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Monday, October 3, 2011

Job Model the Superstar

I’m working with a manufacturing company that is focused on developing its Team Leaders.  These Team Leaders are responsible for a particular unit of production work.   Recently, a team leader left, and the “best” team leader was given responsibility over the area that was left without a lead while continuing to maintain responsibility for his own area.   He doubled production in two weeks for the new area while maintaining strong production levels in his primary area.
In working to develop a way to measure, monitor and develop performance in these team leaders, we’ve decide to start by examining what makes this superstar team leader so successful.    After all, why would you want to develop performance measures for selection, training, and evaluation based on the mediocre? 
After some observation of this lead’s work here are some keys to his success as demonstrated through his behavior.
1.       He listens first and talks only when necessary.  When he does talk, it is positive.  He doesn’t complain. 
2.       He carries a small notepad around with him where he makes lists of work needed to be done and prioritizes accordingly.
3.       He stresses both quality and production to his people.  Some of his peers are so focused on getting production out the door that they sacrifice quality and are constantly plagued with re-work, thus facilitating the cycle of feeling like there isn’t enough time to get it all done.   In the superstar team leads world, there is enough time to get it all done and get it all done right because it is done right the first time.
4.       He assesses and coaches his subordinates as individuals.  Where one needs to be yelled at to motivate action, another needs to be quietly praised.  He figures this out and responds accordingly to drive results.
5.       He is specific in his instructions without being overbearing or micro-managing.  You won’t hear him say,  “I need you to try to get this done.”  He will say,  “This is to be done by Friday at Noon.”
6.       He asks questions and solicits feedback.  He will follow up with the statement,  “This is to be done by Friday at Noon” with, “What support do you need from me and our team to make sure this happens?”
7.       He gets rid of the poor performers (more on this in my next post).   After he has evaluated performance, worked to drive improvement and not seen it, he isn’t afraid to show them the door by firing them or helping them realize that this is not the right job for them.  Again, more on why this is important in my next post.
We’ll be taking these behaviors along with others and developing a competency model for team leaders.  We will then be using the competency model to drive the development of a performance evaluation and development matrix for the leads.  This will aid the company in selecting, evaluating and developing their talent.
To help us, what behaviors do your superstars demonstrate that drive performance?



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