By Ted Peters, HHS Vice President, Management Development
A word of advice from HHS’ Founder Jim Spry that has impacted my work throughout my career is that as a leader it is your responsibility to provide more than what is expected; not only for your team members, but also for your customers, every single day. Exceeding expectations means owning your results, leading by example, and expressing this objective to each team member, customer, or prospect you encounter.
There is a tremendous difference between being a boss and a leader. You can’t run a business by sitting in the office—the game is actually played out on the floor, retail spaces, physicians’ lounges, kitchens, and more. If you invest time developing and inspiring your team and showing them that you are not afraid to get your hands dirty, then you are setting the example and tone for the work culture. As you invest in your team, so too shall your team invest in you. Three key points stand out to me that can attribute to creating this mindset across your organization.
Not Accepting Mediocrity
As leaders we must set high standards not only for our team, but also for ourselves. Although we are not going to be perfect, we must set the bar high to achieve outstanding results. If a leader walks past a piece of trash on the floor and a team member sees this, it is silent validation to them that leaving the trash where it is, is acceptable. That is not an owner mindset. Instead, a leader should work shoulder-to-shoulder with their team to ensure they are striving to exceed expectations, leading by example, and not accepting mediocre results.
Enhancing the Customer Experience
A primary focus that should be communicated throughout training is to not overlook the small details. Every overlooked detail can compound to create a big problem. This is why creating the mindset of not settling is so important not only among the team, but also among leaders. Leaders must keep their foot on the gas; driving results daily. Just because you did a great job yesterday, does not mean you get to rest today. Every day should be seen as an opportunity to strive for excellence and enhance the customer experience. It is, in fact, the small details that make a difference in the lives of others.
Developing an Owner Mentality
The ownership mindset is truly what sets a leader apart from a boss. A lot of people can be successful managers, but a true leader invests time in developing not only themselves, but also their team. Just like an owner of a business, you are the owner of the work you produce day-in and day-out. You should be ready and prepared every single day. To do this, the leader must communicate to each team member the following; set the expectation, train, educate, follow up frequently to address needs, and hold people accountable. Having this mindset will serve as a guide for your team, and will create a standard philosophy around exceeding expectations.
Own your results, not your excuses. You are the first person that you should hold yourself accountable to.
Your team members are always watching and perceiving their leader’s actions and work ethic; whether we are proactive or reactive, dictators or true leaders. Their observations can impact the result of the service provided, which is why adopting an ownership mentality that strives to exceed expectations will create a culture and team mindset that will follow.