A Leafy Roadblock

Recently, I tasked my two kids to help with the daunting task of raking what they thought was an endless pile of leaves – a chore they hadn’t helped with much previously due to their ability to help combined with my inability to not push them like I was pushed as a kid. Whispers from my father echoed in my head… “it’s work time, not play time” or “the sooner you start, the sooner we get outta here” or my favorite, “no time for a break, grab a rake.” Despite my father’s best intentions, he always had trouble getting us involved. I just hoped my kids were different.
I assured them both when we were done, we could go back to games, playing with the neighbor kids, our usual Saturday fun. Ten minutes into the project, I hear grumblings. “My hands hurt, I have dirt in my eyes, this isn’t fair!” Really? This wasn’t that bad and we’d be done in an hour if we all kept working.
After a huge internal battle fighting the urge to make a big scene – turns out, the roadblocks were simple. My son wanted gloves to prevent sores and blisters and my daughter wanted goggles to keep things from getting into her eyes. Once they had the desired tools, they were easily motivated to get the job done.
Roadblocks exist in many different shapes and sizes and differ from person to person. A part of being an effective leader is helping your staff identify and overcome barriers to getting the job done. Pausing and having an open conversation about roadblocks and motivation with your team can lead to a much better outcome. So, take time to listen to achieve better engagement and stronger culture while getting the job done.
Our experts at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center can help you improve your leadership skills. Learn more about our Leadership and Culture services here and view upcoming leadership courses here.
MEET OUR EXPERT: Charlie Westra, Director of Manufacturing Services
westra_c-WEB.jpgAs The Center's Director of Manufacturing Services, Charlie is responsible for overseeing 14 direct reports in the Manufacturing Services department. Charlie is dedicated to driving advancements in Michigan manufacturing, leading the effort to assist small to medium-sized manufacturers in applying Quality Management Systems, Lean Manufacturing and Transactional Tools & Techniques, Executive Coaching & Leadership Skills and Industry 4.0 manufacturing technology solutions. In addition to overseeing Manufacturing Services at The Center, Charlie provides management consulting to manufacturers, specializing in improving employee engagement with supervisory skills and leadership development. 
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Categories: Leadership/Culture, Manufacturing, workforce