Tag

Lucky's Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2018

What Is Character?



I have always believed that to be a person of strong character, you have to do the right thing when nobody is looking.  That is what this article is about, character. It is easy to do the right thing when all eyes are on you or to do the right thing knowing you will be praised for the act. But what about when no one is looking, or if the act will happen without you getting any acknowledgment?

I have always hired based on character, attitude, and aptitude rather than focusing on skills or experience. Skills can be learned, and experience means nothing if the experience someone has gained was in doing things wrong. Yesterday this hiring process resulted in an unexpected return. To tell the story, I have to go back several months to a service call performed by one of my team members.
Tony had a service call for a store we had under contract that was located in a large strip mall. When he completed his job, he was backing out to return to the shop and ended up backing into a light pole. This accident happened despite all the time and effort we put into training our team members in defensive driving and being aware of their surroundings. Now when he hit the pole, it didn’t knock the pole down, but it did cause a pretty significant dent in the side of the pole which damaged the structural integrity.

Our contract was with a company that occupied one of the stores located in the strip mall, not the strip mall. Since Tony parked towards the back of the parking lot, it would have been very easy for him to drive off and not tell anyone what had happened. However Tony was a person of strong character. So he immediately called his manager, Patrick and told him what happened.  This had to be a hard decision for Tony since he knew that calling in with an accident was not going to be a fun conversation, and would also require Tony to complete our company’s safe driving training all over again.

Once Patrick assessed that Tony was ok and no one was hurt, Patrick told Tony to see if there was a management office at the strip mall so we could report to them what happened. After Tony told Patrick he could not find any management office, Patrick told Tony to fill out an incident report, and wait for Patrick to see if he could reach someone at the strip mall’s management company.

Patrick was finally able to get in contact with Will, the property manager for the strip mall. Patrick explained what had transpired, and requested that Will allow us to fix the pole. Will asked Patrick to send over a copy of our insurance and licensing to verify we were legally allowed to work on the lighting pole, but told Patrick that as long as we are a bona fide company, he would have no issue with allowing us to perform the repairs. Patrick let Tony know and had Tony disconnect power from the pole, take the pole down for safety, quarantine off the area, and then pack up and head back to the shop.

Patrick called around to find the same exact pole to match the one that was damaged. Once he found the proper pole, he was informed there was a four week lead time before we could receive the pole. Patrick called Will, the strip mall manager, and informed him of the lead time, but assured him that we would verify the safety of the work area and as soon as the pole comes in we would be back out the next day and make the repairs. Will told Patrick that would be fine, but asked Patrick if he could change out the heads to LEDs since we were there anyway. He wanted his boss to see the difference between the existing HID lighting and the LEDs light spectrum. Will further stated we could send him a bill for the LED heads. Patrick told Will he would be happy to replace the heads with LEDs and that we would cover the cost difference to make up for all the trouble we caused. Will was ecstatic and thanked Patrick profusely. 

Four weeks later the pole came in, and Patrick notified Will and scheduled a crew to replace the pole. When Patrick called Will to let him know that the new pole was installed and working, Will thanked him and said he would be in touch. 

About a week later, Will called Patrick back and told him he was able to show his boss the LED lights, and his boss was sold on retrofitting out the entire parking lot with LED fixtures to replace the older HID fixtures. Will asked Patrick to get him a price and he would send it up to his boss for approval. Later that day Patrick sent the price, and by the following day, the purchase order was cut.

Patrick called Will after receiving the purchase order to thank him for the business and to set up a schedule for when we could plan the work. Will let Patrick know that the reason we got the work was because of the way we handled things with the damaged pole. Will immediately recognized the character it took for us to notify him about the accident. But that wasn’t all, he went on to tell Patrick that the way we did the work and how safe we were with quarantining the area also impressed his boss. Finally, he stated that our level of communication and the fact that we made his job so easy, he literally didn’t have to do anything and the pole was fixed and in better condition than before, is the reason we have earned their business. Will closed the phone call with Patrick by saying that they manage 18 other properties in the area and they will exclusively be using us moving forward.


In this story, the example of true character was demonstrated several times. Not just by Tony, but by Patrick as well. It would have been easy for either Tony or Patrick just to disappear and not say anything about what happened. Chances are no one would have been caught. It also would have been easy for Patrick to charge the customer for the LED fixtures, and maybe even cover the labor in the markup. However, Patrick and Tony chose to do the right thing when no one was looking. In the end, they were rewarded for their character, but that wasn’t the reason they did what they did. Tony and Patrick were people of character; they couldn’t help it! We spend a lot of money on training; we constantly teach our team about providing the Ultimate Customer Experience and instructing the industry’s best practices. But in the end, you can’t teach character, you either have it, or you don’t. Luckily for me, I am surrounded by people of strong character, and that is the foundation for providing the Ultimate Customer Experience, even when nobody is looking!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Over the Edge



Today I wanted to write about the customer experience. While I have been called an expert in this area, I believe we all have to continually raise the bar if we want to continue to gain the competitive edge. Today I am going to tell you about my experience as a customer and where the contractor fell short.

Recently we had a bathroom remodel done in our home. We looked for the right contractor by asking many questions and reviewing several proposals from different contractors that wanted the job. We decided to go with; we will call them Company B. We choose Company B because we were talking directly with the owner and felt there was more of a personal touch by using them for our contractor of choice. There were several things discussed during the proposal stage, one of which being that I planned on doing all the electrical work myself since I am a licensed master electrician. 

Once we signed the contract Company B said they would be out the following week to start the demo. The first thing that happened was they were replacing a beam in our garage underneath the bathroom, and when it arrived, they offloaded it in our front yard. A 22-foot beam was just dropped in our yard with no warning. It just so happened that the next day was the schedule with our lawn guy to come out and cut our grass, which now couldn’t be done.

We reached out to the owner of Company B and told him that we need to have a schedule, so we know when people or materials are going to arrive. We can’t have surprises like this happened again. He apologized and said he would send a schedule. A couple of days later he called my wife and said that the demo crew would be there tomorrow. While this was some heads up, we still had not received a schedule. Since my wife didn’t have any hard plans, she said it was fine for them to come and start the demo that day.


Several people showed up that day, and started not only demo,but also started some of the improvements. I got home to a disaster but was glad to see progress. Then around 6 PM, after everyone left our doorbell rings and it is a plumber saying he is there to do work. We explained that I get up very early for work and I am usually in bed by 8 PM. The plumber said he wouldn’t be long, so my wife allowed him to work. The plumber didn’t leave until 10 PM and was banging and cursing the whole time. Later we found out that he was moonlighting and not a licensed plumber, so he had to work at night.

My wife received a call the next day from the owner telling her that the drywallers would be there the next day to start drywalling. I freaked out because how was I supposed to get the electric done if the drywall was already installed? I have a job, and it was made clear that I would need a weekend to work on the electric and get it done. The Owner told my wife it was only about an hour’s worth of work so he didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it when I got home. BTW, it wasn’t anywhere near an hours work; it was easily a full day’s work. Luckily, I was in a position that I could come home and get the work done, but it was a real inconvenience, and very poor planning and communication.

I could go on for pages and pages of all the horrible customer experiences we encountered during this four-week renovation, smoking in our home, leaving doors open with the A/C on for hours, cutting wood and drywall in the house, but I don’t want to bore everyone with all the details. Thank God it was only four weeks.

The owner did everything he could to try and make it up to us, but much of it could have been avoided had he just supplied us with a schedule and communicated better. One of the most important things to remember if you want to provide a great customer experience is respect. I teach this to every new team member we onboard. While we do not do any residential work, I think it is probably even more important if you do residential work to show the upmost respect to someone’s home and family when working. A simple schedule up front, better communication, and better training for his subs could have made a world of difference. 


We are planning another renovation in about six months, and we are still on the fence about giving Company B another shot. The owner did apologize, took our criticisms very well, and in the end, the completed job looks great! However, there are great lessons in respect and communication to be learned here to keep from pushing your customers over the edge.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Over The Edge



Today I wanted to write about the customer experience. While I have been called an expert in this area, I believe we all have to continually raise the bar if we want to continue to gain the competitive edge. Today I am going to tell you about my experience as a customer and where the contractor fell short.

Recently we had a bathroom remodel done in our home. We looked for the right contractor by asking many questions and reviewing several proposals from different contractors that wanted the job. We decided to go with; we will call them Company B. We choose Company B because we were talking directly with the owner and felt there was more of a personal touch by using them for our contractor of choice. There were several things discussed during the proposal stage, one of which being that I planned on doing all the electrical work myself since I am a licensed master electrician. 

Once we signed the contract Company B said they would be out the following week to start the demo. The first thing that happened was they were replacing a beam in our garage underneath the bathroom, and when it arrived, they offloaded it in our front yard. A 22-foot beam was just dropped in our yard with no warning. It just so happened that the next day was the schedule with our lawn guy to come out and cut our grass, which now couldn’t be done.

We reached out to the owner of Company B and told him that we need to have a schedule, so we know when people or materials are going to arrive. We can’t have surprises like this happened again. He apologized and said he would send a schedule. A couple of days later he called my wife and said that the demo crew would be there tomorrow. While this was some heads up, we still had not received a schedule. Since my wife didn’t have any hard plans, she said it was fine for them to come and start the demo that day.


Several people showed up that day, and started not only demo,but also started some of the improvements. I got home to a disaster but was glad to see progress. Then around 6 PM, after everyone left our doorbell rings and it is a plumber saying he is there to do work. We explained that I get up very early for work and I am usually in bed by 8 PM. The plumber said he wouldn’t be long, so my wife allowed him to work. The plumber didn’t leave until 10 PM and was banging and cursing the whole time. Later we found out that he was moonlighting and not a licensed plumber, so he had to work at night.

My wife received a call the next day from the owner telling her that the drywallers would be there the next day to start drywalling. I freaked out because how was I supposed to get the electric done if the drywall was already installed? I have a job, and it was made clear that I would need a weekend to work on the electric and get it done. The Owner told my wife it was only about an hour’s worth of work so he didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it when I got home. BTW, it wasn’t anywhere near an hours work; it was easily a full day’s work. Luckily, I was in a position that I could come home and get the work done, but it was a real inconvenience, and very poor planning and communication.

I could go on for pages and pages of all the horrible customer experiences we encountered during this four-week renovation, smoking in our home, leaving doors open with the A/C on for hours, cutting wood and drywall in the house, but I don’t want to bore everyone with all the details. Thank God it was only four weeks.

The owner did everything he could to try and make it up to us, but much of it could have been avoided had he just supplied us with a schedule and communicated better. One of the most important things to remember if you want to provide a great customer experience is respect. I teach this to every new team member we onboard. While we do not do any residential work, I think it is probably even more important if you do residential work to show the upmost respect to someone’s home and family when working. A simple schedule up front, better communication, and better training for his subs could have made a world of difference. 

We are planning another renovation in about six months, and we are still on the fence about giving Company B another shot. The owner did apologize, took our criticisms very well, and in the end, the completed job looks great! However, there are great lessons in respect and communication to be learned here to keep from pushing your customers over the edge.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Gotta Gain My Second



In today’s article I wanted to tell a story I haven’t told in a while. A few days back I was training a new team member on the Ultimate Customer Experience, and we got into talking about process improvement. We were both discussing how small incremental changes done consistently over time can have a huge impact on an organization. During this conversation, I was reminded of this story from my early football years. I used to use this story in many of my speaking engagements to explain the difference between good and great, so I figured I would share it today with everyone.

Many years ago when I was in high school, I played football for my high school team, the Southwest Miami High School Eagles. My primary position was Middle Linebacker, though I was known to play ironman football when needed. I was considered pretty good and had somewhat of a reputation around town. I will never forget when my coach came to me a few weeks before we were scheduled to play the South Miami High School Cobras. He was concerned about a defensive player that was known for eating quarterbacks. My coach asked me to play Left Guard for this game to try and slow this guy down, and give our quarterback a chance. I will admit I already had heard about this player and his almost superhuman strength and speed.

So over the next few weeks, I prepared by doing extra offensive drills, stepping things up in the weight room, and watching endless hours of film with my coach to make sure I was prepared and ready to knock this guy down a peg or two and continue our winning streak that year.
So after weeks of preparation, it was game time. We were the visiting team, so we arrived early to warm-up and start running drills. As we were warming up, I saw the guy I had been preparing for walk out of their locker room and start heading towards the field. I can remember thinking to myself, that is the guy all the drama has been about? He wasn’t that large in stature, and while you can tell he spent a lot of time in the weight room, he wasn’t what I expected. After warm-ups and before the start of the game, we had the ceremonial handshake portion where we all meet in the middle of the field before the start of the game. I went straight to him looked him straight in the eyes and said, “How are you doing? I heard you’re the second-best defensive player in Florida.” Without missing a beat and with a blank stare he said, “Funny, I heard the same thing about you.” After about what seemed like 5 seconds of hostile silence, he smiles and we started laughing. We chatted for about another 5 mins before we had to head to our sides of the field.
The Eagles won the coin toss, so we got the ball first. I was going to get to see what this guy was all about right out of the gate. As I trotted out onto the field, I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a little nervous, but I psyched myself up as usual and went into beast mode. We went into the huddle, and our coach had called a passing play on our first play. I know not very smart all things considered. Walking up to the line I started really getting fired up and was ready to hit someone. I hear the quarterback yell out; “Red 180, Red 180, set!” I don’t really remember hearing the hut part. Before I knew what happened, I was face down on the turf, feeling like I got hit by a train. I pulled myself up to my knees, shook my head and said to myself, “This is going to be a long day!”

 It was a long day. I never worked so hard in my life trying to keep this grizzly bear with pads away from our quarterback. My attempts failed when our star running back was leveled and had his shoulder dislocated by the monster.

After the game was over and we were beat badly, I went over to congratulate the man who showed me that I was not ready for the pros as I had lead myself to believe. As I complimented him on his gameplay he very humbly said thank you and went on to tell me what a great job I did. After scoffing off the compliment I said to him, I need to know what is your workout routine? How in the heck did you get so strong and fast? He went on to tell me, he gets up every morning at 4 AM and runs (notice he said runs, not jogs) almost five miles to school. The coach lets him workout in the weight room before class, so he spends about three hours working out before class, then showers and heads to class. Then, of course, he has weight training & football practice after school, which afterward he runs back home.

Completely astonished, I could only bring up the word “WOW!” He responded to that with, “I gotta gain my second!” Puzzled, I asked him what he meant. He went on to tell me that he grew up in a very poor household and spent time watching superior athletes. He started playing football at the age of three and knew he wanted to go pro. Not only go pro, but be the best ever. He went on to tell me that he noticed at a very early age while watching the Olympics, that the difference between the one who wins the gold and the one who comes in last is usually only about a second or two. He said, “Can you imagine training your whole life for a single opportunity, and then to lose by only one second? Not only lose, but not even win a medal?”  So he explained to me that is why he has to train so hard. He has to gain his second. If he wants a better life for himself and his family, if he wants to go pro, if he wants to be the best, then he needs to work harder than anyone else. If he wants to gain that second he has to put everything he has into getting that second. It is very rare that you would ever meet a teenager with that level of focus.

It has been many years since that day, but I still remember it as if it were yesterday. Not knowing it at the time, his words would set me on a path of always trying to gain a second. Whether you call it sharpening your ax, or gaining your second, the truth is, if you want to be the best, you have to work harder than anyone else at achieving your goals. I wake up every morning and ask myself, “what can I do today to make myself a better husband, a better father, a better leader?” I may not call it gaining my second, but there is no doubt that the superhuman Cobra I once faced help put me on the path I currently travel, an almost sick obsession with being the best at everything I do.

I have told this story several times in the past, and I am always asked; “So who is the superhuman guy?” his name was Derrick Thomas, the best defensive end to ever play in the NFL. I only wish I could have let him know before he died what an impact his words had on my life. Good luck and go gain your second!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

It’s In The Bag

It’s In The Bag



The other day my wife was telling me about an experience she had at the grocery store. She was checking out and noticed the special attention the bag boy was paying to her weekly purchases. She went on to tell me that he was very considerate in the way he took the time to organize the contents, keeping the cold products together, not bagging the bread or eggs under something heavy, etc. We all know that some of this is just plain common sense; however she went on to point out that he didn’t mix any of the cleaning chemicals with the food bags, and kept the chips from being crushed into bits. He also took the time to make sure that the bags were not overloaded or too heavy, just a little extra on his part went a long way with my wife.

My wife made it a point to tell the bag boy what a great job he did. He was very thankful and said he had just started there. My wife, being the person she is, went over to the manager to let him know what a fantastic job the bag boy did. The manager thanked her, then walked over and complimented the new hire on a job well done. Then to her surprise, that manager told her that he was going to hold a meeting with all of the bagging personnel to make sure that everyone understood the process this new employee had used, and to make it store policy from that point forward.

There are so many lessons to be learned here:

The importance of customer feedback: As I have explained in multiple articles, you have to know what your customers are thinking. You also need to react and modify your procedures to promote the best possible customer experience.

Catching your team members doing something right:  The manager could have easily waited to say something to the bag boy, or even overlooked such a compliment. But he didn’t! He stopped what he was doing and went right over to compliment him.

The power of NOW:  The manager made it a point to change standard procedure right then to enhance the customer experience. There was no waiting around, submitting ideas, waiting for approvals. He implemented something that had a direct effect on the customer without hesitation, a man after my own heart.

I am pleased to say for the record this was a Publix supermarket. Publix has a reputation for great customer service and this is why. They empower their managers to make decisions that directly affect the customer experience and help the bottom line. (No, I do not own any stock in Publix; in fact I don’t even have any friends or family that work there. I just believe in giving recognition where it is due.)


Everyone can learn from this story. It is not necessarily the big promotional events and advertising that makes the difference. It’s not always about the lowest price! The real difference is in the small things that you do for your customer to make them feel special and let them know you care. My father always told me that, “anything worth doing is worth doing right”. Luckily for Publix, this bag boy understood that also, and made a difference to a major corporation. While most people would think of a bag boy as a position of low importance, the fact is that anyone can make a difference, and you need to instill a culture where everyone can contribute to the best practices of your company. You need to immediately compliment your team when they do something right and you need to use the power of NOW. Why? 

Because, if you do, the rest will be in the bag!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

How Do You Eat An Elephant?



Overwhelmed? In this article I wanted to talk about just that, being overwhelmed. One of the most common questions I get asked is, “How are you able to do everything you do?” While it comes down to two major principles, one, knowing how to say no, and two, having good time management skills, that doesn’t mean I don’t get overwhelmed. Even the best-laid plans can lead to frustration or the feeling of being overwhelmed. Let me explain.

Many years ago I started with a new company and I was given two separate jobs to oversee as a Project Manager. They were roughly 100 miles apart and both jobs were already in the red and had customers and team members that were very upset. One of the jobs in particular was a complete mess. The job had a total of six phases and overall was very complex. The job was roughly 40% done on the first phase but had already spent over 80% of the entire budget for all six phases. On Monday, my first day on the job, I was verbally assaulted by the management team of the customer, as well as the superintendent for our company and several of our foremen. Apparently, the previous manager’s way to deal with being over budget was to not order any more material or equipment. This caused everyone on site to become frustrated. To make things even worse, the previous manager never reported anything in his projections to the main office about the fact that this project was going to lose money.

So my first step was to call our construction manager and let him know the condition of the project. His name was Jim, and as I was explaining to him what was going on he asked me, “Why do you think the job will run over budget?” I told him that it doesn’t take a CPA to figure out that if we are only 40% done with phase one and we have already spent 80% of the total budget, this job was going to lose money! His next question was how do I know that we are only 40% done with the first phase? Slightly offended, I started reading off my resume to him, and told him, based off the years I had in the trade I could assure him that we were about 40% done with phase one. He then said, “About? Before you told me we were 40%. So, which is it? 40% or about 40%?”

Nothing but silence filled the air. Before I could speak again, Jim spoke up and told me he wasn’t trying to be difficult. However, before we go to the President and tell him the job is going to lose money we need more than gray hair and guts as evidence. I didn’t know it then, but this was going to be my first lesson in being a quantitative manager and not an emotional manager, a skill that would be extremely beneficial over the remainder of my career.

After a job site visit on that Thursday from Jim he agreed we were in a pickle, to say the least. He then told me he wanted me to do a complete take-off of the entire job, what has been installed and what has yet to be installed. Then he wanted me to meet him in the main office at 7:00 AM on Monday. We would review the takeoff, compare it against what had been spent to date, and put together a revised projection of where this job would finish based on my takeoff.  Finally, once we had completed a full evaluation of the current condition of the project, we would meet with the president of the company and inform him about the bad news. Are you kidding me, I thought to myself! It is 3:00 PM on Thursday and you want me to do an entire take-off a 6MM dollar project that has six different phases and is highly complex?  Oh yeah, and then after my first week at the company, you want me to sit in front of the president of the company and tell him that this job is going lose millions of dollars? Again, this was all said on the inside. After biting my tongue, I explained to Jim I didn’t think I would be able to get an accurate take-off together that quickly. I further explained that I hadn’t even wrapped my head around the entire scope of work we were performing, not to mention review the contract, outstanding purchase orders, etc, etc, etc.  Jim patted me on the back and said relax and take a deep breath Lucky. I have faith in you that you can get this done on time.

 Jim affirmed it was an extremely complex project with a lot of moving parts, but then he asked me, “Lucky, how do you eat an elephant?” I stared at him completely baffled. Jim smiled and said if you look at an elephant it is quite intimidating. If someone said you had to eat an elephant, your first thought would be there is no way to complete such a task! I wouldn’t even know where to start. So Jim asked again, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Over the years I can still picture myself standing in the parking lot listening to Jim asking me that question. In today’s world, it is so easy to become overwhelmed. What with smartphones and computers we are always connected to our stressful environments. The ironic part is that we can still feel all alone in the battle. Many times it is easy to feel like you are on an island all by yourself. However, remember that you are rarely alone, and there are people that can help.

One of the main reasons people get overwhelmed is because they are too afraid, or too proud to ask for help. You need to remember your position is not unique and that many others have been in your position before, they had to learn how to handle those exact same problems. No one is born with total knowledge. If someone is in a leadership position, there is no doubt they made mistakes and had to learn how to do what they now make look so easy. Ask them for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but the total opposite. Asking for help shows that you have the strength and confidence to say I don’t know how to get this accomplished.


When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, the best action you can take is to break down what needs to be done into small bite-sized pieces. In the movie “What About Bob” (hilarious), they refer to this as ‘baby steps’, but either term is correct. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, just stop, take a deep breath, and break down the tasks into small bite-sized pieces, because in the end… How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

My Mom The Manager



This week I wanted to talk about being an effective manager and leader. In most of my articles, I talk about some of the amazing people I have had the opportunity to work with and the effect they had on my professional career. No doubt you have heard me talk about my father and the influences he has had on my life. But today I wanted to talk about my mother. Why? Because I think that many of the qualities that one needs to be a great leader are the same qualities we learn from our mother. In today’s article, I am going to touch on a few important traits that are needed to be an effective leader and how they relate to our earliest remembrances of learning.

While I believe there are 22 main qualities, skills, or traits you need to be an effective leader I am only going to touch on three for the purpose of this article. At the end of the article, I will add the complete list of these qualities, skills, or traits with no elaboration that I believe are needed in order to be an outstanding leader in today’s world.

Quality 1: Stoicism – I believe this must be one of the most important qualities of a true leader. You need always to keep everyone pointed in the right direction and emotionally charged to stay on track and achieve the goals you have set. My mom was an expert at this; I can remember growing up and just being a happy kid. My mom would take me to the park or just for a walk down “Miracle Mile” in Coral Gables. It didn’t cost anything, but these are some of my fondest memories. Little did I know that the reason we went for walks was because we didn’t have money to go anywhere else. My mom would make a game out of collecting green stamps and putting them in the books. Then after we had filled up enough books, she would take me to the green stamp store to spend on a toy. We would go to second-hand stores for clothes, but she made it a fun activity, making it feel like a treasure hunt. She never let on that we were struggling even to put food on the table. To me everything was great. This trait is important for a leader in today’s world. As managers, we all face some very tough times and it is easy to vent or show our emotion, but we need to contain these feelings and keep our team positive and focused. If you show your struggles, you can cause worry or panic amongst your team, and in most cases, it isn’t something about which they need to be concerned. It is your job to shield your team from the pressure and stress. They will have enough of their own stress and pressure to deal with, so don’t add your load to their shoulders.

Quality 2: Empathy – Having empathy and actually caring about your team, is one of the most overlooked qualities a leader needs. I don’t need to go into a whole lot of examples of how my mother would constantly show how much she cared, or how she could tell when I was feeling down and would find ways to cheer me up or take my mind off my worries. Most everyone can relate to the fact that your mother loved and cared about you and had her own way of lifting your spirits. I say that empathy is a lost skill in management today because too many people try to fake empathy and caring about their team. I believe that as a leader it is your responsibility to help every team member you have to be as successful as they can possibly be, both at work and in life. You truly have to care about them and their families. A true leader must understand that everything isn’t about what they need and sometimes life gets in the way of their team. I used to teach about balance and making sure that your team had a balanced life. However, in today’s world, it is getting harder and harder for anyone to find balance with the completely connected world of devices we all share. But, we still need to be empathetic to our team and always try to see everything from their perspective before reacting.

Quality 3: Patience – This is also one of the top skills a leader needs. It is also one of the most difficult to achieve. While many of you reading this article might not have had a mother that exercised great patience, my mother had the patience of a saint. Lord knows I tested it on a daily bases. Whether it was starting a fire by accident in one of the rooms of our house, or breaking a glass insert by the front door, my mother would always listen to me before reacting. Now don’t get me wrong, once she listened, if I was in the wrong or just a plain idiot, there were consequences, but that was yet another great leadership quality she possessed. In the quick paced world we live in today, it can be very difficult to stop what you are doing, clear your head, and take the time to listen to a team member’s question, explanation, or excuses. I know in my case many times I am going at a hundred miles an hour and just want to get past this issue and back to what I was doing. This is one area that I will always be working to improve in myself. But I promise if you practice patience you will start hearing things that will help not only you becoming a better manager, but also helping your entire team become a better unit. Many times when there is a problem it exists across your entire company, and only by practicing patience and active listening can you identify the issue and correct the problem permanently.

As I said, I am going to keep this article short and only cover these three qualities but believe me; I could write a book if I went more in-depth on each quality and covered all 22 traits I believe are required. Also, please understand that I know I will hear from many of you that I forgot some important qualities, and you are probably correct. This isn’t meant to be a complete, all-encompassing list, but from my experience, this covers some of the top qualities needed to be an effective leader.

As promised below is the complete list, including the ones listed above, of qualities, skills, or traits I believe a true leader needs to be effective.

Humility          Empathy       Integrity       Authenticity     Inspirational             Accountability
Stoicism           Passionate        Patience      Visionary       Sense of Humor       Open Minded
Delegation       Empowerment        Mentorship                 Persistence               Approachable   
Communication   Insightfulness     Decisiveness               Positivity                  Generosity