For all organizations, people are your greatest asset. The people who work in your organization determine the quality of your product or service as well as the client experience. It takes a special combination of humble agility and fierce competency to bring the kind of customer service that attracts and retains clients year after year.
At Leadr, we call this Blue Collar DNA. It’s one of our core values because this “willing to get your hands dirty” mentality is critical to quality work.
If you’re looking to build some Blue Collar DNA into your organization, here’s how you can explain this value to your team and encourage a go-getter attitude.
Not Being Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty
The idea of leadership can evoke the image of someone sitting in a nice office watching everyone else work all day. But good leaders know that is not reality.
Effective leadership means never seeing yourself as too important or high up to do the tedious but necessary tasks. When you roll up your sleeves and get to work on the “unenjoyable” tasks of your organization, you develop a fundamental understanding of every aspect of what it takes to run your business. When you pitch in on a task, you demonstrate a level of humility that inspires loyalty and teamwork in the people you work alongside. It takes the focus off your title and puts it on your attitude and actions.
One of our favorite Blue Collar DNA memories here at Leadr is when we moved into our first Plano office and had the entire staff working together to change lightbulbs, clean floors, and put together furniture. No job is too small for a winning team.
Job Descriptions Are Flexible
Accurate job descriptions can create role clarity - specifying the results we are expected to deliver. But they can also create role rigidity if people believe that their responsibility begins and ends with that description. There are times when projects require that you do what needs to be done, regardless of what your job description says.
When you view your job description as a guide, you are free to step outside of your current responsibilities to do what is needed to achieve greater results. This requires clear communication and humility so that tasks are not duplicated and nobody feels that they are unfairly having responsibilities taken away from them.
Value-Add is Priority #1
Being a value-add to your organization is about changing your mindset from “What does this organization add to my life?” to “What can I add to this organization?” It means looking for ways that you can make a marked difference in the profits, productivity, efficiency, or effectiveness of a department or organization.
Having an attitude of curiosity is a great way to begin identifying ways that you can be a value-add. Ask questions that explore the frustrations that customers might have with your business or product and then find solutions for those frustrations. Asking for feedback about your own performance can help you to find ways to improve your efficiency too.
Find a Way Mentality
Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist who studies how people find motivation, has found that people tend to fall into one of five mindsets when problems arise.
Cynicism: We have a problem, but they don’t want to solve it.
Pessimism: We have a problem, but we can’t solve it.
Optimism: We have a problem, and we can solve it.
Responsibility: We have a problem. Can I solve it?
Initiative: We have a problem. Here’s how I’m solving it.
When you work with an Initiative mindset, you have a “Find a Way” mentality. Sometimes this looks like having preset backup plans in anticipation of a problem. Other times, it is having the will to try creative solutions.
An organization who lives out the value of having Blue Collar DNA will not fail. Not everyone will exemplify each of these characteristics right off the bat, but with the right coaching and development, everyone can learn them. And developing skills like this is exactly why people development is critical. It takes time and resources to build the traits and skills needed for long-term organizational success.