Monday, February 7, 2011

Small Stuff Kills

Strategy.  Goals.  Budgets.  Deadlines.  Product Launch.  As leaders we spend a tremendous amount of time planning and executing major initiatives.  Press releases are prepared, communication plans are painstakingly worked and re-worked, and huge projects are completed.  When it's all said and done we look around the room and smile at each other.  Gosh we're good!

But what about the day-to-day impact on the employees around us?

Do we take the time to ensure our messages and behaviors aren't wearing our teams out?  After all, without them we never get to the "atta-boy" and "back-slapping" that naturally comes after a successful project is wrapped up.  We don't really believe we are Super-Hero Leaders, do we? 

Rarely do team members complain about major challenges in the workplace. Actually, after facilitating many, many leadership sessions over the years, the behaviors  most employees seek in a leader seem to be:  trust, open-communication, recognition, support for work/life issues, and inspiration to do good work.  You have the power to do all these things.  

Do you say things that demotivate, deflate, or create distance from those around you?  A casual remark or off-hand comment may mean little to us, but can have a huge impact on those nearby.  Does your non-verbal communication show that you are a calm and cool leader.  Or, do you appear frantic and anxious about "how things will look" to those above you?  If you're not paying attention to these slip-ups, it's time to take a long hard look in the mirror.  (Unfortunately, sometimes I need to reach for that mirror myself.)

Understand what your team appreciates and take action.  Do something "small" for them today.  It will make a big difference tomorrow.  Now, where did I put my cape?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy


  1. Great post,and this really ties into abook I just read by Clint Swindall about employee engagement. We must not forget the people who propel our organization forward every day by getting it done at all levels. - And what did I hear a rumor a make over for No Excuses HR - hmm can't wait to see it.

  2. Thanks for the comment, and for the book recommendation Dave. The more success we experience at my organization, the more I'm grateful for those around me who do such an amazing job every day.

    ...and more to come on a new look for No Excuses!

  3. Jay I love this !! We often think that we have to do the superhero bit for our employees when the small acts mean so much more. I needed to hear this one !! Great post.

  4. Jay,

    Great take on the little things that really make a big difference. As leaders it's easy to gravitate toward the big successes and the dramatic achievements. Sometimes the little things that never get noticed or seen by the larger group lay the foundation for lasting success and individual growth.

    Thanks for sharing,


  5. Steve and Randy...many thanks for the feedback. I appreciate your insights!