By Rick Mullen, Maintenance Sales News Associate Editor
Opening his virtual presentation titled “Leading By Example,” Compass One Healthcare CESE Unit Director Gregory Gardner said, “The responsibilities of a leader can be very great, but the effectiveness of leader can be paramount.”
Gardner’s video presentation was part of the recent ISSA Show North America Virtual Experience.
During his discussion on leading by example, Gardner focused on a set of principles he calls the “Core Leader Value Flow,” which is as follows:
■ Once a leader shows “Respect” and “Integrity,” and shares a “Vision,” “Knowledge,” and “Inspiration,” he/she has “Earned the Right,” to expect “Results.” The leader can use his/her “Personal Courage” to suggest “Change” that may need to be made, and then holds those he/she is leading “Accountable.”
Gardner said everyone has the potential to be a leader in one form or another.
“Some leaders are more obvious than others, and some people have more leadership capabilities than others, but everybody can be a leader at something,” Gardner said.
For example, a person on a grounds crew might be the best at mowing. So, other people on the crew might look to that person for leadership when it comes to the best way to mow a lawn. In a restaurant, a person might be the best at making pancakes, or, at a cleaning company, one employee might be the best room cleaner. Other co-workers or team members will look to those people for expertise in carrying out tasks in the workplace.
“We all have basic core leader values,” Gardner said. “But, how we exercise those values varies from person to person.”
Gardner outlined the elements of the Core Leader Value Flow.
“It has been determined there are eight basic core leader values: respect, integrity, vision, knowledge, inspiration, results, personal courage and change,” Gardner said. “Accountability is what happens after going through the eight basic core leader values.”
The first core leader value, respect, is very pertinent, given the issues people are now facing, such as political unrest and the divisions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as whether or not to wear a mask or get vaccinated.
“A wise man told me, we are responsible for 50 percent of a relationship between two people. You are responsible for what you do and the other person is responsible for what he/she does,” Gardner said. “We just give respect. If we get respect back, great. If we don’t, that is on the other person in the relationship. Everybody wants respect, so give respect.”
The second element of the Core Leader Value Flow is integrity, defined by Gardner as “doing the right thing when no one is looking.”
“Integrity is doing what you say you are going to do,” Gardner said. “We all should conduct ourselves in an honest way. We all should do things the right way for the right reasons.
“Integrity is followed by a vision. A leader must share the bigger picture. He/she must outline goals and paint a picture of where the team is going.”
Knowledge involves education and training.
“The leader supplies what his/her team members or fellow workers need to know to enable them to make informed decisions,” Gardner said. “Inspiration is motivating people to do something. If you do this, we can do that. I’m going to give you this, if we are able to do that. This is what the reward will be.
“If you meet this goal, I will clean rooms for you. If you meet this goal, I’ll wash everybody’s car — whatever it is to inspire somebody to do something. The ultimate goal is to achieve results.”
Personal courage is often needed to make decisions involving change. People often don’t like change, but the leader must have the courage to do so to reach a desired goal or outcome, Gardner said.
“As a leader, I might have to do something different. I might have to put something else in place to get a different result,” Gardner said.
Sometimes it takes personal courage to stand up for what is needed to be successful. That might even involve confronting the boss or, at least, to be able to approach supervision to hash out issues that need to be resolved, Gardner said.
“I might have to use my personal courage to talk to the person to whom I report. A lot of people shy away from approaching their bosses to discuss issues,” Gardner said. “I always try to have a good open relationship with my boss, so I can say, ‘I didn’t agree with how this was done, can we talk about it?’ I’ve always been blessed to have a supervisor who says, ‘OK, let’s talk about it. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, let’s work this out.’
“Furthermore, I’ve always tried to emulate and be that person who says, ‘If you have an issue with something I am telling you, let’s talk about it. I’m not perfect. I’m not 100 percent right all the time. Let’s talk about it and make it right.’”
Ultimately, leaders must hold people accountable as the team and/or co-workers seek to reach stated goals, while working through the Core Leader Value Flow, Gardner said.
“We want the leaders of our teams, and/or the leaders within our workforce, to be respectful and conduct themselves with integrity. We want them to share and understand the vision,” Gardner said. “We want leaders to seek and impart knowledge. We want them to be able to inspire themselves and others. We want them to be able to achieve results, and, when needed, show personal courage to make changes, while holding themselves and others accountable. That is how the flow works.
“If I treat you with integrity and respect, and if I share my vision, knowledge and inspiration with you, at that point, I have earned the right to expect results. If not, I will use my personal courage to make a change, and ultimately, hold you accountable.
“Accountability is key. Those we are leading must understand we have to hold them accountable for their growth and ours.
“We have to help people tap into the core leader values. The only way we can do that is to have conversations, share information and help people to have a vision of what we want to accomplish.”
To illustrate how the Core Leader Value Flow can be applied in everyday life, Gardner gave the following example:
“I told my son to clean and vacuum his room,” Gardner said. “I provided him with a vacuum cleaner and gave him 30 minutes to get the job done. I told him, ‘When you are finished, we will go to the comic book store.’”
In that scenario, Gardner checked back in 30 minutes, and his son had not vacuumed his room.
“I didn’t get my end result, so I used my personal courage. I told my son he now has 15 minutes to vacuum the room. If he chooses not to, then he is going to be punished. I earned the right for a result I didn’t get. Personal courage — I made a change. I changed the time period, and I’m going to hold him accountable.
“In this basic example, I used respect and integrity. I gave him what he needed, as well as knowledge and inspiration. I shared a vision with him, and he chose not to complete the task.”