Last night, my hubs and I were catching up on episodes of our favorite show, The Profit. If you run, or are employed by, a small business, I HIGHLY recommend you watch this show.  The idea behind the show is business guru, Marcus Lemonis, goes into struggling businesses and offers an amount of money, and guidance, to help turn the business around. The catch is the business owner must agree to do things Marcus’s way. Of course you can see the issues that might arise from that! You’ll recognize The Profit, Marcus Lemonis, using the Four P’s of Marketing, and showing it in action. I love it!

In an episode I watched last night about an upscale dog groomer, border and day care, Marcus QUICKLY discovers that the problem behind the decline of the company is the owner with major anger management issues. Like major. The way he talked about his employees really made be want to throw up. I just couldn’t understand how anyone could be so mean. One of his key employees found her voice and yelled back at him at one point in the show and said to him, “The employees aren’t here to serve you, they are here because they love this place and these dogs.” The owner disagreed and was determined that employees were there for HIM.

While I found myself thinking that if I were in the shoes of those employees I would have been LONG gone, I can also understand that when your family and your livelihood depend on a job, that you’re often willing to put up with more crap than you might be otherwise. So then I got to thinking, “what kind of leader am I?”

While I would want to immediately claim I’m amazing, I know that isn’t always the case. We all have bad days, right? So I started thinking about what I stand for as a leader in my business and in my community and here is my quick list…a test, if you will…to see how I’m doing.

1. Have I asked some one to do something that I wouldn’t do myself?
As I leader, I think it can be easy to fall into the same trap as the business owner on The Profit, and think that people are here for you. Before I ask some one to do something, I must first ask myself if I would do it. There are always things that come up in a small business that are “not in your job description.” And the dream is when everyone pulls up their boots and pitches in any way. But that doesn’t happen if the leader isn’t also doing the same.

2. Have I said more nice things today than not?
Notice I didn’t say more nice things than bad. Because many times, we just don’t say anything. That isn’t necessarily bad. But it’s not good either. I don’t ever want the people I am leading to feel unappreciated, and not HEAR me say how much they matter to what we are doing.  Days get busy. Work piles up. And it can be easy to let a day go by without affirming those that matter. Let it not be!

3. Am I being authentic?
It many seem counterintuitive to be vulnerable with the people you lead, but I believe it is paramount to being successful. Show your human, real side. Share your humor, the things you are passionate about. Don’t hide things you’re struggling with. Be reasonable of course, and understand boundaries where they are needed. But I know I am always more likely to follow some one I feel like I can relate to. So in order to be a relatable leader I must be authentic to who I am and SHARE it.

4. How well am I listening?
Have you ever found yourself walking away from a conversation that you can’t remember a few minutes, or a day later? Yeah, me too. And it makes me sad. On the reverse of that conversation, I hate being the one having to repeat myself again and again. Because I know the person I’m talking to hasn’t really heard me yet. So when you reflect on your day and the conversations you’ve had, do you remember them? Can you recall the high points? Can you state what some one was telling you or asking you? I’m always so impressed with the people I’ve had even brief conversations with that can remember the name of my son or my dog and will even ask me about them. I want to be like that to everyone I lead.

5. Is my team having fun?
Believe it or not, even when you are all sweating and working hard, you can still be having fun. And I think you should be! The minute the thought of “I don’t want to be here right now,” gets any legs to stand on, it can be detrimental to the team. So as a leader, how am I ensuring that my team is having fun? What do I need to do to make sure they like what they are doing? How can I be sure that I’m having fun, too? Yes, I think it’s my responsibility to make sure everyone is having fun to the best of my ability. While everyone on the team is VITAL to success, the success of the team rests on the shoulders of the leader.

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