I recently had the time to read a book by Howard Behar called “It’s Not About the Coffee” – Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks”. Behar makes a point about the dangers of any business simply being a seller of a commodity or a service. He states that for Starbucks to be successful in the long term, they will need to do more than sell expensive coffee. He goes on to state that Starbucks does exactly this, they deliver more value – “we’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people”.
This statement resonates strongly with us as eDeaf. We are not in the business of simply educating and placing Deaf students or providing these learners as staff to businesses. We are in the business of empowering possibilities and delivering solutions, and this is clear in our PARTNERED SOLUTIONS approached. This is what makes us stand out as a business and brand. We continuously strive to produce students who have the relevant skills and training needed, are of the highest standards and have the ability to do the job.
With the wide number of employees to choose from, it is easy for the businesses to not stand for anything less than excellence, and to simply take their business elsewhere. Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group of companies, was asked his viewpoint on employees within his business, and his approach to staff management, his answer was simple, yet highly effective answer to this – “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. In business it is vital that perception and reality match (both internally and externally). Investing in the right talent will help us to grow the business, for if we don’t, the talented will leave and we may just be left with those no one else wants.
Now we need to now ask ourselves two questions:
1. What does it mean to be an eDeaf manager?
2. How do the eDeaf values affect your leadership style?
Your performance and attitude as a manager has a direct impact on the success or failure of our business. The most difficult part of any manager’s job is that of people management. Getting the most out of all of those we deal with. There are many ways that we can strive to get the most out of our team here are some suggestions:
- Lead by example. This is possibly the most important trait you can posses. If you want your team to be on top of their admin, make sure that you are. How can you reprimand your team for arriving late for work when you do the same? Be the example to your team.
- Delegate. The key to your leadership success is to learn to effectively delegate both the responsibility for completing assignments and to give these team members the authority required to get the job done. Make sure your staff are empowered to make decisions and take actions necessary to get the job done.
- Set goals. Work with your team to set goals that you would like to achieve. If you want to achieve a 100% pass rate, set the goal as well as the steps you will take to achieve these goals. If possible try to align your goals to that of eDeaf, an example of this is the Jobs Fund target is 720 Deaf persons placed in Jobs, what can you do to assist with this?
- Communicate well. Be sure to clearly communicate what you expect from your staff. This however does not mean issuing orders to your staff, work together and find the best solution possible. It is important you guide your team rather than govern them.
- Stay Humble. Every master was once a beginner. And every professional began as an amateur. You were once an entry level employee. No one likes a person who is arrogant.
- There are no shortcuts. Working hard and working smart will pay off. Not only for yourself and your team, but for the business too.
Continuous professional development. Keep learning, keep striving to be more and achieve more. Lead by example.
All of these skills factors contribute to a well-rounded and highly effective leader and member of the eDeaf management team. We urge you to consider each and everyone of these elements as you move forward into becoming the best leader you can be.