If there was one thing that disappointed me about last week’s Applied Ergonomics Conference it was Mother Nature. Plaguing Atlanta with 40-degree temperatures was cruel since the average normally hovers between the high 60s and low 70s. Luckily, the sessions I attended overshadowed the chill in the air.
Michelin North America Director of Ergonomics Bobbie Watts received many compliments following her session, Being an Effective Ergonomics Leader. Her delivery, passion, and knowledge of the subject were touted as “a session favorite” by several attendees in the audience. The key takeaways weren’t complicated. In fact, they were quite simple and could pertain to everyone, not just leaders. The five practices of exemplary leaders are:
- Model the way or be an example of how to treat and engage others.
- Inspire a shared vision. Get your team excited about a new project or a process to keep them wanting to be part of it.
- Challenge the process. Find out where the gaps are and take risks to fix them. Also, encourage others to take risks and recognize the wins (even the small ones) when doing so.
- Enable others to act. Exceptional leaders empower others by trusting and delegating tasks to them. If a leader doesn’t share responsibilities with their team members because they think their way is better, what do you think happens? Disengagement. Loss of enthusiasm for the work. Job insecurity. Loss of productivity.
- Encourage the heart. Show public appreciation on a job well done. If someone is opposed to the spotlight, recognize them in private.
For more information about how to be an effective leader, consider purchasing the book Watts referenced, “The Leadership Challenge” written by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.