Leadership comes in many forms Bruce Hendrick discusses how people can be great leaders in their workplace

Bruce Hendrick knows that discovering leadership skills and growing into leadership roles doesn’t always come easy. But the founder of Organizational Development Services, LLC, also knows that creating leaders in the workplace is vital to the success of any company. He talked about leadership during his time as the keynote speaker at the Keim Lumber Woodworkers Appreciation Night Thursday, Jan. 28. Hendrick has an engineering degree from Ohio State University and 25 years of teaching experience. Of those, he spent 13 years with Avery Dennison in progressive management, training and leadership roles. He spoke passionately about the role leadership plays, not just in business, but in life in general. He outlined four basic points in leadership, including core leadership skills, communication ideas, trust-building techniques and constructive conflict resolution, as being imperative to the role of a good leader in his or her company, or even at home. “Leadership is simply taking someone to a place that they would never get to on their own,” said Hendrick. “The underlying theme of leadership is pretty simple. You make sure that you prepare to do the work you need to do, show up as a human being, as yourself, to the point that people can feel comfortable relating to you, you do your best, and when the day is done, you go home and love and be loved.” Hendrick said that last point is especially important, because we can’t afford to let work consume us, and allow us to lose sight of what is truly important. He added that having a positive experience at home rejuvenates you for work the next day. He said leaders have to have a positive attitude, know where they want to go, think successful thoughts and realize that whatever they do, people are watching to see how they react and respond to situations. Just like Elam Esh, who spoke before him, Hendrick noted that developing a true sense of teamwork, in which every person has an integral role in the company’s success, is important. Hendrick said that good leaders know their people well — all of them — and that they need to celebrate in the successes of their employees. He also said that earning employees’ trust is vital, if they are to grasp on to the vision the leader has. Another issue he touched on was when leaders take a role in which they feel responsible for others, rather than being responsible to others. “We are not responsible for people, but rather we are responsible to empower them,” said Hendrick. “Ultimately, they are the ones making decisions. We need to prepare people to be responsible to their own actions.” Making people accountable, and making them feel vital and useful, are two concepts Hendrick uses in his company. He said that his employee teams meet daily, and their ideas are written on a board, where they are then tracked, meaning that they see how their ideas are being implemented and if they are working. He uses a dashboard — a daily board designed to show everyone in the company the monthly progress, in order to keep his people abreast of what they need to accomplish. He believes that when people see what is transpiring, the daily output becomes personal to them. Perhaps his main point was based on the perception that a business is much like a bank, but instead of investing money in an account, people are investing in relationships. “Just like in a bank, we can make deposits and withdrawals in our relationships, and we can grow interest,” said Hendrick. “Do you keep a promise? Are you polite? Do you help others? These are investments that eventually build trust. And all the politeness in the world can get torn down with one negative moment. That’s why it is important to build up equity in our relationships.” Hendrick said it is also very important to make deposits in everyone’s account equally. In building a trusting relationship, Hendrick said that it takes communication, competence, care and concern, and used Zig Ziglar’s comment that “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” to express how important a trusting relationship is between people. He closed with conflict resolution, and how emotions often get in the way of leaders making quality, sensible decisions. Hendrick said that people create rash, mental images of what we believe people are thinking or will say, thus altering how we react to situations. “How we feel drives our actions,” said Hendrick. “Creating these stories about what a person might be thinking only empowers those feelings. We need to think rationally, and objectively, and put ourselves in the other person’s situation.” He said that tends to lead to reacting to situations through empathy, concern and forgiveness, rather than anger, silence and lack of vision. Finally, he said a good leader moves through stages of conflict resolution, beginning by taking no action at all and allowing the two parties to work it out themselves. Should it move beyond that, he said the next step is to coach behind the scenes, encouraging each party, before moving into a mediation role in which one would offer advice and ask questions. The final option is for the leader to take control and end a conflict, creating written commitment from both parties and demanding follow-up. “An effective leader reluctantly but skillfully advances up the list,” said Hendrick, “so that every conflict doesn’t find its way to them.” According to Hendrick, while many people believe that good business results are all that matter, businesspersons and leaders are also in the process of building healthy, balanced emotional lives in their employees.

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