Unsung hero deserves recognition

I'd like to introduce you to Rick. Rick doesn't have a fancy title or a big office. Rick works in a factory. He doesn't make a large salary or ask for anything extra; he's what every employer is looking for and what every business needs. The difference between Rick and many other employees is that he cares about the business-not just about his job. He cares about the competition, he cares about the way people treat each other and he cares about the quality of the product his company makes.

I often hear managers moan about the declining work ethic and yet they continue to ignore the risks and spend their days chasing after those who play games with the system. Rick is an unsung hero and I think it's about time we started paying attention to him and those like him. Perhaps if we spent more of our time rewarding the right behavior, others would be encouraged to follow.

Here is the kind of behavior that makes him stand out:

He questions things that don't make sense. When a rule is made or a direction given, he asks why. He wants to understand why things are done and won't settle for something that gets in the way of doing things right.

He expects his co-workers to perform. As a team leader he steps forward and offers help and coaching to co-workers who aren't meeting their production goals. Although this can be a touchy situation, he cares enough about the company and his team to make sure both are successful.

He asks management for the information he needs to do his job. He wants to understand how his job fits into the company's goals. He asks for reports to be broken down into pieces that his team can relate to and then he works with his team to make sure they understand.

He doesn't wait for management to take action. He calls frequent huddles to iron out a problem or plan the day's work. The meetings don't waste time or take on a life of their own. He simply calls the team together to make sure everyone knows what needs to be done and how to do it. If a question comes up that he can't answer he helps the group get the answer. He asks everyone for input and listens to what they think. His team knows he respects their knowledge and experience.

He steps outside of his area when he needs to solve a problem. Rather than complain about a person or group, he walks over and together they figure out how to solve it. But he isn't content to just solve the problem at hand-he tries to track down the failure in the process that caused it in the first place and fix it permanently.

He shares recognition with his fellow workers. He's quick to give credit to everyone but himself for the work his team performs. He's quick to point out that the traditional method of rewarding individual performance doesn't fit the team concept. Sometimes he buys donuts out of his own pocket when his team has accomplished something above and beyond the average. These accomplishments may not be huge in the grand scheme of things but Rick knows how important those little celebrations are.

He encourages his co-workers to step forward and take responsibility and stands aside to let others get involved. He doesn't play "boss" or step on others to get ahead. His priorities are company success first, personal success second.

He's open to learning new things. He sees the new, participative management style as an opportunity for him to grow and develop in his job. He doesn't complain that management is trying to make him do more work or take advantage of him nor does he use his union card as a shield against additional responsibility.

How do you treat the risks in your organization? Do you listen to them? Do you give them opportunities to interact with your customers? Do you give them the information they are asking for? Do you treat them with the respect they deserve? Are you rewarding the right behavior?

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
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