Episode 131: Transcript

Pursuing Engaged Leadership & Communication

Speaker 0 00:00:04 Make It Right. The manufacturing podcast,
Speaker 1 00:00:09 When you’re in the thick of it, dealing with the daily issues of a manufacturing business, it can be difficult to understand the impact of your leadership. How do you know if it’s having a positive or negative impact? And if you’re getting your interactions right or wrong, maybe you base your leadership success on the output of the business, but maybe it’s giving you a false positive, welcome to the, Make It Right podcast. I’m Janet Eastman. And this week on the show, our guest is someone I invited after watching his post on LinkedIn, where he shared an illustrative manufacturing leadership story. Phil Van Hooser is an award-winning keynote speaker. He’s a leadership trainer and an author whose focus is on engaged leadership and communication. And I am really delighted to have him on the show. So welcome Phil. Great to have you here.
Speaker 2 00:00:59 Thanks so much. And it’s great to be here. Thanks for the invitation.
Speaker 1 00:01:03 My pleasure. And I’d like to introduce you to my colleague leadership advisor. Kevin Snook has focused on the manufacturing industry, and I know he’s going to love talking to you. Thank you. You’re very welcome. So, Phil, I think probably, I know I did a bit of an intro to you, but how about you give us a bit of a background on, on your entire career, because I know you started, I would in manufacturing.
Speaker 2 00:01:26 I did. I did thank you for asking about that. I, uh, I grew up in Western Kentucky on a farm and I’m a say that I never knew anyone personally in my family, at least who had worked in manufacturing. And so it was a bit of a surprise when I graduated from college with a degree in hand business degree ink still wet. And, uh, I got, I got recruited and then hired to be a young HR professional in a heavy manufacturing environment, specifically building forklifts at the time. And I wish I could say it was a great master stroke on my part to be able to plan my future that many years in advance. I, I needed a job, but it was the absolute best thing that could have happened to me. I could tell you a number of things we can talk about whatever you want.
Speaker 2 00:02:19 I had the very best boss I ever had in my life as my first boss, which is amazing. He taught me, he grew me. He encouraged me. He stretched me. But the main thing that that really helped from a manufacturing standpoint is I came into manufacturing at a very unique transitionary time in manufacturing. I came in in the early 1980s, specifically spring of 1980, when all of a sudden the old traditional ways that manufacturing had been embraced over the years were being at least gradually replaced with more participative, more involved, more, more engaged activities with employees. And because I was young, I thought it was because I was brilliant. It wasn’t, it was because I was young and didn’t have a lot of that history. And those bad habits already created my, uh, my leaders, my bosses, both the HR manager and the plant manager, saw something in me and started sending me off to train me and preparing me and encouraging me to get more engaged, involved in the involved aspect of leadership and involved aspect of manufacturing leadership. And so that’s where it started. I could go deeper into that, but that’s the early the Genesis, if you will, of what brings us to this conversation of talking about leadership and specifically talking about leadership in manufacturing today.
Speaker 1 00:03:48 So I think it’s really interesting that you say you started out with a great boss that you learned a great deal from by example, and by them helping you get to where you wanted to go, because we had a guest on last weekend per experience was exactly the opposite. She watched in this command and control leadership, and that’s the kind of person she thought she was supposed to be as a leader. And so that jumping off point for you probably gave you, um, a really good head start. Would you say,
Speaker 2 00:04:18 Well, let’s, let’s think about it this way. I didn’t see your show last week, but I can imagine how that conversation went. If you think about leadership development, leadership development is rarely, rarely taught in a podcast like this one or even in a classroom. Now we would like to think that we influence leadership and leaders to some degree, and I hope we are today by getting them to think, but the traditional way or the common way that a leader has developed is by watching the leaders ahead of them in the organization. And so going back to your, uh, guests from previously, because she saw that model as a command and control authoritarian theory, X, call it whatever you will. It w it made sense. Well, they got in the position they’re in by doing it this way. So therefore, if I want to climb the ladder in this organization, I need to learn it that way.
Speaker 2 00:05:13 The fact of matter is it’s okay, now this may sound strange to some, but I believe it’s okay to lead that way. As long as the followers never change. But over the last 40 years of my career, that’s all that’s been happening. His followers have been changing and as result leaders have had to learn new ways to lead, influence and impact people in a positive, productive, profitable way. And frankly, it’s been an exciting career for me because I’ve been learning, growing, and practicing. And of course now sharing for the last 30 years, sharing with audiences, what I’ve learned through the process. And, and so it has been an interesting jumping off point to say, do you use the term you use? I, I I’ve loved every minute of it.
Speaker 1 00:06:00 Okay. I want to go go right to the point that got you here on the show. When I watched, I think it was a three to five minute video on LinkedIn, where you talked about this particular moment, when you were in a factory watching the management team on the factory line, watch a problem where the operators stood off on the side with his arms crossed, just share that story.
Speaker 2 00:06:23 You know, it’s, anyone that’s come from manufacturing is seeing something similar, play out in one way or another over time. So my youth situation is not necessarily unique. It’s just that I happened to witness. I happened to process and I happened to learn from it. And now in sharing, I was, I shared this story about a day that, you know, our manufacturing facility way back in the day, there was a breakdown and we all understand downtime is the worst thing that can or not. The worst injuries are the worst thing, but downtime is almost the worst thing that can happen in a manufacturing environment. Why they invited me out? I don’t know, I’m an HR guy. I wasn’t in mechanically inclined. I wasn’t going to be able to offer any fixes. I suppose they were preparing me for, if they, we need to send people home or whatever it may have been.
Speaker 2 00:07:13 But when I arrived, it was interesting right there at the machine machine was down, of course, surrounding that machine were all of the quote, unquote big shots in the company. There were the managers and supervisors, the engineers, the technicians, everybody was huddled in. All I saw were their rear ends sticking out because they were all pulling pointed in. But as I walked up, I noticed there was one person that was standing off to the side and I looked, and of course I knew who he was. He was the operator. And he was standing with his arms, crossed, observing what was going on beforehand. The big shots were in fact completely oblivious to his existence, apparently. And so when I walked up, I saw this scene and I just turned to him. And I said, I asked what I now believe to be the most important question.
Speaker 2 00:08:07 A leader can ask a follower, even though I didn’t recognize it as such at that moment, I have since come to that realization. And I just turned to him and I said, so what do you think it was for me a throwaway question. I was just trying to engage him in a conversation. It was the first thing that popped in my head. I didn’t think through it. I just simply said, so what do you think? And when I said, what do you think? Or when I asked, what do you think he immediately came alive. He just started spewing. And I don’t mean in a negative way. He said, well, I’m glad you asked. He said, because I’ve been thinking about this for some time. I’ve noticed there’s some been some discrepancies in the equipment. And he went on with a long laundry list of things that he had to have thought about and processed.
Speaker 2 00:08:53 And he shared it with me. It was so much I had to say, stop, stop. And when I said stop, he looked at me like, Oh, okay. So you really didn’t want to know. And I could see that in his demeanor. And I said, wait, wait, wait. I want to hear what you have to say, but I want you to hold it for just a second. And I walked literally three feet and tap the engineering manager on the shoulder. Now he was my colleague at the same level in the organization. If you will. Now, he was frustrated that I bothered him, but at least he had to respond to me because we were on the same organizational level. And so I tapped him on the shoulder. What he says, I said, come here. What do you mean? I said, come here, just come here a minute.
Speaker 2 00:09:34 I pulled him away from them, Shane over those literally three, four feet to where the operators stood. And I said to the operator, while I first said to the engineer, the engineer to the engineer, I said, the operator has something I want you to hear. And then I turned to the operator and said, tell him, but before the operator could say a word, the manager said and did what I’m about to say and display. He said, yeah, go ahead. Tell me what you know. And that’s all he said. And with that, the operator went, nevermind, nevermind you go ahead. You just figure it out. Tell me what you want to do. I’ll do my job. When you tell me it’s time for me to do my job. And with that, he stepped back completely disengaged. And there was no more conversation. There was no one, no more foundation for which on which to build that. I’ve thought about that experience many times over the last now 40 plus years or there about. And I think it’s telling of not only attitudes but actions, and when you put the two together, an attitude and an action that does harm or damage, you can be one of the most destructive forces in leadership. And that’s why I shared that story and others, like it, just try to get people to understand that we can do as much harm if not more harm than good, simply by not intentionally leading in opportunities that are presented to us.
Speaker 1 00:11:09 Okay. I want to, I want to bring Kevin in here because Kevin, I want to know you’re on the factory line a lot. Maybe not in the last few months you haven’t been, but you know what it’s like out there. Are we still seeing that kind of engagement?
Speaker 3 00:11:27 Um, yes. And, uh, what I also want to say is that I’ve fallen into that trap in the past as well. You know, one of the reasons that, uh, I’ve grown so much is because I’ve tried to observe and learn my own behaviors as I’ve gone through my career. And, um, and just as Phil was saying about, you know, you’re out there, you see these things, but you also have a little bit of time to process it and then decide how to deal with it afterwards. Um, I, what I realized as a young manager is whilst I was spending more and more time out on the production line, trying to help people. All I was actually doing is taking their accountability away. I was also taking away all of their opportunity to learn new things, to grow, to, uh, to challenge, to experience things. And, uh, and so I’m, I’m fully aligned with what Phil is saying.
Speaker 3 00:12:17 We might think we’re helping at times, but we’re actually hurting our job as leaders is to help people develop, not to fix problems for them. Um, unless of course they had problems that, that, that, that individual has no opportunity to solve on their own because you know, they’re into departmental or something like that. But, uh, you, you ask the question, is it still going on now? Um, yes, absolutely. Uh, one of the biggest challenges that I see is there’s a communication gap between the frontline employees and the next level. And I think that, you know, feels just given a perfect example of that.
Speaker 2 00:12:56 So Phil, I have to ask you what really shocked you about that moment. And I’m sure you’re probably pretty shocked that that thing is still like it’s still happening. You know, I can’t really tell you everything that shocked me in that moment. But the one I remember most specifically is is the manager not seeing by way of behavior by way of body language is the manager not seeing what I’m seeing. We’re all three they’re in close proximity together, and yet we are not communicate. You know, we just now heard Kevin say about communication, the communication breakdowns and all the risks. I talk about communication a lot in leadership, because I believe you cannot lead unless you’re an effective communicator. Now I’m not talking about being an articulate speaker or an articulate presenter. That’s not my point. Communication is all about connection. And if two people can make a connection, they will communicate.
Speaker 2 00:13:57 Sometimes they make a connection just with looking at one another, or sometimes the connection with understanding of particular emotion sometimes by way of words that are shared between them. But if we’re not paying attention to the connection or more importantly, when the connection is broken, then quite frankly, it doesn’t get better. It can get worse because there’s distance than that pulls between us. You’re saying if I would have noticed one now, in retrospect, if I would’ve thought back to that day and I could have coached that manager that day, I would have simply said, now stop and apologize. Apologize for how you just address this gentlemen so that the connection can be remade. Now, not in word only you gotta be sincere in the apology. Oh, I’m so sorry. I got caught up in the moment. There’s a lot of stress on me right now.
Speaker 2 00:14:48 A lot of people are wanting a piece of me, et cetera. And all of those things can be true and say, I jumped ahead of where I should have been pleased. Let me stop restart. Tell me what you have to hear what you have to say, because I need to hear it because there’s, I’m sure something that we can learn from you and you from us as we’re working together on solving this problem for them. They’re on the shop floor. That’s what I would have liked to have coached, but now that’s been 30 years plus lighter. So now I’m helping the people in advance as opposed to in retrofit.
Speaker 1 00:15:23 Right? So how far is it too far when you’re trying to help your employees? Like, I think you, you have a story here about somebody that you hired, but tell me that story. How far is too far.
Speaker 2 00:15:35 I ask a question a lot about, so feel, so when you’re talking about involving employees, you’re really saying you’re given the keys of the asylum to the inmates, right? No, I’m not saying that at all. The reality of it is training development is exceptionally important at every level of the organization. Kevin said it so well when he said a while ago that a manager’s job, in addition to solving problems, et cetera, is developing the level of confidence capability, et cetera, of the individual employee. Over time. I remember way back, um, I was charged with the task of hiring 125 new people for a manufacturing line for a startup on a new product line, 125. I had 10 months to do it. And they wanted me to do it using interactive participative team involved activities. It was a great challenge. We’d never done anything like that before.
Speaker 2 00:16:35 And so I instituted what I call team interviewing. There were four people that interviewed every candidate that came in the door, but the, the makeup of that team was even more important. There was the HR manager, there was the supervisor of the individual to be hired that’s traditional, but then the other two candidates are the other two interviewers were individuals who had practical, emotional knowledge of the job being interviewed or higher. So in other words, if we were hiring welders, we brought welders into the discussion. If we were hiring material handlers, we brought material handlers. If we probably hired assemblers, we brought assemblers into the process. The whole thing was wonderful on paper. But from my standpoint, as the person that originally, before we instituted, this was doing all the hiring, it was taking me after I had sort of weeded out that the applications that weren’t appropriate, it was taking me on average three interviews for every one hire.
Speaker 2 00:17:42 I knew that because of tracking the process, efficiency is everything right. I introduced this particular program, this team interviewing, and I went to a gentleman on the line who I immediately knew would be good, or at least I thought he would be good at this process. His name was Darnell. I went to Darnell and I said, Hey, have you heard about the interviewing process? Yeah. Well, I’d like to get you involved. You said I’m in. I mean, it was just that quick. I went, man, this was easy about a week and a half later, after a little bit of training Darnell and the three of the rest of us came and started the interviewing to make a long story short. We interviewed over 14 people, 14 or 15 people without one hire. Now, remember I’m used to three for one, three for one. Now we’re four times that and still haven’t had head hire.
Speaker 2 00:18:33 And it was Darnell who was saying, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I don’t think so. And finally, I thought I’m going to have to pull Darnell aside and have a conversation with it. And I did. I pulled it them aside. And I said to Darnell, Darnell, is it possible? In essence, this is what I said. Darnell is possible that your standards are too high. Listen to that question. This is coming from the HR guy. Is it possible? And your standards are too high. It should’ve been the other way around potentially. I’ll never forget what Darnell said to me. He looked at me, he said, Phil, do you remember the day that you came out on the floor and asked me if I’d participate in this process? I said, yes, he did. Do you remember how quickly I accepted your invitation? I said, well, now that you bring it back up, yeah, I remember that.
Speaker 2 00:19:23 He said, well, you didn’t know, is it for nine years? I’ve been standing on this line doing my job, but watching and trying to wonder why you and others did the job that you did and did it so poorly. I always said, if I ever got the opportunity to make a difference in this organization, that I was going to seize that opportunity. And I was going to make the most of that opportunity. I don’t think we should hire one person that can’t make this organization better. And personally, I’m going to hold out until they and I stepped back and I looked at Darnell and I said, I’m sorry, sorry. You have taught me. I’m the student. You’re the teacher you’ve taught me because you’re right. Our job should not be to fill holes, our jobs. It would be to build businesses. And the reality of it is your way is better than my way.
Speaker 2 00:20:17 Let’s go back in there. Let’s start the process. We started the process. We ended up hiring a person, released that the team brought another team. We hired 125 people over the next 10 months. We had a turnover of two. And it’s interesting. I still remember those two interviews because I remember it was late in the day. We’d interviewed at night we’re people and we got tired and the group are the team interview. The team will go, Oh, I don’t know. What do you think? I don’t know. What do you think? Oh, let’s just, yeah, come on. Let’s just hire them. And we don’t and we let down our, we let down our standard. One more thing. I’ll tell you on that story. Cause I think this is great about, uh, Oh, let’s say six weeks after we hired the one that Darnell had been a part of.
Speaker 2 00:21:04 I was out on the floor walking through, trying to just touch base connect with all the new hires. And I saw this new hire. He was in the Sanders booth and I was going to go over, but he was had all of his equipment safety equipment on. I thought I’ll catch him later on. But Darnell was right there, Darnell. Hey, Hey man, Hey Phil, come here. And I walked over to Darnell and he, and I said, just in passing, I said, what do you think about our guy? The guy couldn’t hear the conversation. I said, what do you think about our guys? Darnell said he is the best employee we’ve ever had. And I said, really? I said, why do you say that? He said, because I used to be the best employee. Now he is. And I hired him. And when he said, I, he had taken full ownership for responsibility and great pride, not only in hiring, but to making sure that we develop this young man in a way that he will continue to be the best employee we’ve ever had. Your question was how far is too far? I don’t think most organizations ever have to worry about going too far because most of them won’t go nearly far enough. I was glad to have that opportunity with Darnell and the team interviewing because he told me we could go much further than even I thought we could do at some point. Kevin, what do you think of the power behind that?
Speaker 3 00:22:29 No, I spent tastic and, but Phil, I also want to give you credit for that because, um, what I do know is that our best employees hire good people. Uh, our good employees hire poor people. I know for employees don’t want to have anybody else come into the organization. So you had gone out there and you’d found Don Allen. You, you knew that he was the one who could help you because he was the best employee or one of the best employees and that’s all to your credit. So I fully agree that these things take time, but how long are you gonna, are you going to invest in a person? You know, hopefully you’re bringing that person into your organization for 15, 20, or, or more years. So why not take the time on the front end to really make sure you’ve got the right person and that the part around interviewing a whole lot of people, one thing that I’ve, I’ve encouraged people to do on that is make your culture so polarizing that it rejects the people that you don’t want at the early stage.
Speaker 3 00:23:31 And it only attracts the people that you do want, you want somebody looking at that job application and saying, no, that’s definitely not for me. I don’t want to be doing those things and somebody else to say, wow, that’s the best, best opportunity I’ve ever had. And so at that early stages, if you can make your culture really polarizing and only attract the ones who you think are going to, or they know they’re going to want to be there and then get your best employees hiring, but you know, credit to you for, for getting done out in bolt in that,
Speaker 2 00:24:03 You’re very kind, but Kevin and I are in sync we’re in sync. Our thinking is it’s a whole lot easier to hire the right person than it is to fire or get rid of the wrong person. That’s number one, I always think about, and then of course, number two, the reality of it is if an individual gets hired into an organization, they need to be celebrating that they were able to pass the test, that it wasn’t just the, the, the, the old mirror test that a fog, a mirror there, and they actually earned the right to work there. And therefore they are proud of the work that they’ll do from day one. And then of course we can build on that, but I completely agree, but thank you for the compliment to Kevin. I appreciate it.
Speaker 3 00:24:48 I feel I, can I just dive into it, one of the other things that you said earlier on it, you mentioned that your, your first boss was your best boss. And it just happened to be the same for me as well. I had a, when I first joined, I was 21 year old and I had a 45 year old boss who was swell seasoned. And he was just, he was just a great people leader. Um, but you, you said that leadership development is rarely taught. People tend to fall into their leadership style based on whoever they were thrown with at the time. Do you still see a resistance to leadership development? Uh, especially in manufacturing being taught, certainly not as much as it used to be Kevin. Uh, I am trying to break that, uh, that, uh, paradigm, I would assume that you are probably as well, and there’s others.
Speaker 3 00:25:36 We’re trying to show that the investment in leaders upfront and the leaders is not necessarily determined by a position title, but the ability to influence and impact activities, individuals, et cetera, is a leadership act. So do I seem more, more, um, uh, readiness more, uh, more, uh, awareness of the need to develop leaders? I certainly do. Um, I also see the really advanced, progressive companies that understand the need for leadership. Realize it’s not a one and done activity. It’s not a two hour training program and therefore they’ve got it all. We’re, we’re layering training and experience training and instruction, training and coaching. We’re layering, all of those things. And in this wonderful time that we live, where we can literally go face to face,
Speaker 2 00:26:29 I not do it in person. We’re doing it in real time right now. Now I’m still kind of old school. I love being in the room with them in the flesh with them, you know, because I believe that’s where the side conversations place and that’s where all the cool stuff happens. But at this moment in time, at least for this moment in time, having the opportunity to do online or, or real time, uh, on demand kind of training, I’ve got an on online system that I provide. I know a lot of other people do too. You know, I think it’s just an amazing time that people can in a, in a cost efficient and time efficient way, develop that next generation of leaders. And I’m, I’m thrilled still to be in the game. If you will,
Speaker 1 00:27:18 You look like you still love it feels so. That’s fantastic. Yeah. So you have this book out called leaders ought to know 11 ground rules for common sense leadership that addresses a lab and hard questions. So you got 11 questions there. What’s the big question that, you know, you try to get leaders to focus on.
Speaker 2 00:27:40 Yeah, you’re a tough one. Uh, that’s like say you got 11 children, which of them do you love the most? Um, let, let me, let me give you one that I think is terribly important for everybody. And I’ll just call it the process, the concept of, of leadership intentionality. I believe that you can be a leader in different ways and at different times, and for different periods. For example, I believe you can be an accidental leader. I believe you can stumble into a circumstance or a situation in which you have to respond. There is no way to get around it. And in so doing you lead, you make a difference. Now, unfortunately, if it’s accidental, you didn’t see it coming. You couldn’t prepare for it. And therefore you’re probably not going to see or prepare for the next thing. You’re going to think that you were born under a lucky star and therefore I’m God’s gift to leadership.
Speaker 2 00:28:32 And so therefore I’ll be able to just short of wing, wing it and make it make do that’s. That’s the kiss of death. You might be good once, but being good more than once is a challenge. So accidental leaders, I’m not for the second kind is incidental leaders. Incidental leaders are people who know something and know it very, very well. It’s based on their education, their training, their experience, et cetera. And so there for when that one thing happens, they’ve been trained for it. They know how to lead through it. For example, if there’s an equipment right down, we know step one, step two, step three. This is the process we follow. If there is a electronic electrical shutdown, if there is, uh, an accident, we know how to deal with those situations. The problem is we haven’t taught critical thinking beyond the scope of that one incident.
Speaker 2 00:29:23 And therefore many people know the old saying if you only have, if the only tool we have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. So if someone knows how to work in one capacity, then they try to force fit everybody else into all of the capacities. They think that one size fits all and it doesn’t. So I don’t like, even though I understand it’s out there, I don’t necessarily embrace accidental or incidental leadership, but I’m all about intentional leadership. And intentional leadership is waking up every day. And I mean that literally every day saying I am going to lead to something or someone today as will be appropriate. I’m going to prepare my mind, my heart, my spirit. I’m going to invest. I’m going to sacrifice. I’m going to learn. I’m going to grow. I’m going to apologize. I’m going to encourage, I’m going to do whatever is necessary to be an intentional leader today.
Speaker 2 00:30:19 And I’m going to lead seven 24 seven. I’m not just going to think about being a leader at work, because I think people think they can flip it on and off like a, like a light switch of some sort or just fooling themselves. The true leaders are the ones that lead everywhere all the time with everyone. And so I’m trying to raise up a generation of intentional leaders. Not that we all have to be alike, not that we have to all have the practice exactly the same procedures, but that we understand that we’re all working toward the same goal and that we can get there with the, with, with the help of one another, but also for the benefit of our followers. So that would be one of the techniques from the book that I talk a lot about in the book.
Speaker 1 00:31:06 So I would say then what your saying, or at least what I think you’re saying is that every individual ought to be a leader and have that leadership mindset regardless of where they are in life.
Speaker 2 00:31:20 I think every individual should be a leader if they want to be. And now there’s an, there’s an important thing. I believe everybody, everybody can be a leader if they want to be, they can learn to be in other words, but some people don’t want to do that. And it’s kind of like parenting. I have three children and my three children now have given me nine grandchildren. We’re kind of overrun with children. I think if you want to be a parent is, is the best thing in the world. But if you don’t want to be a parent, then you shouldn’t have children. Same as period. I’m not going to try to talk to anybody into being something they have already decided they don’t want to do. And you and I both know, especially Kevin. And I know on the shop floor, you’ll your people. You’ll see people, you go, they have great leadership abilities, great potential, great natural instincts.
Speaker 2 00:32:13 And they will say, I wouldn’t have it. If you gave it to me, I don’t want any part of it. I want to go home. I don’t want any hassle, et cetera. And I say to them, God bless them. But for those people, those people who say, I want to make a difference, I want to actually learn and grow. And I want to have an influence over something or an impact on something. Then yes, I believe all of them can learn and grow. And in fact, for me, from Kevin or from a thousand people out there that do what they do either formally or informally, we can learn from the examples of many, many people, but to have the opportunity to influence someone that may influence hundreds, if not thousands of others, to me, that’s one of my, that’s one of the greatest callings in life, as far as I can tell Kevin, I see you nodding.
Speaker 3 00:33:02 Yeah, I did. I, I love the, um, the word intentional and, uh, I actually, I was over in Poland a year or so ago and doing a talk all about intentional leadership and, uh, and, and how intention drives my life. Everything from getting up in the morning and, and going exercising and meditating and getting fit and healthy and, um, you know, being intentional about your movements through the day. So I love that, but also feel I wanted, uh, I wanted a name, one of your children. And, uh, that one is you, are you one of your 11 children in your, that is, and, uh, this one was how to motivate, not manipulate. And, uh, I, I think this goes back almost to your, to your first point on the, on the podcast as well. And people can tell when they’re being manipulated and nobody wants to be manipulated and nobody wants to be managed even right.
Speaker 3 00:33:59 Uh, people want to be helped and they want to feel like you’re there bad help them. And to me, that’s one of the major ways that you motivate people, um, in a way you want them to become inspired rather than the need to be motivated all the time. And, and that inspiration, I think, comes from getting people committed, uh, to where you’re going and, and the reasoning behind where you’re going and that they’re a critical member to help the whole organization get there. And so I love that that part of your book, there was ho how to motivate, not manipulate. Just loved it. Thank you so much, man. Appreciate that.
Speaker 2 00:34:39 So, Phil, what do you think is one of the most common mistakes that leaders make? Ooh, you know, I, um, I have a whole section in one of my speeches and in my training as well that I talk about unpardonable, sins of leadership. In other words, mistakes that we make that we will not be forgiven unless of course we make, make it right, using your terminology in some way. Um, but the one thing that comes to mind right now for me, when you say what is wrong, I call it, I refer to it as the leadership lie, the leadership lie, lie. Now we all understand it. And it leaders can’t afford to be untruthful or, or, or misrepresent the truth or the facts, et cetera. It’s the kiss of death from a leadership perspective. But the leadership lie is out there. It’s been out there for years and nobody seems to call it what it is.
Speaker 2 00:35:41 Here’s, I’ll give you an example. Let’s assume that a young person, it was me at one point, probably Kevin, at one point, maybe you Janet at one point was, was, uh, promoted into a position of leadership that didn’t have to be in manufacturing. It could be anywhere and you get promoted and the word gets out. They announce it. We’re happy to announce that so-and-so is going to become the supervisor of, you know, and so people start coming to you. And this is what I have witnessed. And I’ve know other people witnessed it as well. A senior person, someone many years and years of experience older than you. Someone who likes you. I want you to understand this. This is not an enemy or a, or a competitor in some way. This was someone who likes you. They come to you and they say, Phil, I just heard about your promotion, man.
Speaker 2 00:36:31 They made a great decision. You are going to be fantastic. It’s going to be wonderful. Now I do realize Phil, this is the first time you’ve ever managed people. So with my experience, I want to give you a little bit of advice. And then they say, I recommend, I advise that you don’t get too close to your people. And then they go on and tell you why. Now don’t get too close to people because listen, just trust me on this one. One of these days, you’re going to have to make a difficult decision relative to your employees. If you’re too close to them personally, you won’t be able to separate your professional responsibility. It’s just easier not to get too close to them. That’s a lie. Now forgive me for being so, so blunt and may be brusque. I don’t mean to be that way.
Speaker 2 00:37:25 I really don’t, but I believe it’s a lie because a lie is the absence of the truth. Now, if you only hear that side of it, that makes pretty good sense. And as you said earlier in our conversation, Janet, if you learned it from people, your guests last week said, I learned a particular leadership style from someone. So I just mimicked it. I mirrored it. So if someone is telling you, especially someone who likes you and you trust say, this is what you shouldn’t do, then you probably won’t do it. I’m going to say this. If you want to be a manager, you can do so without getting to know or appreciate your people. But if you’re going to be a leader, you have got to get to know and appreciate your people. Now I’m not talking about dating them. I’m not talking about going on vacation with them or having them over every Friday night for cookout.
Speaker 2 00:38:23 And that’s not what I’m saying. There’s some optics there that I’m concerned about. But what I am saying is you need to get to know their hopes, their dreams, their goals, their aspirations. You need to know their fears or anxieties, their failures, their frustrations, because in knowing the good and the bad, then all of a sudden you can, in fact, going back to Kevin’s comment about motivation versus manipulation. Now all of a sudden we’re helping them solve issues and get to points in their lives that they want to, or away from things that are troubling them. It’s not manipulative at all. It’s that we’ve taken the time to get to know them. Trust builds. It’s all about relationships. Things get better accordingly. So for me, probably the thing that I, especially for young leaders, Young’s manager, supervisors, and leaders, I would say, be aware of the leadership lie because it can cost you. It really can overtime.
Speaker 1 00:39:22 Kevin, do you have a comment there?
Speaker 2 00:39:25 Oh, just that. I love that. And I, especially like the distinction between a manager and a leader and for me a leader is somebody, uh, you know, if you’ve got the jungle and you got to go into the jungle, you’re the first one to cross the line of the jungle and you’re going into a place that’s never been gone before. You’re taking risks. You’re trying to cut new ground. That’s what a leader does. A manager can manage people going through the path once it’s already cuts. But if you’re going to be a great leader that you need to know exactly who is following you and how you’re going to be able to motivate them to get through that path. So I love that distinction between the manager and the leader. They’re two very different types of roles. I completely agree.
Speaker 1 00:40:06 So Phil, I would love for you to share a story and I don’t know what the story is, but the story that we have here is he’ll know my name. When you lose your temper, you lose. So share that story, Phil.
Speaker 2 00:40:21 Well, that’s two different stories actually. And let me share the first one, because I don’t share this one very often. The second one, I share more often with my live audiences and in keynotes and the like, but this one I don’t see much. And so this will be sort of unique to the, make it right podcast here. Um, I worked in the course of my career for three different manufacturing companies. And I worked in both union and non-union environments now. Um, I’m not here to pass judgment on one or the other over the other. That’s not my point at all, but it’s interesting what you observe at particular moments in time and what it teaches you and what, and how it informs you overtime. I was working in a non-union environment at one particular point and there was a union drive underway. Now, anyone who knows about that knows that if you’re working for management as a manager, you’re trying to maintain non-union status.
Speaker 2 00:41:21 If it goes union, that’s fine. You adapt and you adjust and you do what you need to do. But at that moment in time, you have to, you gotta know what your role is. I also knew that I not go out and try to talk anybody out of anything that would in America, that would be a terrible breach of labor law and so on and so forth. So I was just doing my job, what I did every day. I’m walking through the plant. All of a sudden, I get a telephone, not a telephone call. I had someone shout at me, Hey, Phil, come here a minute. I went over and I knew this happened to be one of the union organizers. One of the people on the floor that was promoting the union internal, he was a good guy. I had known him for 10 years.
Speaker 2 00:42:04 And so I went over to him and I said to him, uh, yay. Let’s call him Fred. I said, Hey, Fred, how you doing, man? He said, come here. Well, I’ll tell you something. I said, okay, you said, I want you to know that I am going to, uh, vote for this union, but it’s not because of you now. That was kind of a strange entree into the conversation because I was management. Right. And I go in my mind, honestly, I’m thinking, is he trying to trick me somehow? Is he trying to draw me into a conversation? I’m sorry. I was just a little bit on it on edge there. And I go, well, Fred, that’s very nice. I appreciate it. He said, don’t you want to know why? Now? I know that that’s a labor, uh, labor law of breach. So I know I’m not asking you any questions for, he goes, well, you’re not asking me a question, but I’m going to tell you why.
Speaker 2 00:42:57 He said, I want you to look. And he pointed across the plant floor. Now this is a busy manufacturing environment, but he pointed across the plant floor and way over there I had not even noticed was the plant manager. You see that man? Over there, it was my boss. I said, yeah, I see him. He said, do you know that I’ve worked here nine years or, or 10, whatever it was, but about that long. And he has never had a conversation with me. He doesn’t even know my name. He said, I promise you. He used Phil. I challenge you. He’s your boss. Call him over here. Call him over here. And when he comes here, the first thing you ask him is what’s this guy’s name? You won’t do it because you don’t. I want to embarrass your boss. And he would to have it because if you did do it, you would pay the price.
Speaker 2 00:43:48 He said, I’m telling you that guy doesn’t know my name. And the only reason I’m on the platform right now is because he’s trying to tamp down activity that union related. He said, the reality of it has failed when this is all over. You’ll know my name. And I went, Oh my gosh, this is not about some deeply held conviction that the individual has toward unionization or non unionization. That’s not it at all. It had all been in it all been relegated to a relationship with management and labor. And if the plant manager, according to what this one person said would have spent more time with the employees, with labor, with the, with the, the, the group, probably these, these probably now these issues are, many of them could have been worked out in some other way. And yet it wasn’t. And so when I say, when someone says, he’ll know my name, I immediately go back to that place in my mind. And I remember saying to myself, I’m not taking that for granted, and I’m not going to ignore that lesson from this point forward, I’m going to get to know anybody, everybody, and spend as much time with them all showing them that I care about them, not just telling them that I care so that we can have this working relationship that will work over time.
Speaker 1 00:45:18 It’s all about respect for people,
Speaker 2 00:45:21 Right? No question. Simple
Speaker 1 00:45:24 Respect for people. Wow. Okay. Fel, we’ve taken up a ton of your time and I apologize. I just, would you mind giving us a couple of key takeaways based on your conversation that you would like to give to people before we go?
Speaker 2 00:45:38 Um, first of all, it’s been wonderful. I love talking manufacturing. I love talking leadership and I love talking to smart people. And obviously you guys are at the top, so thank you very much. You know, whenever you talk about a takeaway, something that, that someone will remember. I like telling stories because they serve as good anchors for lessons and people remember a story longer than they’ll remember a list of three, four, five things. So I hope someone will remember and take away something from our stories that we’ve shared today and not realize it was just me on a storytelling JAG, you know, but the one thing that I would probably, uh, remind people was one of the very first things that my first boss, my best boss taught me when I came into HR and I still practice it these 40 years later in whatever form or fashion would be appropriate.
Speaker 2 00:46:34 He said to me, and I took it at face value. He said, spend 30 minutes a day on the shop floor, 30 minutes a day on the shop floor. Now that could also mean the office floor that that’s, that’s wandering around, spend 30 minutes a day. And I remember asking him as a young HR person doing what he said, don’t worry about it. Just spend 30 minutes a day on the plant floor. I remember the very first thing I did. I went out, you know, and I literally, this is embarrassing to admit, but I literally didn’t know what to do. I was scared to death and I set my watch. All right, 30 minutes from this minute, I get to leave this place. So I would go out on the plant floor, time, myself, walk around. And all I started doing was introducing myself. Hi, I don’t think we’ve met.
Speaker 2 00:47:23 I’m feel stick out my hand. They’re suspicious. What are you trying to do? Nothing just ignorant. I don’t know what you do. I don’t know anything about this machine. I’m feel. Can you give me a quick overview of the machine? Yeah, they talked to me for two minutes. I go, okay, don’t want to interrupt you anymore. I’ve got to go, go stick out my hand. They’re still watching me with other people, you know, and I did that. And as soon as starting misses over man, not hot Taylor back into my office where it was safe, but the next day I do it again and the next day and the next day and the next day. And here’s the cool thing. I can’t tell you how long it took. It may have been a month. It may have been six weeks, but I remember the first time I’m walking through there, not enjoying the experience at all.
Speaker 2 00:48:09 When all of a sudden I heard someone go, Hey, Phil, come here. I got a question for you. And that was that barrier. That was that wall. And once that wall was broken, then all of a sudden I couldn’t get through the plant in 30 minutes for people stopping and talking. And before long, I knew everyone’s name. And before long I knew them and their family members. Do you understand where I’m going with this? So if I could give one takeaway, spend less time in the office, more time in the presence of your followers, sit down, even if you don’t have a discernible reason for doing so. And even if you can’t explain what you were talking about, I felt like I needed to spend some time with John and Jim and Fred and, and, and Elizabeth and Sally, et cetera. I promise based on my personal experience and on the experience of others that I’ve shared this with over a year, over the years, who’ve taken to heart. This recommendation, you will not be sorry about that time paid in the distance in the future. It will pay dividends because the relationships that are built and the trust that is harboured, that would be my one takeaway from this experience that I think would be helpful to anyone at any point in their career, but especially early in their career, that would be my recommendation.
Speaker 1 00:49:34 Fantastic. I knew it was a good idea to have you on as a guest. Thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 2 00:49:41 Well, this has been a great thrill. I hope that your, your viewers and your participants find great value in it. I’d be happy to talk to anybody about, uh, what we’ve talked about today or anything else if they think that’s valuable, but thank you for what you’re doing. You’re an excellent interviewer, Janet. We appreciate that and give them thank you for what you’re doing all over the world. We all have a place to part, to play in a place to play it. And I appreciate this opportunity to be a part of it today.
Speaker 1 00:50:10 Well, however you want again, Phil, thank you so much. Phil Van Hooser is an award-winning keynote speaker. He is a leadership trainer and an author, and he focuses on engaged leadership and communication. And it sounds like he does both very well. Thank you to Phil. Thanks again. Good to see you, Kevin.
Speaker 0 00:50:31 Thank you. And thank you. Fail this, uh, beautiful. Um, I love the way that you speak and I love what you’re saying. And I so important that people on the manufacturing floor feel recognized. And you said everything you can possibly say about that. So thank you.
Speaker 1 00:50:49 That is our show. This week, please check out our Twitter and LinkedIn feeds that are on our podcast page, subscribe and share the podcast. If you like with your friends and colleagues through iTunes, Google play, Stitcher, Spotify, and YouTube. And uh, until next time, I guess I’m Janet Eastman. Thanks very much for listening to Make It Right podcast.