Category Archives: Management Best Practices

flex execs servant leadership

When you hear the term “servant leadership,” you might ask what the term means and how it could apply to you in your job.  Perhaps you wonder if it would work in your role as the leader of a team.

The term itself comes from an essay written in 1970 by Robert Greenleaf. His thesis was that under servant leadership, the leader sets direction for the team and then gives them the support they need to accomplish the goals that have been set.

Is your team in need of a new full-time or interim manager in HR, marketing, finance or operations? Flex Execs Management Solutions can help you find the right person for your organization. How could a servant-leader benefit your team?

How Servant Leadership Works

Done as it was intended, servant leadership facilitates a strong corporate culture by building creativity and teamwork. Under this type of policy a CEO is saying, “I hired you for your skills; I’m trusting you to deliver.” This still means that a leader adopting this principle is always alert. Trust can be broken. The leader, however, will realize that a business generally thrives when people are trusted to do their jobs and given the resources and assistance to deliver the best work they can.

Steven Covey who wrote the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, once said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

Servant Leaders Are Highly Active

To be effective, servant leaders must know what is going on. The leader stays in contact with the staff but now has more freedom to stay on top of the industry and gather the information that will keep the organization competitive. At Flex Execs, we meet this type of executive often.

A CEO who has chosen to be a servant leader is fully knowledgeable about the functions of the staff and can work to bring two functions together in order to create cohesion and cooperation.

A servant leader needs humility to accept that she doesn’t always have the answer, and that leader needs the expertise to know when he or she must step in.

Servant Leaders Lead Highly Successful Businesses

The popular grocery store Wegmans, which has its home offices in New York State, is known for this style of leadership, and the company consistently makes Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For list.   Currently, they are #2 on that same list. They are known for empowering employees to make decisions and have grown because of it.

Whatever Your Leadership Style, We Can Help

Flex Execs Management Solutions has been helping businesses find interim managers with strong leadership skills for over 28 years. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business.

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flex execs help employees become problem solvers

Consider the following scenario: An employee comes to your office to report a serious issue that could result in a long-time customer taking a major account from your firm. Do you say you will take care of it? Or do you ask the employee what their plan is for solving the issue?

Feedback is Important

In his research of over 27,000 executives and employees, author and leadership trainer Mark Murphy found that only 23 percent of respondents said when they share their work problems with their leader, they always respond constructively. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 17 percent say their leader never responds constructively. Murphy’s best constructive response came down to this: “What’s your plan for solving this issue?”

If you work with employees to bring their solutions to life, they learn to develop and implement strong critical-thinking skills. Employees then feel more comfortable approaching you before an issue becomes critical.  Best of all, when you say those seven words, you will find that you won’t be drawn into every problem that comes along.

Trust is Earned

Managers who berate staff or who are quick to anger soon become managers whom almost everyone will avoid. This is not an effective way to help your employees provide better service and increase productivity – which could reflect poorly down the line on the manager’s reputation.

Fear Creates Tension

The work atmosphere is made up of many components, but fear is not constructive.  Research shows that relaxed minds really are more creative. Another benefit of building strong problem solvers is that building an employee’s confidence tends to build a positive work environment and ultimately strengthens an employee’s commitment to the organization. As if that weren’t enough, solving a problem successfully boosts a worker’s morale and gives individuals pride in what they do.

Author and business mentor Charbel Tadros best summed up the value of challenging employees to offer problem-solving plans when he said, “A highly paid, highly motivated employee who is not allowed to work with his full potential is like a Ferrari which is not allowed out of the garage.”

Want to Find Professionals Who Solve Problems?

If you need advice or have questions, contact the team at Flex Execs Management Solutions today. We help organizations of all sizes find interim professionals in HR, marketing and operations.

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When you manage people, you may sometimes ask yourself if you are leading your team the right way. President Theodore Roosevelt asked the same question since he is credited with having said, “A leader leads, and the boss drives.”

Which are you? Are you playing a role or do you know that you have a chance to positively impact the lives of your staff and actively work to do so?

What Makes You a Leader?

Harry Levinson was a psychologist who first looked into the role of the American worker in the 1950’s. He recognized a link between job conditions and emotional health, and he expressed the concept that great leaders are those who climb the corporate ladder with deep respect for the people below them. In contrast, a boss will often overlook the fact that a paper job description can only explain the roles and the tasks an individual needs to fulfill.

A leader sees a job description as more than a detailed list of tasks and responsibilities. Beyond that list must be a mutual agreement with every staff member that includes mutual trust and respect. Building that trust takes continuous commitment, but it is a commitment that a leader readily accepts.

How Leaders Separate Themselves from Bosses

A leader will be an exceptional manager because he or she treats their employees as partners in growth.  They will help their employees grow and help them develop their individual skills and talents.

Leaders provide honest feedback that is given with respect. This ensures both parties can enjoy open communication for the benefit of the accomplishment of the tasks at hand. When projects are completed successfully, leaders show people how their work skills and work ethic made a positive difference. They engage all those they come into contact with so those working in areas with low visibility feel valued and not anonymous. They lead with intelligence and skill, but also show heart.

Are Your New Hires More Like Bosses or Leaders?

A recent study from Boston College recognizes leadership as part of a range of soft skills and traits.  Hiring for individuals with such skills and consciously working to apply them can result in a 250 percent return based on investment and higher productivity and retention. If your organization needs more leaders to expand your growth in a competitive atmosphere, let us help you find the leaders who will help you thrive. Call the recruitment experts at Flex Execs Management Solutions today.

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flex execs set expectations contract hires

Once you have made the decision to engage a new contract employee, your next step is to determine how to best set expectations for their assignment.

Training an “on-demand” workforce generally requires rethinking the delivery of training you may have received or the training you provide to full-time hires. How will these contract employees interact with your full-time team? What is the scope of their responsibilities? How will you set expectations for what needs to be completed and what goals need to be met in the short-term?

Here are some guidelines your team can follow to set expectations for your contractors and help them make the best contribution they can.

Simple Techniques Can Drive Success When Working with Contract Employees

Entrepreneur magazine’s business coach, Marcus Erb, suggests that managers can increase the effectiveness of contract employees by meeting with them in person. If you’re working with a remote contractor, call them directly or set a video meeting with programs like Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom.

Meeting and setting expectations is important for all contract employees. Everyone is intimidated if they do not know exactly what their job entails. Remember that merely telling a contract employee to “check with” another employee if questions arise, leads to haphazard training and potential disappointment for everyone.

Position Agreements Set Standards That Lead to Excellence

To communicate the expectations, many experts now recommend the development of what can best be termed as a position agreement. Position agreements are designed to clarify an employee’s role. Because of that, they are applicable to any individual in that role and are not specific to only one individual.

To be most effective, position agreements tell employees exactly what results they are expected to achieve, what work tasks are required of them to achieve the result, and what standards will be expected of them as they complete their tasks.

When you write a position agreement, you are writing a document that is designed to propel the employee in the right direction in order to meet the actual goals of the company.  You are holding the employee accountable for job performance so that both the employee and the manager can each know what is expected and what each can expect the other to do. 

Let Flex Execs Help

Our success has been built on helping organizations in need of interim professionals. The team at Flex Execs Management Solutions is here to put our expertise to work for you. Contact us today!

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flex execs meet goals with reduced resources

When demand for products and services rise, maximizing the resources available to you becomes more important than ever. The key to your success in this kind of situation will require planning and sound strategy. It also means recognizing that working smarter rather than harder will see you through the challenges that lie ahead.

Business leaders have strong, positive forward-looking expectations for the second quarter of 2018, according to the RSM US Middle Market Business Index. Additionally, Flex Execs’ interim and full-time recruiting solutions help clients quickly fill positions on an interim or permanent basis to meet their management needs. Working towards these improving outlooks, how can you help your team maximize the resources available to you to meet your goals?

Develop a Strategic Vision for Accomplishing Goals

Communication among staff is a must if fluctuating demand schedules are to be met. This communication can take the form of in-person or on-line meetings coupled with calendar management, follow-up and prioritization. Whatever form it takes, integrating the communication plan into your structure is important. Good communication is the lifeblood of any relationship, whether business or personal.  In business, it is communication that can anticipate peaks in demand. This, in turn, will decrease the likelihood that a crisis will develop when demand rises.

In planning for increases in demand, think creatively regarding ways to put staff to the best use possible. Airlines, retail outlets and small businesses regularly use cross training to allow for flexibility. By planning for the training ahead of need, staff is available when demand rises but resources remain constant. For example, at Flex Execs, part of our mission is to help you meet the personnel requirements that come with rising demand.

Constantly Evaluate Your Resources and Plan for Optimization

Improvement in process and resources takes feedback. Hear and truly listen to the ideas of others. Doing this will help you refine your own thoughts and develop the plans you will need to meet increases in demand. Another “plus” is that it may lead to ideas that will help reduce costs. In short, new ideas, may be as close as an active team meeting in which everyone is asked to bring his or her ideas regarding a chosen topic. By taking just this simple step, you may be able to find ways to expand personnel options, creatively expand capacity, or explore ways to share equipment with nearby businesses.

Strategy Helps Your Team Quickly Respond to Changing Circumstances

Longtime Apple executive Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” We take that thought to heart.  Flex Execs is here to be part of your team.  Call us today.

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