June 15, 2011
By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki Hart When it comes to leadership, the expression, ‘Never let ‘em see you sweat,’ fits like a glove – figuratively speaking.

It’s an important part of leadership to work WITH your staff, beside them in the trenches, so to speak. You need to break a sweat when they do, and do the less desirable tasks with them from time to time. However, it’s equally important to always appear to have a plan, and to be one step ahead of them. It’s in this sense in which I mean ‘never let ‘em see you sweat.’

In my business, I have seen good and poor leadership qualities come and go in various employees. The one thing in my experience which stands out way ahead of all other motivating factors and ‘crew glue,’ is for the leader to be purposeful, intentional, clear and focused at all times.

Uncertainty causes falter

The moment a crew of workers sees their lead hand falter, show uncertainty, ask the workers for advice or help, that lead hand is sunk, from a leadership perspective. I’ve had a lead hand work for me, who unbeknownst to me, was constantly texting other lead hands for how-to info, and asking the crew members how to set up the process on several jobs. I was completely blindsided by this. What tipped me off was the feedback from the crew members, all asking to be put onto a different crew.

When I dug a bit deeper, I discovered that the leader’s lack of confidence created a lack of respect from everyone on the crew. That lack of respect translated into lower than average pace, lower than average productivity, and sub-standard finishing touches – not something on which we pride ourselves.

Leadership is about confidence

Leadership is about confidence. It’s about clarity. It’s about communicating consistently. And, it’s about being respectful, accountable, also holding others accountable in a positive way.

Take a few minutes as you drive to your next appointment or project, and reflect on how your staff and peers see you in terms of leadership. Are you consistent? Are you respectful? Are you confident? Are you and your staff accountable to each other?

See this month’s Prosperity Primer. It should get you started on thinking smarter about what goes on behind the scenes to successful leadership:
You can learn leadership skills in a variety of ways. Some of us are reported to be born leaders and others figure out leadership along the way. In either case, I believe that good leaders hold themselves to a higher standard than others, and they expect to be challenged.

As we race our way through these busiest of months, many of us who are leaders just want a bit of slack – a break from the ongoing pressures of the day to day, and perhaps a bit of predictability in the weeks to come.

If this sounds familiar, remember this important saying that we use in the Prosperity Partners seminar: “If you are aiming at nothing, you will hit it with HUGE accuracy!” So, with respect to your role as a leader – whether among your peers, or as a supervisor or owner – what are you aiming for? What does it look like when you are a good, strong leader?
I invite you to contact the Prosperity Partners team in membership services at Landscape Ontario, or go online to www.horttrades.com/prosperity to see what our unique business program offers for your leadership journey.

There is light on the horizon – two of the busiest months are behind you now – so keep your chin up, give yourself a pat on the back, and take the time to ask yourself how improved leadership can help your career and business.

Prosperity Primer

What promises did you quietly make yourself last year to improve the way your company performs?

Try this short primer to get you going on improving your leadership:
  • To improve the leadership within this company, the most important thing to change is: ______________.
  • The consequences of NOT making the effort to change this are: _______________
  • The result of this change will be ________________.
  • The resources I need to use are __________________.
  • I am going to contact, access, read this resource by July  ___, 2011. Or, I’m going to file this in my November File, and will work on it next winter.
  • When I have done this, here’s what I anticipate will be different and improved: _________________________.

Jacki Hart may be reached at prosperity@landscapeontario.com.