Operations

Why Great Leaders Are “Extra”

Lexi Tucker
Posted on July 6, 2017

While the word extra carries multiple definitions, the younger crowd often uses it to mean “over the top.” Or, as the popular slang term site Urban Dictionary puts it, “doing the absolute damn most.” At times it can be used in a negative sense, as in saying someone is being a showoff or going above and beyond for unnecessary reasons. But I think it’s high time the limo crowd hijacked the term and made it a way of life.

The editors at LCT have written numerous articles on how to build a desired company culture, engage your employees, and encourage an atmosphere of teamwork and trust. There’s a reason it’s a hot topic across all kinds of business publications; Millennials aren’t the only generation who want to work in a place where they are treated as equals and shown how much they affect the company they belong to.

You’ve heard it time and again: It starts from the top, down. It’s up to you to be the example they strive to emulate — and that’s where being extra comes into play. I get it: You’re busy with so much on your plate you don’t even have time for yourself, etc. There are plenty of ways for you to “be the change you want to see” without trying to be everywhere at once.

  1. Ask for feedback and invest in the outcome

It’s likely you already send questionnaires to your clients to ensure their rides go smoothly. Naturally you want to do everything in your power to make sure your source of income stays happy and continues to spend with you and not your competitor. But do you take the same amount of care with those who work for you?

You don’t have to send out a questionnaire. In fact, you really shouldn’t. Show you care in an authentic way. Take a small group of employees out to lunch from time to time, maybe once a month. Rotate the people in those groups, and ask them how you can be a better manager. I guarantee they’ll be floored by the fact the owner of the company actually wants to know what’s working and what’s not. From there, make it a personal goal to change one thing that was mentioned at that lunch by the time the next one rolls around (within reason).

  1. Use old school methods of praise

Trust me: No matter how old someone is, they’ll never take a handwritten thank you card for granted. If you have a dispatcher who worked extra hours on a Friday during a busy period instead of going out and partying with friends, buy some nice stationary and tell them why you appreciate what they did.

For example, you want to write something like: “I know there are about a hundred other things you’d rather be doing on a Friday during happy hour, but you really took one for the team. I appreciate everything you do for us here at [company name] and value the difference you make. Enjoy your next drink on me,” and include a ten dollar bill or small gift card to a place you think they might like. But money is NOT the ultimate motivator as some like to think; I guarantee you the recognition means more.

  1. Don’t sit in your ivory tower

You’d be surprised at how your staff members crave feedback. I would argue if you want them to be proud of the job they do every day, you have to take the time to observe them and give them a hand when they need it. You have to remain accessible. Don’t sit in your office with a “do not disturb” sign plastered to your door.

Get out, walk among your employees, and even get into the car with your chauffeurs. Talk with them about their families and what they like to do in their free time. You may discover you have a lot in common, which can help strengthen your bond with them and make them feel like they have a reason to stay.

Be extra by taking just a few minutes every day to show you truly understand that without your employees, you would not, cannot, and do not exist.

LEXI TUCKER is LCT assistant editor and coordinator of the LCT Fast 40, a group of operators under 40 who collaborate and learn from each other about all aspects of chauffeured transportation. She can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: business management, company culture, employee management, LCTFast40, Lexi Tucker, Millennial Matters, Millennials, staff management

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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