Unified Contractors Learn Leadership Principles

November 9, 2009
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BALTIMORE - What does it take to make a good leader? It can sometimes be hard to pin down; however, having good leaders is critical to a contractor’s success. The key components of leadership were spelled out at the Unified Group’s 2009 Service Management Forum.

Randy G. Nemchin, a senior consultant with FMI, said he works with clients in all construction sectors to improve company, team, and individual performance. At the Unified Group forum, he focused on ways to develop the leader within.

“What can we do to be more productive?” he asked. He presented the key principles of the FMI leadership model.

WORLD VIEW

According to Nemchin, a person’s leadership style is formed by their worldview. Their worldview is formed by their life experiences, even going back to childhood. To demonstrate, he asked the contractors the following: “When no one is watching the people you work with, what are they doing?”

Answers ranged from assuming that the people are working, to assuming that they are Web surfing and goofing off in general. “Your trust level is based on your worldview,” he said. The tendency is to micromanage behaviors.

“How we grew up, and when we grew up, shapes our worldview,” he said. Think of them like sunglasses that change your view of the world around you.

Hitting the value points is how you train someone effectively, he continued. Value points can be understood by getting an idea of the student’s worldview.

Unified Group members are strong on classroom participation. “Do people with the same worldview tend to congregate?” asked one. Nemchin replied that people tend to hire people with the same value systems.

Knowledge of worldview is helpful in dealing with customers’ perceptions, he added. A contractor may want to challenge the customer’s worldview by delivering service that goes well beyond the customer’s expectations.

Randy G. Nemchin, a senior consultant with FMI, told members of the Unified Group that people tend to confuse “management” and “leadership,” but they really are different. “We lead people,” he said. “We manage things.”

MANAGEMENT OR LEADERSHIP

Many people confuse management and leadership, he said, but they really are two different concepts. “We lead people. We manage things.”

The contractors identified planning, organizing, and controlling or problem solving as management activities. Setting direction, aligning people, and motivating and inspiring are leadership actions.

Setting direction, Nemchin explained, means creating a future vision and strategy to achieve that vision. It means dealing with change. “Aligning people means getting people behind a direction,” and communicating ideas and concepts. “Motivating/inspiring means energizing people to overcome barriers that get in the way of achieving a vision.” This can be done by meeting the needs of self-esteem, recognition, achievement, support, etc.

“We need to find interconnectedness,” he said, by innovating persistently and building human networks.

The four keys to accomplishing goals are to provide tools, remove obstacles, create ownership, and leverage strengths. The four Ps of motivating people are their past, pain, passion, and potential. “Know your people deeply.”

LEAD WITHIN

Good leaders have a considerable amount of self-awareness, self-disclosure, and openness, he said. “These are desirable and achievable by creating feedback mechanisms.

“Trust is the window to followership,” Nemchin said. “Threats decrease awareness and diminish trust.”

He recommended that the contractors develop a mission statement, both for their companies and a personal mission statement for themselves. Set consequences for not fulfilling your personal mission. “What are the consequences of not living your personal mission? What are the benefits?” He cited a friend’s personal mission statement: “Be the man your dog thinks you are.”

Good leaders have an eye for talent and they know how to develop it. In addition, learn how to develop leaders and the leaders of leaders. “Everybody in the organization needs to continue to grow,” Nemchin said. If you are afraid of assigning leadership responsibilities to others, look again at how your worldview might be affecting your ability to lead.

Why should you do it? There’s a profit potential, he said, “but mostly because it’s a privileged responsibility.”

THREE KEYS

The three key principles of leadership are to:

1. Set a direction.

2. Align resources (by providing tools, removing obstacles, creating ownership, and leveraging strengths).

3. And motivate and inspire (by providing encouragement, understanding people, and knowing your people deeply).

“The point is not to become a leader,” Nemchin said. “The point is to become yourself completely - all your skills, gifts, and energies - in order to make your vision manifest. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be and enjoy the process of becoming.”

Publication date: 11/09/2009

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