen,Management,Supervisors,Workplace

Communication is an age-old challenge in leadership. The good thing is, there are things that you as a leader can do to become more effective in your communication with your team.

#Communication is an age-old challenge in #leadership. The good thing is, there are things that you as a leader can do to become more effective in your communication with your #team.
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Effective communication will help you not only prevent problems and misunderstandings with your team but solve them when they do come up.

Follow these three tips to improve your communication skills.

The first tip is to be clear about what you want when you want it and why it’s important.

If your team clearly understands your expectations, they will work to help you make those expectations come true. However, many leaders don’t explain what they want, how urgent it is, or what the quality standard is.

Explain your expectations clearly and recognize that when someone isn’t meeting them, you need to go back and make sure they clearly understand what the expectations are.

The second tip is to ask questions.

Asking questions as a leader is important because it allows you to gather information.

Don’t ask closed-ended questions such as, “Did you know that was a problem?” Closed-ended questions only warrant a yes or no response. Great leaders ask open-ended questions like, “What caused that to happen?” or, “What seems to be the problem?”

When you allow the person to contribute their ideas it makes the communication flow in both directions rather than it just being one-way.

The third, and final tip, is to pay attention and listen.

You have to pay attention in order to listen.

When your employees need your attention, make sure that you’re not distracted by something else that’s going on, and that you actually pay attention to them. It can also be helpful to repeat back what they said to you so that they know you heard them.

By being an effective listener, you can become a more effective communicator.

By being an effective #listener, you can become a more effective #communicator. #Leadership
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clean no 3:17 Greg Schinkel No no
Let’s Talk Workplace Problem Solving https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/lets-talk-workplace-problem-solving/ Mon, 05 Oct 2020 18:59:50 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6790 Communication,engaging employees,Leader,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Problem,problem solving,Resources,Supervisors,Workplace

Instead of complaining about problems, try converting them into projects to improve your department.

Here are three tips for converting problems into projects.

Tip number one: don’t just accept the problem, be determined to fix it.

It can be tempting to complain about things that frustrate you instead of looking for a solution, but your team is looking to you, as the leader, to seek out changes that will improve the workplace instead.

Don’t just accept problems – become determined to fix them.

Don't just accept #problems – become #determined to fix them. #Leadership
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Tip number two: get the resources you need.

As a supervisor responsible for a production environment, you have access to tons of support staff, whether it be through your supply chain, your engineering department, or your Continuous Improvement Coordinators.

These resources are available to you and can be a huge asset, but if you don’t ask for the help you need you will never get it.

You own the results of your department, and therefore you are responsible for bringing in the resources and people who can help you succeed.

You own the results of your department, and therefore you are responsible for bringing in the resources and people who can help you succeed. #Leadership
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Tip number three: push through the obstacles.

Running into obstacles and problems is inevitable, and some problems can be very stubborn. They probably didn’t arise overnight, and they won’t be fixed in one day either.

It could be machinery-related, systems-related or supplier-related.

Don’t just stop when you hit an obstacle or roadblock. Find a way over it, through it, or around it, using the help that you have.

Don't just stop when you hit an obstacle or roadblock. Find a way over it, through it, or around it. #Leadership
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It might mean spending a number of days or weeks focused on this problem before you start to see some of the results you’re looking for, but in the end, solving those problems will help you be more successful as a leader, and help drive the performance of your department.

clean no 3:28 Greg Schinkel No no
Three Tips for Encouraging Leadership https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/three-tips-for-encouraging-leadership/ Mon, 28 Sep 2020 17:23:40 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6625 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

Are you an encouraging or discouraging leader?

As a leader, it’s crucial for you to be more encouraging than discouraging. Not only will it impact your organization’s results, but it will also increase the morale and attitude of your group – and in the end, it will make your job as a leader easier.

Many leaders don’t realize that they criticize more than they should. This is because leaders are often looking for the exceptions – the things that are not going well.

Your team may have noticed that all you do is focus on what’s going poorly. What you don’t realize is that this negativity can affect their motivation, morale and attitude.

You might think you are just telling the truth and highlighting opportunities for improvement, but if your tone comes off as negative or critical, your team may become demotivated.

As a leader, it's crucial for you to be more encouraging than discouraging. Not only will it impact your organization’s results, but it will also increase the #morale & #attitude of your group – and in the end, it will make your…
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It’s not like the old expression that says, “the beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Here are three tips for being an encouraging leader:

First, remember that most problems and challenges are solvable.

Many of the issues that cause you to be critical are easily solved.

For example, a change in machinery or equipment might be required. Although you might have to put up with the problem until it gets fixed, the reality is that it is solvable.

It is your job as the leader to identify which problems need to be solved, and then bring in the resources to solve them.

friendly leader and team member

The second thing you can do to become more encouraging is to build on the successes.

You might be noticing the distance between how your team is performing now, and where you think they could be if they improved. Slow growth might mean you don’t want to give them any credit for making even the smallest of improvements.

What you should be doing, however, is highlighting the gains that they’re making to reassure them that the changes in the commitments they’re making are yielding positive results. This will encourage and motivate them to continue stepping it up.

The final tip is to reassure your team members.

People often doubt themselves and are not confident in their ability to deliver on the work expectations you have set for them. It’s important to reassure them that they are doing well, that they are fitting in or that they have improved.

As you become more encouraging, you will notice that your group’s morale and attitude improve, and you will start to see those changes reflected in the results your team is capable of generating.

clean no 4:10 Greg Schinkel No no
Interpersonal Skills & Leadership https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/interpersonal-skills-leadership/ Mon, 21 Sep 2020 19:13:46 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6615 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

Should leaders place more focus on their technical strengths or their interpersonal capability?

You might think technical skills are the most important skill sets to have, but it turns out that your employees will judge your leadership on your interpersonal skills.

Think about the best manager or supervisor you have ever worked for. When you look at the list of their attributes you will notice that only about 5% of them are technically based, e.g. how they problem-solve, their knowledge of the machinery and equipment, etc.

You will also notice that 95% of what made them such a good boss was their interpersonal skills.

If you want your employees to view you as one of the best leaders they have worked for, it’s important to work on those interpersonal skills.

Here are three tips for better interpersonal skills:

The first tip is to tell the truth and keep your team informed.

It is important for leaders to speak the truth. You want your team to view you as someone who speaks the truth, doesn’t make excuses and doesn’t dance around issues.

If your team senses you are not being honest with them, they won’t trust you. Then, when you ask them for their commitment, they may dial it back just in case you’ve been leading them astray. Keep your team informed and share information with them, so they have a sense of what’s happening in the organization, in the department and/or with customers.

The second tip is to empower your team.

Your team is much more capable than you probably realize, so why not empower them? Why not give them the chance to own their work and take ownership over the quality of it so that they feel a sense of pride?

Your #team is much more capable than you probably realize, so why not #empower them? Give them the chance to own their work and take ownership over the quality it so that they feel a sense of pride?
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Then, when the team does well, give them the glory and let them feel that they’ve made a difference to you and how the department is performing.

The third tip is to be firm, fair and consistent.

Being firm means you’re not going to let them get away with things that they shouldn’t be able to get away with. Being fair means that you are going to respond in a way that is reasonable for the circumstances, the severity of the behavior and the repetitiveness of it. Finally, being consistent means that when they present a problem, you’re always going to deal with it in the same way.

It doesn’t matter who does it, when it happens, or when you’re confronted with a situation. You’re consistent with the actions you take and the consequences that you apply.

By doing this, your team will see you as the kind of leader that won’t allow them to get away with too much. When they step out of line you let them know but you’re on their side and will encourage them to be better.

As you work on these interpersonal leadership skills, you will realize just how much of an asset they are to being one of the best leaders your team has worked with.

clean no 5:02 Greg Schinkel No no
Keeping Employees Motivated https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/keeping-employees-motivated/ Mon, 14 Sep 2020 20:00:33 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6597 Employee,Front Line Leadership,Frontline Employees,Introvert,Introverted,Leader,Leadership,Management,Supervisors

How can you ensure that standardizing work doesn’t inadvertently cause your employees to become demotivated?

When work becomes routine and repetitive, employees can lose motivation. Here are three tips to keep work interesting.

The first tip is to avoid dumbing down the work.

This can happen as you try to make things more standardized in your work process. In making the jobs finite in their scope, it also makes them routine and takes away the need for team members to think in order to execute.

The second tip to keep employees motivated is to add variety back into the work process.

If you can expand the scope of someone’s responsibilities so they are responsible for more of the workflow, you can pique their interest. Having employees deal with different things from time to time and adding variety to their day, will add to their motivation and engagement.

Having employees deal with different things from time to time and adding variety to their day, will add to their motivation and engagement.
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The third tip is to empower employees and hold them accountable.

Many leaders mistakenly think their team is uninterested in being empowered or being held accountable. If that is what you have been thinking, it’s time to question it. Your team members actually do want to take responsibility for their work because of the sense of pride that comes with it. One of the reasons they don’t, is because you as the leader interfere, make decisions for them and try to solve all the problems.

Put the ownership onto the team and explain what the expectations and the desired results are. Then try to get out of their way so they can produce the outcomes you’re looking for.

To keep #employees #motivated, avoid letting #work become routine and repetitive.
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By doing these three things, you can add more variety and interest to the work, and avoid letting it become routine and demotivating. You’ll benefit from an increase in productivity and the morale boost that comes with having a more motivated workgroup.

clean no 3:47 Greg Schinkel No no
Being Heard As An Introverted Leader https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/being-heard-as-an-introverted-leader/ Mon, 07 Sep 2020 20:00:56 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6580 Employee,Front Line Leadership,Frontline Employees,Introvert,Introverted,Leader,Leadership,Management,Supervisors

If you are an introverted leader, you might feel your colleagues get more credit than they deserve, and you might not be getting proper credit and acknowledgement for the contributions you make.

It can be irritating if you are a self-contained introvert and you are seeing your extroverted colleagues get more credit and accolades for what they contribute.

Of course, people should be evaluated based on the actual value they deliver, but some promotion and marketing doesn’t hurt either to increase your visibility.

Here are three tips for the introverted leader to begin to receive the proper credit and acknowledgement they are seeking:

Tip number one is to be more self-promotional.

Don’t assume your manager always sees the contributions you make. Instead, tell people about what you did, how it worked, or the results that were generated.

It is not showing off to tell people, “Here’s what I took care of and here’s what happened as a result of that.”

You don’t have to boast. You simply have to say, “This was the situation. Here’s what I did to take care of it, and here are the results.”

The second tip is to say what’s on your mind.

As an introvert, it’s easy to get in your head, and not articulate what you are thinking. You might be pondering something and have valuable input, meanwhile, a more extroverted colleague will simply blurt something out, and management will like the fact they spoke up.

It’s important to reveal what you are thinking, share your ideas and how it will affect the organization and the business.

The third tip is to be confident in your recommendations and decisions.

Be confident in speaking about what you would recommend, even when you’re not totally certain if it is going to work or not.

Making a strong decision or recommendation can help you stand out in an organization.

Making a strong decision or recommendation can help you #StandOut in an #Organization.
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If you float ideas and management likes them, you’ll get credit for having made the recommendation. If you keep your ideas to yourself, someone else might make the recommendation before you. They will get the credit and it won’t reflect well on you even though you may have had the same idea.

When it comes to decisions, introverts might be wary to take risks for fear that it puts them in danger, especially if those decisions turn out to be less than awesome.

Remember, organizations are always taking risks. They are always doing something without knowing for sure whether it will work.

Some of this may seem like PR or marketing, but remember, part of managing your career path is making sure you get recognition and acknowledgement for the contributions you make.

Instead of keeping it all to yourself, try sharing things in a way that’s helpful for the organization and others. It’s not boasting if it’s true! This will help you to gain the proper credit and acknowledgements you deserve.

clean no 4:13 Greg Schinkel No no
Leadership Tips To Avoid Bureaucracy https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/avoid-bureaucracy/ Mon, 31 Aug 2020 20:00:02 +0000 Lisa Larter https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6538 "accountability",Bureaucracy,Bureaucratic,Company Culture,Consequences,Employee,Front Line Leadership,Frontline Employees,Leader,Leadership,Management,Supervisors

Why is it that companies with more bureaucratic cultures tend to make a big deal about little things?

You don’t have to be a government agency or a publicly funded institution to have a bureaucratic culture. Bureaucracy develops in many large established companies.

A bureaucracy in and of itself is not a bad thing—after all, we do need services like police, educational institutions and hospitals, and we’re comforted by knowing they create a set of rules and develop consistent services.

However, when an organization gets too bureaucratic, it can take away from its main mission and goals.

What can you do to help your organization be less bureaucratic?

Here are three recommendations:

Recommendation number one is to go for cures, not band-aids.

Bureaucratic institutions tend to be focused on optics. They are more interested in appearing as though they are doing the “right thing,” and less so in the outcome being effective.

Don’t just go for the band-aid solution— go for the cure!

Don’t just go for the band-aid solution— go for the cure! #leadership #bureaucracy
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As a leader, focus on finding outcomes that will be effective for the long-term.

The second recommendation is to say it like it is.

In bureaucracies, people are often concerned with positioning themselves in the eyes of their superiors. Because of this, they don’t always speak the truth.

When people speak in mixed messages and say things to mislead you, it is difficult to know where they stand.

As a leader, speak plainly and directly while remaining professional. This will eliminate the misdirection that tends to occur in bureaucracies.

The final recommendation is to apply consequences.

Consequences are not just punishments; consequences can also mean both praise and correction.

They create accountability; however often in companies with bureaucratic cultures, there is no punishment when workers screw up, and there is no praise when they do well.

In other words, when people screw up, they are not disciplined or terminated. The organization does not

apply consequences either because of the union-management relationship or because there is no willpower on behalf of the management to do what needs to be done.

If you want your organization to be less about politics and bureaucracy, there must be consequences.

Do you want your #organization to be less about the #politics and #bureaucracy? Read this week’s blog post for recommendations here:
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By following these three recommendations, you can make your organization less bureaucratic, and achieve more.

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Are You Creating Your Own Frustrations? https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/are-you-creating-your-own-frustrations/ Mon, 24 Aug 2020 20:00:18 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6521 "independence",Communication,Employee,Front Line Leadership,Frontline Employees,Leader,Leadership,Management,Respect,Supervisors,Team Work

There are three common frustrations leaders have with their workgroups, that can be linked back to what they, as the leader, are doing.

Are you, as a leader creating the very things that frustrate you the most? Find out here:
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The first frustration that can be linked back to a leader’s actions is employees who are not accountable.

Leaders want employees to take ownership and be accountable. They want their workers to own up to their mistakes and successes, and to take ownership of the job.

When you assign small tasks without explaining the bigger picture or outlining the outcomes you’re looking for, you’re actually asking for them to keep checking in with you instead of taking responsibility and ownership.

When problems arise it’s helpful to encourage accountability. Do this by asking, “What do you think you could do to get this back on track? Can you get this fixed for us by the end of the day?” That way the ownership and responsibility stay with the worker and don’t get transferred to you, as the leader. When you micromanage, you’re stripping away the things that cause people to own the work from start to finish.

The second frustration that leaders create for themselves is employees who don’t think for themselves or answer their own questions independently.

Employees will often approach their leader and say, “What do you think I should do about this?”, “We’ve run out of this product” or, “There seems to be a quality issue with the product. What should I do?”

It may be very tempting to answer the question right away. If they are asking a really tough question that absolutely requires your experience and expertise, of course, deliver those answers, but in other situations, you should try to get people to think through things on their own.

Ask them, “What do you think you should do? What do you think you should try?” And if they come up with an answer you don’t like, say, “What else do you think you could try or do to help solve this issue?”

Being less eager to dispense answers so quickly, allows you as the leader to get people to be more independent and only come to you for the things they really need help on.

Lastly, leaders who play favorites leave their team in the dark, or leaves them without a goal and detracts from teamwork causing frustrations for the leader.

Sometimes a group of employees act very individualistic rather than coming together to get the work done as a team. As a leader, you either create or detract from teamwork based on a few things.

First, a team needs a leader who doesn’t play favorites and who doesn’t give certain assignments to certain people who they know or think can deliver results. This creates an us versus them mentality within the workgroup. As the leader, you want to diminish playing favorites by assigning tasks more equitably fashion, and challenging different people to step up at different times.

Second, consider how much you keep the team informed as to what is going on? A team that is left in the dark won’t gel together. Instead, they may act as free agents. Communicating with them and keeping them in the loop will allow them to be more likely to behave as a team.

Lastly, having a goal can also promote teamwork. If the team understands what they have to deliver, then they can work on that goal together.

One of the places to start whenever you experience frustrations is to look in the mirror. What is it that you’re doing as the leader that might be contributing to your own misery?
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As a leader, you can mitigate your frustrations by focusing on these three behaviors.

clean no 4:13 Greg Schinkel No no
Passing The Test As A New Leader https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/passing-the-test-as-a-new-leader/ Mon, 17 Aug 2020 20:00:45 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6474 "new leader",Communication,Employee,Front Line Leadership,Frontline Employees,Game,Leader,Leadership,Management,Respect,Supervisors,Test

As a new leader taking over a workgroup, some employees may decide to test you. Passing those tests will establish you as a confident and respected leader.

Here are three strategies to help you pass the test as a new leader:

The first strategy is to get to know your team and their capabilities.

Being an effective new leader requires you to balance coming off too hard and too soft initially, so you can understand what your employees are all about. By getting to know them you can find out what their backgrounds are and what makes them tick.

Getting to know them as people and letting them get to know you as a person will diminish the games teams tend to play with their leaders before really getting to know them.

Getting to know your employees as people will diminish the games they will play with you as a new #leader before they really get to know you. Read more:
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The second strategy is to ask questions, without confusing opinions as facts.

As a new leader, you want to find out what people have to say about what used to happen in the department and what the challenges and frustrations are. If you can help them overcome some of those challenges, you will help them perform their jobs with fewer frustrations.

It is important to remember when you ask questions you can’t always count on the answers to be factual because employees might be testing you. An opinion stated confidently is often misconstrued as fact. This means you need to ask and listen but be aware that just because the information is coming your way doesn’t mean it’s credible.

Take it all in and use your BS detector to tell what is true and what is not. If information comes to you, see if it’s validated by the input you receive from others. Sometimes employees will try to steer you down a certain path only to embarrass you when you take action on that information.

Strategy number three is to show them respect and earn their trust.

As a new leader, you may come off too harsh. You could also come off too soft and give the impression you don’t care. Instead, focus on showing your team respect.

Being respectful means you’re not overly harsh or abrasive with them. Talk plainly about what you want to get done, showing them the respect you would expect in return. Get to know them and treat them as they need to be treated.

Remember trust is about whether you keep your promises and commitments. That means not over-promising and under-delivering.

When people see that you’re consistent, firm and fair, they’re going to stop testing you because now they can trust you. They trust that you’re going to defend them when appropriate, challenge them when appropriate, and back them up when appropriate.

By following these strategies as a new leader, you can pass the tests employees play with you and earn their respect.

clean no 4:13 Greg Schinkel No no
Dealing with Employees Who Just Don’t Get It https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/employees-who-dont-get-it/ Mon, 10 Aug 2020 20:00:03 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6453 Communication,Front Line Leadership,Leadership,Management,Supervisors

What happens when you’re enlightened, but you are surrounded by peers who just don’t get it?

Many organizations require help when they are experiencing rapid growth or some other change and pressure. For example, when a senior leader changes in the organization and they want employees who are on the same page as them.

Leaders will often bring in one or two people who “get it,” but what happens to the other leaders on the team who don’t? What should you do if you are one of the leaders who are with the program when others are not?

Here are a few tips for you!

The first tip is to lead by example.

Chances are you are already doing this if you are one of the proactive enlightened people. If you set an example, others can observe your behaviour, and notice the difference between how they might be handling a situation.

Setting a positive example is beneficial to those who may be observing you in the workgroup.
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The second tip is to give people time to change.

Think about your own evolution as a leader. Chances are you have learned some valuable lessons, had good mentorship, were surrounded by good peers, and over time, your leadership improved.

Other leaders in your organization may not have received the same level of training, education or experience.

Give these leaders time to learn, change their minds, and get aligned with the new way of doing things. This can be excruciatingly slow, and sometimes hiring leadership and development trainers can help elevate skills. But it takes time for people to change. Give them the chance to meet expectations.

The third tip is to encourage growth.

 As people make positive changes, it helps you, as a peer or colleague, to acknowledge or reward what you are seeing. That way, they will know they are on the right track, and you will be seeing more behaviors that support the changes you are trying to make as a leader.

You might ask, “why should I get involved with helping my peers who are slower than me? Aren’t I supposed to just look out for myself?”

As a proactive and enlightened leader, your duty is to not only deliver the results you are expected to deliver but to also better the organization and improve the working conditions and lives of the people that work there.

Go beyond your personal deliveries in terms of what you do for the organization and try to help your peers get better over time.
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As you work with your team and help them elevate their skills you will no longer feel like the only one who gets it.

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How to Deal With Worker to Worker Accusations https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/how-to-deal-with-worker-to-worker-accusations/ Mon, 03 Aug 2020 20:00:29 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6428 Communication,Front Line Leadership,Leadership,Management,Supervisors

How should you as a leader, deal with worker to worker accusations?

What happens when one worker tells you something that another worker might be doing?

This can be a touchy situation for many leaders because the informant likely wants you to take action and say something to another worker, however, you may not have actually observed the behavior they are commenting on.

This puts you in a tricky spot. If you approach a worker and say, “It’s come to my attention that you have been doing this”- it might not sit well with them. They might start thinking about how to get even, rather than owning up to the situation and making a positive shift in their behavior.

Here are three tips to navigate these situations.

The first tip is to determine the seriousness of the situation.

If it turns out the accusation being levelled is serious like theft, assault, harassment or bullying, you have a responsibility to act on it as a leader, even if the informant isn’t willing to come forward. Now that it’s been brought to your attention, you have to start an investigation and rectify it.

If it turns out the situation is more of a nuisance or annoyance, you will have to take the information under advisement and try to observe it for yourself before taking action.

How do you as a leader, deal with worker to worker accusations?
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The second tip is to observe the behavior.

If something is brought to your attention, you need to be visible in the workforce to observe what is going on. If you notice the issue directly, you won’t have to blame anyone for why it has come to your attention. You’ve simply noticed it and therefore can comment on it directly.

How to Deal With Worker to Worker Accusations - Greg Schinkel

The third tip is to ask the informant for their desired remedy.

If someone brings something to your attention, ask, “What would you like me to do about this?”

If they are not willing to go on record and speak up against a coworker, then they are putting you in a difficult position. Unless they are willing to come forward, you will have to take the information as a tip, and wait to see it for yourself. Of course, that wouldn’t apply if it was a serious situation (theft, assault, harassment or bullying).

Once you can handle worker to worker accusations, keep people focused on their work, and observe what’s going on in the workplace, you can work on strengthening some of your other leadership attributes!

clean no 3:52 Greg Schinkel No no
Don’t Let Bad Behavior Slide https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/dont-let-bad-behavior-slide/ Mon, 27 Jul 2020 19:00:31 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6402 Communication,engaging employees,Front Line Leadership,Leadership,Management,Respect,Supervisors

How do you correct some of the unacceptable behavior and performance in your team?

One of the top topics people look to us to deliver to their front line teams is how to deal with unacceptable behaviors that workers can sometimes give their supervisor. Keep this advice in your tool kit, because you will use it over and over again.

If you take a punitive and aggressive approach to your correction, you will likely turn your people against you. They will become resentful and probably won’t meet your expectations on a consistent basis. Taking a punitive approach isn’t the right way to go. Strive to be conversational instead.

In fact, this is tip number one:

Strive to be more conversational and not accusational.

If you are correcting someone’s behavior or their performance issues, it helps if it’s a two-way discussion. You want to let the person know what they are doing now and what you would like them to do in the future. Always start the conversation this way so they know what your expectations are. You also want to listen to them to understand some of their barriers, frustrations and obstacles that may be contributing to them not meeting your expectations.

Factory worker signing document in industrial hall

The second tip is to stay on track.

In a discussion about someone’s behavior or performance, it’s easy for the leader to get distracted. There are a few reasons why, but it could be because the employee decides to raise an excuse or reason the leader had not considered. Or, perhaps, it’s just that you, as the leader, are trying to be so friendly and nice that you haven’t focused on the behavior you want to see changed and improved.

Know how to bring up behavior problems without creating conflict.
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If you are confronted with an excuse, there is a Leader Feeder segment on dealing with excuses on our blog. Instead of arguing against them right away, which basically tells the person you’re not going to acknowledge what they said, take a moment to acknowledge and repeat back the excuse they gave you. For example, “Other guys are doing this too.” Respond with, “Hey, I realize other guys might be doing this, but let’s focus on your behavior.” In fact, you can do it even better by taking out the word “but”. Just say, “Hey, I realize other guys may be doing this. Let’s focus on your behavior, though. That’s something I observed today, and it needs to get addressed.”

Again, by being specific, staying focused and on task you will become more effective during the disciplinary talk.

The final tip is to take a positive approach to the conversation.

The person needs to have an overwhelming feeling that you are rooting for them to improve their behavior and performance. If they think you’re just trying to punish them or that you’ll be looking for every time they screw up so that you can increase the consequences, they won’t want to meet your expectations in the long-term. Instead, give them a sense that you’re rooting for them to succeed. Show them that you’re encouraging them and that you know they can be a valuable contributor to the team. They need to know you’re in their corner as their leader. And that will help build trust and respect in your relationship as well.

With these three tips, you can become better at delivering corrective feedback to your team.

clean no 3:52 Greg Schinkel No no
Motivating The Younger Generations https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/motivating-the-younger-generations/ Mon, 20 Jul 2020 16:49:18 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6379 Communication,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

How do you motivate Millennials and Generation Z workers on your work team?

One of the most requested topics from supervisors, managers, and team leaders is how to motivate the younger people in their work group. A lot of managers and supervisors tell me that it’s really tough to get people to do especially difficult tasks and to stop playing with their phones, and pay attention to their work tasks on the job.

The issue is, we cannot write off a whole generation of workers simply because they are accelerating a trend that effected you in your generation compared to the ones that came before. Like most things, the reality is, as leaders, we need to adapt in order to be more effective.

Here are a few tips on how to get these younger workers to be more motivated and engaged to deliver the work task you need to get done in order to hit your numbers:

Tip number one is to take time to explain why something’s important. Explaining why is one of the core subjects we have in our Frontline Leadership Program. With younger workers, this is even more important. People who are more mature and seasoned, not older necessarily, tend to do things because that’s the job that’s been laid out for them. Younger folks want the “why” to be explained. It’s all part of the change in parenting that happened about 20 years ago. And now, it’s happening in the workplace too. Younger workers want to know what the reason is that they have to do certain things or do them in a certain way.

Learn the right way to motivate Millennials and Gen Z.
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The second tip is to be more positive and encouraging in general. Being a crusty curmudgeon with a younger worker is not going to work well. In most cases, they need someone who is going to be supportive of them. Remember, parenting has changed to become more encouraging and positive— and so the workplaces have to be as well.

This doesn’t mean you cannot provide feedback, but you have to do it in a very timely way. And you have to deliver it in such a way that the Millennial or Generation Z worker will accept it, process it, and then work to meet your expectations.

The last tip is to involve and include these younger workers in your decision-making. I know some of you feel like, “Hey, you have to earn your stripes before you can give some input on changes in the workplace.” The reality is, younger folks at home are used to being able to say where they want to go out for dinner or what to do on family vacations. So, they expect to have the same thing happen at work. They want to be consulted, and they want to be consulted on their third day of work and their third week of work— not wait until their third year of work to be asked for their opinions. So, make sure to involve and include them in most of the plans you have in the business.

Portrait Of Apprentice Engineer In Factory Smiling At Camera

All that being said, as a leader, it’s really important for you to work on both your mindset and your skillset. If you are thinking in the back of your mind that younger workers are lazy and just aren’t willing to work hard and do a good job, it’s going to affect your capability to lead them productively and positively. Work on that mindset because there are lots of young folks who still want to work hard. In fact, many millennials and Gen Z don’t like the label we‘ve given them: that they’re lazy. Remember, your parents and grandparents may have even thought that you were lazy compared to their work ethic and work conditions.

So, let’s adapt, because we want to become employers of choice. That means learning how to motivate and engage younger workers at the same time as we work with the multi-generation workforce


clean no 3:42 Greg Schinkel No no
Don’t Be An Abrasive Leader https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/dont-be-an-abrasive-leader/ Mon, 13 Jul 2020 17:15:45 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6356 Communication,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

What do you do if you’ve been told you’re an abrasive leader? How do you become less abrasive over time?

Today’s Leader Feeder is part two of a series. The first one dealt with abrasive people that you interact with. But what happens when you’re the abrasive leader yourself?

Abrasive behaviours will usually come to your attention because either your manager or the HR team has let you know people have been complaining about your abrasiveness in the way you’re dealing with them. At first, you will probably get a little defensive because you think that other people are just being overly sensitive when all you really wanted to do was get the work done.

What if there’s something to this abrasiveness? That’s something that you might need to deal with.

Let’s assume for a moment there is a basis of truth in the fact that you’re more abrasive than you need to be. The good news is you, as a leader, can work on your triggers, the things that cause you to act abrasively, and also change the way you deal with people to be more effective. It isn’t going soft to be less abrasive, it’s just becoming more constructive. Generally, by being more constructive, you’re going to improve your relationships with people at work. And quite frankly, probably outside of work as well.

I’ve got a few tips for you if you’re an abrasive leader.

The number one tip is to be prepared to explain yourself fully. Abrasive people tend to be very short and abrupt in their communication strategies. I know because even under pressure, I can get that way, and I’m not always as expressive as I should be. Being super-efficient with your words might seem to be good for productivity, but it’s not great for relationships. People cannot read your mind to understand what you are thinking, and they need you to explain things a bit more to them and perhaps be a little bit more tactful as well while you’re doing that.

When you’re told that you can be abrasive it’s not too late to fix it.
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The second tip  is to watch your tone. Communication is partly the words you use, but a lot of it has to do with your tone and body language. If you are abrasive, there is a tendency for you to be very abrupt in your tone. You might be clipped or almost to the point where you are demeaning in with the way you say things. If you could be more aware of this, you could learn to be more conversational and not accusational in your commentary. Remember, your goal is not so much to accuse people or to make them feel bad. It is to get people to do the things you want them to do in the way that you would like them to do them. You do this by being conversational, not by being punitive and negative towards them.

Angrydirector in shirt and tie and with helmet on head shouting while having unpleasant conversation

The third tip is going to be expressing gratitude. Expressing gratitude in general means that instead of being ticked off, you go into gratitude mode. This means you start thinking of all the good things that are going on in the workplace. Even if it is not quite up to your standards of expectation, you know that, generally, what you are trying to do is move people forward. You should be celebrating those gains as people are making improvements. Why not begin in gratitude? Be thankful for the things people do and for the improvements that they make. This will yield great results in your work life, and also in your personal life.

When you are seen as less abrasive, you will see how much it positively impacts the work relationships you have with others. It could even affect your colleagues, your relationship with your manager and definitely the relationship with your team members.

clean no 4:15 Greg Schinkel No no
Dealing With Fluctuating Workloads https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/dealing-with-fluctuating-workloads/ Mon, 06 Jul 2020 16:50:45 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6339 Leadership,Management,Managing Change,Manufacturing,Supervisors

How can you, as a leader deal, with the fluctuating workloads that might be impacting your team?

We know that some companies are dealing with dramatically increased production volumes, while others are dealing with a drop off in production right now. Assuming things are settling in to either slowing down or speeding up, how does that impact you as a leader? How can you help your team respond?

First, let’s look at work slowing down. If production volumes are dropping off or your customers aren’t placing as many orders, and it’s anticipated to stay that way, there are a few things you can do with your team.

First, you need to adjust the people and the resources to match the level of orders you are getting in. I know it seems like the right thing to do is to keep everyone fully staffed, but unfortunately that hurts your company’s profitability, which impacts its ability to buy new equipment, invest in capital, and it also impacts your long-term success.

No company can afford to keep staffing too high versus the amount of workload that it has. If the slowdown is only temporary, you might not want to lose some of the talent you have on your team. If this is the case, look for opportunities to assign people to other tasks. Maybe not specifically tasks that generate value in terms of end customers, but certainly the tasks like maintenance (painting, cleaning up or reorganizing), or maybe even Kaizen, or continuous improvement projects, designed to make the project and your department even more efficient.

Now, if it’s more permanent, then you have to be aware, if you don’t choose to downsize or restructure your team, your team’s will have a tendency to slow down to ensure the workload fills the time that’s available. You might not even notice it. I know I’ve been fooled in the past with some of my staff still looking busy, even if sales had softened or dropped many years ago. So, don’t be fooled. Your team will probably start to slow down in order to avoid making it obvious you are overstaffed. As a leader, part of your job is to make sure you have the right amount of labor for the amount of work your team has ahead of it.

Now, let’s look at a more positive perspective, that is when production volumes are increasing. We know some of our customers are actually ramping up and it’s expected to continue that way. What a good problem to have.

Keep your team ready to respond to any pace of work.
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To start, you may be faced with the reality that you might need to add new team members, and you want to do it the right way. For example, sometimes when companies get so busy, they hire so rapidly they don’t pre-qualify the team members, and then they deal with a lot of employee issues, unnecessary conflict and motivation problems later on.  Taking the time to go through the screening process may be your time to pick from a labor force where you have more choices. Taking your time to pick people the right way, and of course, get them up to speed the right way will be beneficial.

You should also keep testing the limits. As you’re increasing production, look for ways your company can be even more prosperous by finding ways to do more with less. Sometimes it’s actually better to run a little short-handed as you’re ramping up to see what people are actually capable of. If you do that, you might set a new benchmark for performance. This increased profitability helps your company’s longevity, and helps you afford capital equipment investments going forward.

An industrial woman engineer with headset in a factory, working. Copy space.

Also, this is a great opportunity, if you’re ramping up, to cross-train your team for flexibility. The reality for many companies is demand will fluctuate depending on the product line and the time of year. What if your team was so well cross-trained that you could just move them where the work needs them the most and take them away from where it doesn’t need them as much? That would give you tremendous advantages as a company and for you as a leader.

If you can master the art of speeding up when demand increases, and the art of slowing down and adjusting your resources to match the customer orders you’re receiving, this is a tremendous skill to have as a leader.

clean no 5:01 Greg Schinkel No no
Managing Abrasive Team Members https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/managing-abrasive-team-members/ Mon, 29 Jun 2020 15:02:23 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6320 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Supervisors

How do you deal with the abrasive personalities that you interact with every day as a leader?

One of our most popular and most requested topics is how to deal with abrasive people.

These abrasive personalities could be your employees who report to you, or they could be your colleagues you interact with, or they could even be your manager or your supervisor. Whoever you are interacting with, how you deal with them is similar in nature.

The first thing to understand is that abrasive personalities or abrasive people don’t think they are abrasive. They just think they are overly direct and get to the point and don’t beat around the bush.

If you confront them and say, “Hey, I have to talk to you about being abrasive,” they are going to say, “I don’t know what your problem is. You are just overly sensitive.” That being said, I do have a few tips for you on how to deal with the abrasive people in your sphere of influence.

Being a great leader means knowing how to lead many types of people.
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Number one is, focus on tasks and actions. These are not people who would like to talk about feelings because they think it’s just all messy. Rather focus on the job that needs to get done and its specific tasks. In other words, be task-oriented when speaking to these people.

The second tip is to focus on the facts. Abrasive people don’t think of anything except the evidence, the data, and the information and what it tells them. Of course, there are lots of ways to interpret data and information, but an abrasive person appreciates seeing something in black and white. Those are the things that they can get their head around.

Two men engineer talking in modern factory. Production line machine and setting it for work.

The third tip is, let them be able to change their mind. Abrasive people don’t like to lose and don’t want to admit they were wrong to begin with. So, you’ve got to give them a chance to change their mind. That means not boxing them into a corner where they have to lash out at you but instead give them some time to process things and come to your way of thinking. It will be more successful for you to let them do that.

If you are dealing with abrasive people, and they are your employees, that is you are their supervisor or their leader, then you’re going to have to deal with this as a behavior issue. You are still going to use the same approaches, but this time you’re going to be very clear about their behavior currently versus what you would like to see happen. That way you can help them modify their behavior to meet your expectations and to reduce the conflicts they have with others.

This is the first of a two-part series. In the next Leader Feeder, we will be looking at how to deal with what to do if you are accused of being an abrasive leader, and how do you change your own behavior?


clean no 3:08 Greg Schinkel No no
Are You Too Nice? https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/are-you-too-nice/ Mon, 22 Jun 2020 16:30:54 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6300 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,problem solving,Supervisors

Can a leader be too nice?

Are you trying to be so nice and friendly with your team that you are actually hurting your perceptions of leadership effectiveness with them and probably not achieving anywhere near what you could be with your team?

The reality is many frontline leaders struggle with how friendly they should be with their team. 

Should you be best buddies and head out for drinks after work every day? Certainly, some leaders do that, and they can do so without compromising performance, but many leaders find it a struggle when they have to complete boss, management, or leader activities with a person who is also close friends with them. Of course, when everything is going well, it’s probably not a big issue. Where the true test lies is when you have to deliver negative news.

Here are a few tips to help you manage this issue of how friendly you should be. 

First, be friendly, but not friends. I think most leaders find, especially as you go to higher levels of leadership positions, that it’s harder to maintain those close friendships with the people you are responsible for. Usually, that is because situations will emerge in your organization or your company where you have to do some tough things like administer progressive discipline or maybe go through downsizing or restructuring. That can be tough when you are actually friends with the people you have to talk to about those difficult decisions and situations.

Being super friendly with your team has its downsides.
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The other tip I have is to be aware of avoidance. The true test of whether your friendship is impacting your leadership is whether you actually find yourself standing there thinking, “I don’t want to have this talk with so-and-so because we’re good buddies, and we have a fishing trip coming up on the weekend.” When you catch yourself as a leader starting to decide to put things off instead of confronting them with your team, that is probably a sign your friendship is impacting your leadership ability. Remember, your primary job, the job that you get paid for is being a leader.

friendly leader with team member

The final tip I have is to be firm, fair and consistent. If your team knows what to expect from you, whether they are friends with you or not, they will see you as the kind of leader that is always consistent. In other words, every time something happens, you tend to respond in a way they would expect. Some leaders pride themselves on keeping people guessing how they might respond, but just think about how difficult that is as a human being when you don’t know what kind of reaction you are going to get from your leader.

Keep these points in mind so you too can balance this issue of friendship and leadership.

clean no 3:48 Greg Schinkel No no
Cross Training For A More Capable Team https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/cross-training-for-a-more-capable-team/ Mon, 15 Jun 2020 16:29:16 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6290 engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors,Team,Training

How can you cross train your team to deepen your bench strength?

You would think cross training is something most of us would embrace naturally. After all, wouldn’t it be great if so many members of your team could easily do the jobs of other team members? That is especially true when you have attendance issues where people have not shown up for work, or you have to run shorthanded. If you had more people who could do more of the critical jobs, then you would be able to establish production even during the times when you are shorthanded.

So how can you ensure your team is capable of handling all the key jobs?

Keep in mind I am recording this during the COVID-19 period where your team is probably being put through more of a test than ever before.

Some are speeding up and having to meet higher than ever production demands while others are downsizing and slowing down to deal with reduced needs or a drop in business. Either way, your team needs to be able to flex and flow to the work required. If they are able to do that then they are basically the most flexible team you could have in helping you achieve your production targets.

When you are shorthanded, it might seem impossible to keep up with production, but what are some of the most crucial jobs?

Build a team capable of being flexible when the unexpected happens.
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In fact, that becomes my first suggestion for your leadership team, identify what the most crucial jobs are in your department. Where is it critical you have more people to be trained?

Then ask yourself, if you had to decide who on your team should be cross trained on those jobs, who would you select? You can usually keep track of who on your team is qualified in which jobs, and this would make it easy to identify who should be cross trained next on a particular job or task.

The next question you have to ask is, how are you going to do the cross training? This is a real challenge for many supervisors and leaders, because when you think about it, most of the time you’re running fairly tight on labor. You don’t have a lot of extra people around. So to double them up for training purposes can be a bit of a challenge. And of course, if you are in a senior management role or a middle management role, you might be saying, “Hey, how can I actually justify putting some extra labor on just to do the cross training that I might not need?”

That is the wrong way to look at it because if you have ever had production disrupted because you didn’t have enough people qualified to run the machines, then you would know doing the cross training can pay off in the long run. Avoiding that one extra day of production loss because other team are notable to run the machine could easily pay for the extra labor of doing the cross training. Be innovative, think through what are the ways you could do it.

Busy Interior Of Engineering Workshop With Workers

Another suggestion is, recognize that sometimes downtime comes to you unexpectedly. A machine could break down, either up process from yours or maybe downstream and you are told, “Hey, you have to stop production.” What if you had a cross training ready to go, so at that very moment, you could take advantage of the 15, 30 minutes or two hours of downtime to go ahead and requalify one of the people on your team to do a job you are lacking in flexibility.

Work at it systematically. It’s not something you have to fix in one shot.

Make that a business practice and you will find that you can get more of your team cross trained and as they are, it will increase your flexibility as a leader. It will help people deal with not only the COVID-19 situation, but just become more capable in general.

clean no 4:15 Greg Schinkel No no
How To Get Your Team To Do More https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/how-to-get-your-team-to-do-more/ Mon, 08 Jun 2020 17:14:36 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6276 engaging employees,Leadership,Management,problem solving,Supervisors

Can you push your team to do more?

Now is a great time to think about how you can push your team to an even greater level of performance than they are able to achieve right now.

In this current COVID-19 situation, which is when we are actually taping this segment,  it is amazing how many teams have been able to adapt and implement new procedures and new policies quickly? What if you could harness even a fraction of that kind of progress in “normal times.”

The challenge for any leader and quite frankly any human being is to determine what others truly capable of? For most of us, we never reach our full potential and this could be true of your work team as well. You may have taken the current performance and assume this is the best your team can do.

Here are a few tips for you on how to excel your team past their current levels of performance, to even greater heights.

Tip number one, challenge the team to see what is possible. Your team may have established a current threshold in terms of what’s possible and it might be less than what they are actually capable of. Ask them, what is possible, “Guys, we have achieved this level. What else could we do?”

Motivate your team to constantly strive for more.
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The second tip is to measure the momentum. If you keep track of your team’s performance, you might be shocked and surprised to see they are actually able to hit higher and higher thresholds as they go along. Why not benchmark some of these output numbers to show your team what they are actually capable of doing? You might be surprised yourself, and certainly they might, when they see the level of performance they are capable of hitting.

steel industry with two metal workers, engineers, seen through giant gear shafts

The last tip I have is to, celebrate the new milestones. Every time you reach a new plateau of performance, it acts as a base camp for your team to go even higher from there. So why not celebrate that new plateau and then of course, go back to asking what else is possible.

Even though some people may get cynical about continuous improvement and believe nothing we do is good enough, the reality is we all have to get better every day in order to achieve greater performance, both in looking after the customer and also beating the competition.


clean no 2:45 Greg Schinkel No no
Preparing For The End Of A Crisis https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/preparing-for-the-end-of-a-crisis/ Mon, 01 Jun 2020 16:13:38 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6265 Communication,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

How can you, as a leader, start to lay the plans for your post crisis recovery?

It’s time to think more positively about what you’re going to do as a leader to position your team and your organization for success post crisis.

Eventually we’re going to get through the current situation and at that point, your team is going to encounter new types of stress and pressure. It might be from reopening your organization if you’ve been shut down or it might be from adjusting to different workloads and activities going forward.

Having a game plan in mind for the post crisis period can help. Here are a few tips to capitalize on the recovery period your team will likely enter into.

Tip number one is to implement changes as you ramp back up. If your operations have slowed down somewhat, and you’re going to be ramping them up, now is a great time to implement some of the continuous improvement and operational improvements you have in front of you. In fact, you don’t have to do things the same way you did before. This is a great time to change things up and see if it can make your department run smoother, more efficiently and more productively.

Be prepared to lead your team after a crisis.
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The second tip is to empower your team to take advantage of their current capabilities and to build new capabilities. The reality in the pre-crisis timeframe is many leaders still shouldered most of the responsibilities for making decisions, solving problems and being experts in the technical aspects of their production lines. Now is a great time to encourage your team to become more empowered and more accountable for improvements on the line and its operation.

Your teams could surprise you with their level of capability to learn how to troubleshoot problems, answer their own questions, solve their own problems, and overall increase the efficiency and productivity of the line. So why not empower them more as you ramp back up in a post-crisis environment?

Worker man in hardhat and safety vest holding laptop and two-way radio, Foreman control loading containers box from cargo

The third tip is to get ready for a different type of stress. The reality is there’s good stress and bad stress. If your organization has to go through some shrinking, that’s going to be a negative stress. If it’s in a growth mode, which keeping in mind, even if operations have ground to a halt, they will be starting to pick up again and you’ll have a different type of stress as the business starts to grow again, it’s a good and positive type of stress. You want to be capable and ready as a leader to deal with that.

You of course can do that by using some of the stress resiliency content that my colleague, Brad Coulbeck, and I put together for you. It’s in a previous episode of Leader Feeder, and we’ve also got some great tools and resources your organization can purchase on how to become more resilient and perform better under pressure.

Using these tips will help both your team and your own leadership journey as we move from having a crisis into the eventual growth and recovery phase.

clean no 5:07 Greg Schinkel No no
Staying Connected With Your Team https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/staying-connected-with-your-team/ Mon, 25 May 2020 19:21:56 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6245 Communication,Leadership,Management,Managing Change,Manufacturing

It’s important to stay connected with your team as a leader, especially in uncertain times.

Leaders have the tendency to become less supportive of their team in times of stress, when in fact they need to be even more supportive. When people are under stress, they have some interesting human behaviors and many people, instead of seeking others to help them out or to support them, will have a tendency to retreat into themselves.

Leaders might find themselves not interacting with their team, either in a production environment or in an online environment if your team is working remotely. That is of course the opposite of what needs to happen because it’s in times of stress and uncertainty your team needs even more support from you.

Here are a few tips on how you can stay connected with your team to provide them with the level of support they need.

First, check-in with your team as a group and in one-on-ones on a frequent basis. Daily might be the right frequency depending on the cadence or the momentum of your workflow. It might be you only need to do it every couple of days, but your team needs to hear from you both as a group and also one-on-one check-ins to make sure they’re doing okay in the new reality and with some of the stresses that are out there.

No matter the distance or obstacles, maintain the connection with your team.
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The second tip is to keep your team informed, about factual information you know with certainty as opposed to the uncertain information that we have a lot of right now, especially until things become more clear. Anything you can tell them about factual information in terms of your company, its customers, its suppliers, things that might impact their work hours or their shifts or their assignments, anything like that, your team will cherish you if you’re able to keep them in the loop on those aspects of communication.

manufacturing team

The third tip is to remember you have to ask for their ideas, their insights, and their recommendations. Remember, your team is a treasure trove of information and anytime you’re trying to solve problems on your own, you’re going to limit yourself to your own perspectives and experience. Even if you are seasoned, experienced, and knowledgeable, asking your team for their insights and recommendations can be helpful not only in getting them engaged in the work that has to happen, but they might surprise you with some creative information and options you hadn’t considered.

By staying connected with your team, you can keep them as motivated as possible even during challenging times and you can be more effective as a leader.

clean no 4:08 Greg Schinkel No no
Motivate Others By Motivating Yourself https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/motivate-others-by-motivating-yourself/ Tue, 19 May 2020 17:03:19 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6224 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

Why do you as a leader need to motivate yourself in order to motivate others?

Taking care of yourself and focusing on self-care is important as a leader so you can be motivated enough to engage your team. The reality is, just like everyone else, leaders can become demotivated, frustrated, or even worried and anxious over time. In a previous Leader Feeder, we talked about our stress resiliency program in helping you manage your stress and be able to perform under pressure. Today let’s talk specifically about how you can stay motivated and get your mojo back so that you can be an effective leader.

Tip number one is to track your accomplishments. Sometimes in this environment, it might be difficult to even acknowledge you have accomplishments, but you do. You are making gains every day, and instead of looking at the past with nostalgia for what used to be, you need to be looking at the accomplishments you and your team are making every day. It is important to acknowledge you have coped with what’s happening and led your team effectively through it.

Your team needs you to be motivated to keep them on track.
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The second tip is to continue to grow your capabilities. This is an excellent time to work on your own capabilities and become an even better leader moving forward. Now is a great time to get better at some of the things that will make you more effective, not only in the current crisis and uncertainty but also in the long run in terms of your overall leadership effectiveness.

Portrait Industrial engineer and worker woman wearing safety uniform and safe helmet posing smile for work and control machines with industry factory background.

The third tip is to connect with colleagues. This is a time when many people tend to retreat into themselves, when what they really need to do is to reach out and connect with colleagues. Your colleagues, which could be fellow leaders, supervisors and managers inside your organization or they may be people you know through your industry group or community, can be helpful to you in sharing some different perspectives and ideas that can not only help you increase your leadership effectiveness, but motivate you to put some of those new ideas into action.

By relating to your own level of motivation, you can become even more effective in motivating and engaging your team.


clean no 4:31 Greg Schinkel No no
Keeping Focus in Uncertain Times https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/keeping-focus-in-uncertain-times/ Mon, 11 May 2020 19:31:23 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6217 Leadership,Management,Managing Change,Manufacturing,problem solving,Supervisors

How can you as the leader retain your level of confidence even in challenging times?

The reality is that when you’re under stress and in uncertain times, it can test the resolve of many leaders to remain confident. Both about the short-term viability of the production environment, and the long-term success of the enterprise.

Here are a few tips to help you as a leader, even in stressful times, retain your mojo, your ability to get things done.

The first tip is to focus on what you can control. In most cases, this is going to be the next 24 hours ahead of you. As you focus on the day ahead, or the production shift ahead of you, it will keep you from worrying too much about the longer-term future that might be more uncertain than the next day ahead of you. Focus on what you can control. It will help you retain your confidence level.

The second tip is to be positive and focus on the gains being made, as opposed to the losses. It’s very easy to be in a victim mindset where you start thinking about how good things used to be instead of the small incremental gains you’re likely to see even during difficult times, especially as things  start to turn around.

And the third tip is to keep moving forward. If you keep moving forward, you will not always be thinking about the past. This is the new reality; a new phrase we’re using. When you keep moving forward, you’ll be more successful in helping your department, your team, and your whole company get to the next level in this new reality.

When you keep moving forward, you'll be more successful in helping your department, your team, and your whole company get to the next level in this new reality.
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Currently live, in person training can be a bit of a challenge, both in terms of the COVID-19 situation, but also just in general with economic conditions, and social distancing which might go on for several months. As a result, we’ve launched several new initiatives which may help you and your leadership team keep your confidence level and your mojo moving forward.

Colleagues working together in factory. Arhitects and worker working in factory.

The first initiative is called Leader Boost. Leader Boost simply means  we can do either a one-on-one session for one of your key leaders, or we can do a Leader Boost session for your entire leadership team at one of their regular meetings. That could be as little as 15 or 20 minutes where we present some ideas, or show you how to take some of the ideas your team may have already learned from us and look at how to apply it in the new reality. Those little booster sessions are designed to get your leadership team staying positive and motivated moving forward.

The second initiative is Stress Resilience. You may have seen some information come out that my colleague Brad Coulbeck and I did with two videos on stress. They’re recorded, they’re ready to go and you could share them throughout your organization. We have several different pricing tiers depending on how big your organization is. And of course, if you want the free version, you just have to go to our blog, and you’ll get a mini version that’s for free. You can license this Stress Resilience workshop and put it out to your organization to help everybody become more resilient, currently and going forward.

The last thing that I want to mention is we’re launching several virtual and remote instruction options. Our instructors can present to your group without actually physically having to be present. Our instructors present live via video and in your team classroom you can have your local HR, training , or operations person lead the team through activities and exercises.

Your team will still receive the very high-level learning experience they’ve been used to. The advantage about coming in remotely is we don’t have to get on an airplane and travel to come to see you, so as a result we can do those sessions in much smaller increments. In a 90 minute to two-hour session, we can deliver one module, have your team receive the learning, and then spread out the training over a period of time.

These remote instructions with local facilitation options are available as one option, and we are also launching several new virtual only options. With this option, everyone would have their own computer screen and interact with us as we teach them the leadership skills they need.

It starts with a conversation like most things. And if we can help you at all, please feel free to reach out to us. Hang in there and you’ll be ready for the challenges that come ahead in your leadership journey.


clean no 4:53 Greg Schinkel No no
Get More Engagement From Your Team https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/get-more-engagement-from-your-team/ Mon, 04 May 2020 16:07:20 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6199 Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors,Teamwork

How do you as a leader set goals that maximize employee engagement?

How high should you set goals so your team is the most motivated to achieve them?

In the book Switch, How to Change Things when Change is Hard, written by Chip and Dan Heath, they tell the story of one of their friends who was running a full-service car wash. Their friend was complaining because he had just launched a new promotion and it wasn’t taking off. Each time a customer got a car wash they would stamp the customer’s card, and after eight washes, the ninth one was free.

Chip and Dan, who were writing the book, thought maybe their friend should try something a little different. Why not print a 10-blank card, but this time when you hand it to the customer, stamp it three times and give it to them? The illusion that is created is the customer is closer to getting the free car wash. I know your math skills are good enough to figure out you still have to pay for seven more washes to get the free one, but it turns out psychologically it helped people feel they were getting closer to the end destination.

manufacturing team

You might be thinking, why wouldn’t he just print a 50-blank card and stamp it 43 times or a 20-bank blank card and stamp it 13 times? First of all, that’s a lot of stamping. But it turns out that if you make the goal too easy, it also doesn’t motivate.

Get your team involved by setting goals that are just right.
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Let’s review what the lesson is here:

If the goals for your team are too high, they’ll feel it’s unachievable and won’t try.

On the other hand, if the goals are too easy to obtain, they still won’t put in the effort.

As a leader, you should be setting the goals just right – not too difficult, and not too easy either.

When your team sees the goal, they should have a sense of, “We’ve got a shot at hitting it, but it’s not a slam dunk.” That’s where the sweet spot is, where motivation is maximized.

Setting goals that hit that sweet spot, will get the most engagement from your team.

clean no 4:26 Greg Schinkel No no
Develop Better Leadership Habits https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/develop-better-leadership-habits/ Mon, 27 Apr 2020 16:11:57 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6159 Leadership,Management,Managing Change,Manufacturing,Supervisors

How can you, as a leader, focus on building your leadership habits even though you’re busy taking care of your day to day activities?

Who hasn’t gone to a training session or a conference and written down a ton of ideas, only to come back and several weeks later look back and say, “Man, I really should have done more with what I learned there”?

What we’ve learned is most people go through their entire day in a series of habits, things you just do automatically from the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to sleep at night. Changing those habits requires conscious thought but you can’t just have a wish list.

You need to actually figure out how to integrate new behaviors into your regular flow.

The way you can do that is by having a trigger and the trigger would be something that happens during the day, where instead of doing it the current way you’re doing it, you decide to substitute a different approach and then see how it works.

For example, let’s say you went to a session and you learned about listening skills and you wanted to become a better listener. You might decide your biggest problem in listening is that you don’t pay full attention to the person when they’re talking. So, you’d write your behavior change habit like this:

“When somebody comes into my office, instead of trying to do my emails while I’m trying to listen to them, I’m going to stop, turn and face them directly and pay full attention while they’re speaking.” Doing that can make you a better listener.

One of the key topics in our training program is the importance of explaining why. When you ask your team to do things, especially things they don’t like doing, such as changing jobs or working in another department,you might write down in our course, “I’m going to be sure to explain why”, but then you go through your daily routines and you still haven’t changed anything.

Improve your habits with these simple exercises.
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The way you’d write your habit trigger would be, when I assign a task to somebody that’s different from what they thought they were going to do that day, instead of telling them to just do this other job, I’m going to take a minute and explain the reason why I need them to change jobs. That reason could be they’re shorthanded in the other department, you’re the best person to do that job, or some other meaningful reason. It turns out, by the way, the reason itself is less important than simply offering a reason.

Mechanical and electrical plant rooms are are a highly sophisticated centers for efficiently controlling heating and cooling of modern buildings

Those are two examples with listening and explaining why, but you could apply this to so many of your leadership practices. When you know you need to change to be more effective, you’ve got to figure out what is the triggering event where you can substitute a new behavior for the old. When you’ve done that, you can work continuously on your leadership habits.

Our normal recommendation is to work on one leadership habit for 30 days. That way it will become automatic and you won’t have to think about it in the future. At the end of 30 days, you determine what’s the next habit you want to implement. By doing that, you can increase your leadership effectiveness extraordinarily even over the course of just several months.

Now as a Leader Feeder instructor to you on these episodes, I could really use your help. I could use your help in offering your ratings or your commentary. I could even use your questions to help me design future Leader Feeder episodes.

However you want to reach out to me, either by email at info@uniquedevelopment.com or by visiting uniquedevelopment.com and going to our contact page.

clean no 3:55 Greg Schinkel No no
How To Hire Faster https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/how-to-hire-faster/ Mon, 20 Apr 2020 19:01:28 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6134 Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,problem solving,Supervisors

How can you add to your team rapidly and accelerate your hiring process, when business is booming because of the crisis or uncertainty out there?

Even though a lot of businesses have had to cut back during this crisis, we’ve actually seen a number of companies having to rapidly scale up because the demand for their products and services is growing rapidly.

What do you do when you need to hire a lot of team members quickly to your team? Do you sacrifice all of your hiring standards just to make sure you have enough bodies to get the work done?

The reality is the answer’s probably somewhere in between. You could go to temporary agencies and contract firms because inevitably there will be people who are looking for work. That may be your first avenue to add people fairly quickly to your workforce.

If you’re going to be hiring on your own, though, I do have some suggestions for you. Remember the hiring process and the selection process is just like any other process. There are waiting times, duplicated steps, and things that could be done simultaneously to accelerate the process.

Why not take a look at your hiring process and see how can things be done at the same time, simultaneously, so you can get through your candidates quicker and bring the good ones on board faster?

By combining certain steps, you will have accelerated the process to get those talented people on board to help you out quicker. Inevitably though, by accelerating the process, you may also be increasing your risk of making a bad hiring decision.

How do you mitigate that risk?

You could do it through the temporary agencies or you can put people on shorter term contracts so they are basically on a trial basis with your firm. That allows you to try them out in real time, to see who can pick up the job quickly and keep up with your production requirements.

When you need to hire a lot of people fast, you have a few options.
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Reducing your risk by adding people on a contract basis, means you’ll have the flexibility to make those staffing decisions further down the road when the crisis surge abates. Bringing on a whole lot of people quickly will also add to your need to train people on certain job tasks.

We recommend to our customers who need to add a lot of people in a short amount of time, to consider having dedicated trainers. I know that might be difficult when you’re already struggling to keep up with production. Having people who are dedicated to getting those new employees up to speed quickly, can really help boost their productivity and reduce things like errors and wasted effort that might happen as you add new people to your business.

Inspection in Plant Workshop

As a leader, when you’re adding a whole lot of people to your organization, realize those people are going to need some of your attention. You need to pay attention to how they’re performing, how quickly they’re coming up to speed with your production requirements but also pay attention to them as human beings. That means welcoming them to the team, letting them know what’s going on around them, keeping them in the loop, as opposed to thinking of them as just a number in your production system.

By doing some of those things; reducing your risk, short circuiting, or trying to streamline your hiring process and making sure you train people effectively and pay attention to them this can help you add people to your team rapidly.


clean no 3:50 Greg Schinkel No no
Leading A Virtual Team https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/leading-a-virtual-team/ Mon, 13 Apr 2020 17:59:17 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6112 Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,problem solving,Supervisors

How can you as a leader lead a virtual team?

There are special challenges to leading a virtual team and ways that you, as a leader can be more effective with these challenges.

The first thing to realize is that trust often erodes with distance, so the fact you’re not around those people and talking to them as often can sometimes make them distrust one another on the team or even for you as the leader. Recognize that when the team isn’t together all the time, they’re going to be missing context and understanding of what each team member is doing and the contributions they’re making.

You’ll also notice your distant teams may drift into an us versus them mindset. They will often start to build silos that are even larger than normal since they can’t see other members of the team or other departments they might normally interact with. You’ll have to do some extra work to manage the priorities and communication on your team so the team members understand what each other is doing and what other departments might be doing. That will help lower the silo walls and diminish that us versus them mentality.

Leading at a distance comes with its challenges, learn how to manage them.
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You’re going to need to go out of your way to have check-ins with them because you won’t see your team members on a regular basis. That might include a briefing you send first thing in the morning by email and then touching base with them during a check-in conversation that you can do either by video conference or by telephone.

Keeping your team intact, understanding what’s going on, and having a good relationship with them as the leader can help them navigate the challenges of being a virtual team member.

virtual manufacturing work

Teams thrive on having a clear common goal and when you’re together, that’s easy to communicate, but when everyone is spread out, you’re going to have to go above and beyond the call to clarify what the team’s common goal is, what the challenges might be, and what needs to get done to improve performance.

When the team does perform, you need to highlight that they are achieving the team’s goal. By keeping everyone on the same page and understanding the importance of what they’re doing and how that collaboration adds value, you will keep them on the same page as a team.

With regular check-ins, clarifying goals, and making sure you keep people informed so they don’t slip into an us versus them mindset, can help you really manage those virtual teams more effectively.

clean no 2:59 Greg Schinkel No no
Leading During A Crisis https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/leading-during-a-crisis/ Mon, 06 Apr 2020 16:29:13 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6091 Communication,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

How should you as a leader lead during a crisis?

How you lead your team through a crisis is definitely different compared with normal times.

First of all, recognize that even though part of your role as a leader is to act as if nothing else has changed, that probably won’t fit in times of deep uncertainty like we’re facing right now. Recognize people aren’t going to behave exactly as you’re used to, it can help you adapt to their new behaviors.

Secondly, recognize that productivity will be reduced. It’s tough during stressful times, even if it’s not directly affecting your operations, people will have their minds preoccupied by other things. They won’t be as productive as they might be in normal times. If you come off as too harsh talking to them about that productivity issue, it just won’t resonate with them and they’ll think you don’t care. I’m not saying you have to lower the standards completely, but you might want to take into account people won’t be as productive as they normally are.

You may be having what I call “squirrel brain”, it’s tough to concentrate and focus, and therefore people might not be following your instructions as well as they normally do. You’ll catch yourself having to repeat yourself and clarify that they actually did hear you and are able to comply with your instructions.

When things aren’t “business as usual”, you need to lead differently.
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Another thing to expect, is that people are going to be more emotional than usual. Even little things that normally wouldn’t set them off might make them visibly upset. Remember, things could be happening at home different from what’s going on at work, so even if work isn’t particularly stressful, all the other uncertainty in the news could make them feel emotional.

When someone has an emotional outburst, you should first listen with empathy to make sure you understand their point of view and where they’re coming from. Then maybe cut them a little bit of a break and only speak up and say something if those emotional outbursts get really, really out of hand.

Male and Female Industrial Engineers in Hard Hats Discuss New Project while Using Tablet Computer. They're Making Calculated Engineering Decisions.They Work at the Heavy Industry Manufacturing Factory.

The last thing to realize during a crisis is that communication can really break down. We’ve already talked about the fact that listening suffers. People aren’t going to be paying attention to your messages, that includes by email, by text, or face-to-face. Be prepared to repeat yourself and clarify what other people are really saying to you because your own little squirrel brain might be causing you to not be able to listen as well as you’d like.

These are just a few examples of what you should do as a leader to focus during times of crisis. Having regular routines is important, and at the same time recognize people might need a little bit of slack when it comes to their behaviors at work.

clean no 3:39 Greg Schinkel No no
Maintain Stress Resilience During a Crisis https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/maintain-stress-resilience-during-a-crisis/ Mon, 30 Mar 2020 16:17:03 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6055 hr,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

Today, we’re going to be talking about stress-resiliency.

In the video and podcast related to this week’s episode, you’ll see and hear the interview I did with stress resilience expert Brad Coulbeck. Brad is the author of the book The Resilient Mind: How to Achieve Success by Building Mental and Emotional Toughness.

Here are the most significant tips that Brad shared about how to maintain or increase your stress resilience to maintain performance under pressure. While many of you might be seeing your work slow or shut down related to the Coronavirus pandemic, others are struggling to keep up with production and even adding people to keep up with market demand.

Brad and I created a longer one-hour recorded program for leaders and a program for employees on how to remain resilient. We’ll have it up on our website soon but for now, send us an email at info@uniquedevelopment.com for more info.

From the Harvard Business Review: “More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails.” We know resilience is one of the most important factors in success in business and in any other aspect of life.

There are certain factors, characteristics, traits, and behaviors that resilient people have that non-resilient people don’t have. The more you can apply these factors in your life, the more you bolster your resilience, and the more you’re able to deal with adversity.

Resilience Factor: Maintain Routines

Some research out of Israel showed that people who maintained routines, even during extreme adversity like during the second Intifada and during rocket attacks, had lower levels of PTSD and better outcomes than people that practiced avoidance behaviors.

So even during COVID-19, I know many people have to work from home, but the more you can maintain your fitness routines and work routines, the better the outcome is going to be and the less stress you’re going to feel.

For leaders, if your work place is still working, you can use routines to help your team keep their stress levels down because when they’re busy doing things, it helps.

Remember that “Action alleviates anxiety.” Research shows that the more you can take action on problems, on whatever challenges you’re facing, it reduces anxiety and stress.

Learn from a resiliency expert on how to manage stress.
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Resilience Factor: Optimism

Being realistically optimistic is a factor that makes people more resilient as opposed to being pessimistic. It’s not a pollyanna-type of optimism where you think everything is going to be fine and you don’t really look at the reality of the situation.

During World War II, when Winston Churchill became prime minister, he gave a couple of speeches where he talked about the dark days ahead, where he talked about many, many long months of struggle and suffering. He talked about the terror they would face, but he would always talk about the victory that they would achieve in the end and how it would be their finest hour. He accepted the reality of the situation, which gave him credibility as a leader, but also gave people optimism because he talked about the victory that they would achieve in the end.

For you as a leader, be a short term realist and remain a long-term optimist. Realize that in the long term, human beings are resilient.

When you as the leader are too much of a downer, it sends a negative message to your people and only adds to their stress and your own.

Resiliency Factor: Calm is Contagious

As the leader, if you’re running around with your hair on fire, if you’re getting upset yelling at people, it sets the tone for everybody else. When people are really stressed and have a lot of anxiety, they don’t perform well.

It’s important, for a leader especially, to remain calm. Even if you have some certainty yourself about how this is going to turn out, you have to maintain that calm. Your words and actions should say, “Yeah, I’ve got this. I’ve done this before. I’ve been through similar things. We’ve got this.” Just maintain that, even if it’s just a façade, maintain that façade of calmness for the benefit of everybody around you because it is contagious. Your attitude will affect everybody else.

Staying calm is important as a leader because you are leading by example. This is just one aspect of that, being calm.

How Stress and Performance are Related

The Yerkes-Dodson Law shows the relationship between performance and stress. If you have zero stress, you’re not going to perform your best. As your stress increases, and demands are placed on you either by somebody else or yourself, your performance actually goes up. There’s a sweet spot at the top of the apex and that’s where you’re performing at your best, you’re really in the zone, but then as stress increases even more, you can hit a point of overwhelm and burnout and then your performance drops off again.

As you learn more and more resiliency factors and apply them in your life, you’ll have the ability to deal with a higher stress load, more demands, more adversity, more challenge, and still remain in that sweet spot of peak performance.

stressed worker

Recorded Programs for Your Leaders and Your Team

Even though we shared a few examples today, Brad and I recorded two programs, one for leaders and one for employees. They are available now and will be up on our website soon. In the meantime, please email us at info@uniquedevelopment.com and we’ll send you the information.

In the longer programs we go through a dozen factors that to be more resilient, including some surprising information about how caffeine and alcohol in small quantities are helpful, but in large quantities, decrease your resilience.

We’ll be covering: Having a sense of humor (appropriate of course), live in the now, finding meaning, optimism, and stress inoculation – how you get tougher over time in dealing with stress.

We’ll go into some specifics on dealing with financial pressures if you or your team are facing those, and that calm is contagious and finally, how  you can support your team when they’re stressed out about things.

Thanks again to Brad Coulbeck, our special guest.

clean no 13:14 Greg Schinkel No no
The Fix For Frustration And Roadblocks https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/the-fix-for-frustration-and-roadblocks/ Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:53:38 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6036 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,problem solving,Supervisors

Why should you as a leader, focus on eliminating frustrations and roadblocks for your team?

Front line supervisors should be focused on making it easier for their teams to achieve results.

Employees can get irritated when, despite their best efforts, the system seems to block them from being able to achieve the desired results. They don’t want to hear you telling them they’re not working hard enough or they’re not achieving the goals.

The reality is, there’s a lot of steps in place that sometimes make it more difficult for people to achieve the results you desire. I’ve got a few tips for you, as the leader, in order to do that.

One is be an advocate for your team. Your team can’t always leave their workstations to go and talk to quality, engineering, or the plant manager to ask for things to be changed. However, you can as their supervisor. Make sure you go to bat for them with other departments and other leaders in other departments.

Help your team perform better with a few simple steps.
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Remember some of those other departments will have different goals from you and different ways to measure those goals. As a result, they might not naturally be inclined to make the job of your team any easier. If you can explain why having a procedure or practice changed would make it easier for your team to increase their performance, you may just be able to build allies in those other teams. Your team needs you to go to bat for them and be their advocate.

The second tip is always be looking for ways to identify and eliminate waste. Even the ones that are fairly well designed and even where you’ve applied lean manufacturing principles, there’s still waste. There’s wasted steps, wasted paperwork and checklists. The customer is not going to pay for it, and it just frustrates your team to have to go through those tedious steps. It could actually be a big win-win for the customer, for your company, and for your team to identify and eliminate these wastes.

Glass,Aluminium and PVC industry workers

The third tip is to embrace continuous improvement. When you embrace continuous improvement, you’re always looking for ways to make things better for your team. You should remind them at times of what you’re doing to reduce the frustrations that are getting in the way of hitting their numbers because they might not always see it if you make those changes subtly.

Recognize your job as a leader is to remove the obstacles your team has that makes it difficult for them to hit their numbers and perform better.

clean no 4:15 Greg Schinkel No no
Put A Stop To Unwanted Chatter https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/put-a-stop-to-unwanted-chatter/ Fri, 13 Mar 2020 17:10:17 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6024 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing

What do you do when people take too much time socializing when they should be working?

It’s a tough situation because most people think a little bit of socializing is okay, it’s only when it gets carried away that it becomes a problem.

This is all based on the concept that a steady pace of work generally gets more work done than allowing idle time to consume work hours without producing anything. If people are talking while they’re working that’s okay. You just don’t want people not working while they’re talking, because that ends up actually hurting your production numbers. Idle time is really your biggest enemy from a production standpoint.

I have three tips to reduce excess socializing on your team.

The first tip is to observe and comment. When you observe and comment, what you’re really doing is you’re letting the person know you’ve noticed something.

Don’t let production suffer because of socializing.
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Let’s say you go by a group of workers who are standing around talking. By itself, it’s not a terrible thing. However, when you come back again, five, seven, eight minutes later, and they’re still standing there talking you might want to say, “Guys, we need to make sure we get back to work. We’ve got a busy day ahead.” You’re just making a comment. You’re not disciplining them. You’re observing and commenting on what you’re seeing. They might get in a little bit of a humph, but when they know all you expect them to do is to keep working, they’re going to be more successful.

The second tip is discussing the impact. Again, do this in a very conversational way. “Guys, I know you probably don’t like it when I come up to you and say, hey, we need to get back to work. I just need you to know those extra minutes we’re losing keeps us from hitting our production target. Some days we fall behind, so I’d rather us work at a steady pace. I’m not trying to be mean. I’m just trying to make sure you understand when we lose that time in production, it affects our numbers.”

workers chatting

The third tip in dealing with excess socializing is to get a commitment to change. Any time you’re disciplining an employee or commenting on something, you’re really looking for a commitment to change. If it’s something that’s persistent, you’re probably going to turn it into a conversation, and at the end of that conversation you want that person to give you a commitment that says, “Okay, I will be more self-aware of how much time I spend talking to other people and I’ll make sure I cut those conversations shorter and stay working a little bit more.” That’s all you can really ask for as a leader.

Remember, the goal isn’t to shut down socializing altogether. It’s just to make sure it’s a reasonable amount and it doesn’t jeopardize your production numbers.

clean no 3:58 Greg Schinkel No no
Get Employees To Do Jobs They Don’t Like https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/get-employees-to-do-jobs-they-dont-like/ Mon, 09 Mar 2020 15:43:10 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=6004 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,problem solving,Supervisors

How do you, as the leader, get people to do the less desirable jobs on your team?

Inevitably, there are some jobs employees prefer not to do. It’s important you rotate employees through those less desirable jobs so it doesn’t create favoritism or reverse favoritism punishment.

How can you reduce the resistance?

Give them a reason why you need them to do it. When you give a reason, it makes people less resistant.

This is a powerful, yet simple, tool to get more things done.
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Here are a few reasons you could use:

  1. You need their help. “Hey, I could really use your help on this. This is a difficult task and I know it’s not a great job, but they really could use your help back there.” That’s a great reason, and it makes the person feel important.

manufacturing plant

  1. You’re the best person for the job. “You know what? You’re the best person for the job. You’re qualified. You have the skills that are needed to do it.” Remember not to be sarcastic when you say something like that.


  1. “It’s your turn.” If you’re going to rotate people through difficult jobs, you can just remind them, “Hey, we all have to take our turn on that job. It’s not something we enjoy doing. It’s your turn, and that’s why I need you to do that.” You’re being honest and open.

When you’re assigning a difficult job, give them a reason why you need them to do it so they are less likely to resist.

clean no 2:28 Greg Schinkel No no
Dealing With Dominant Personalities https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/dealing-with-dominant-personalities/ Mon, 02 Mar 2020 17:47:26 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=5962 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,Supervisors

How can you as a front line supervisor deal with dominant personalities on your team?

There are two types of defensiveness people use to protect themselves. Passive defensive, and aggressive defensive. We’re not going to focus on passive defensive, which simply means  the person protects themself by laying low and following the rules and checking in with you.

We’re going to focus today on the aggressive folks. How do you deal with those dominant and aggressive peers, team members, and even managers?

The first tip I have for dealing with a dominant personality is to be direct. Aggressive people only understand it when you are very blunt and direct. That does not mean you have to be inflammatory. You do have to be direct, and that means not beating around the bush. Saying, “Hey, the way you spoke to me in that meeting is unacceptable and I won’t accept it any further in the future.” That’s being direct.

The dominant members of your team don’t have to be a challenge.
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The second tip for dealing with a dominant or aggressive person is use facts and evidence. Aggressive people don’t like to argue with the facts. If you present them the data you have about their behavior or the impact, such as video footage or examples, they’re going to suddenly realize they’re not going to win this battle.

The third tip I want to unfold: you need to give them the opportunity to withdraw gracefully and save face. When you use facts and evidence and it becomes apparent to them they cannot win the argument, they tend to get into a state where they’re afraid of being embarrassed. And if you’re an aggressive person who likes to show strength and dominance, you never really want to show your weak side.


As the leader, if you want them to be able to save face, give them the chance to withdraw or change their mind. A hypercompetitive person needs to win at all costs and if they can’t win, they’d rather not play. Give them an opportunity to withdraw their concern and to back down and save face.

As a supervisor or front line leader, you’re playing a long game here. It’s not about winning the little skirmishes. It’s about winning the overall battle.

clean no 3:23 Greg Schinkel No no
Can Conflict Be Beneficial? https://uniquedevelopment.com/blog/podcast/can-conflict-be-beneficial/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 20:20:38 +0000 Greg Schinkel https://uniquedevelopment.com/?post_type=podcast&p=5949 Communication,engaging employees,Leadership,Management,Manufacturing,problem solving

How can conflict increase performance?

It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that conflict is usually viewed in a negative way. After all, it can either be destructive or it could create breakthroughs in a positive way.

Remember  conflict is totally natural and normal at work. There will be disagreements over methods or goals, and there can also be conflict over values.

A little cautionary note on these three types of disagreements: conflicts over methods, goals, and values. It’s easier to resolve and reconcile conflicts around methods and goals. However, when you start disagreeing on values, it becomes really tough to get a resolution. As a leader, resist escalating something to the values level, when really it should be focused on a disagreement over methods and goals.

Be cautious about saying, “You just don’t care like I care and you just don’t believe in things like I believe in things.” This will make the conflict more and more difficult to resolve.

A good dose of healthy conflict can help your performance.
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Cautionary note aside, let’s return to how to harness the positive aspects of conflict because the energy that gets created by these disagreements can actually cause better performance.

The first tip is to invite disagreement.


Because you want different points of view so you can select the best possible answers. As a leader, it’s important that you do NOT express your opinion at the beginning of the discussion; otherwise, others are more likely to agree with you and you won’t hear how they really feel or think.

manufacturing team

The second tip for harnessing the power of positive conflict is collaboration versus compromise. Collaboration means  the objective is to get to a win-win. It’s not always easy to get to a win-win, but if you can get there, that means both people feel they’ve gotten what they needed out of the conflict and achieved the best possible outcome.

The third tip is to embrace stubborn flexibility. That means there are times when, as the leader, you need to be stubborn and there are times to be flexible. Ideally, you’re going to bounce between the two. You might want to be stubborn about going for a collaborative win-win outcome, but you might be flexible in how you get there. Leaders are going to be the most successful when they have a spirit of curiosity and experimentation.

As a leader, don’t be afraid to harness the positives of conflict to generate the best possible performance and outcomes.

clean no 4:38 Greg Schinkel No no