In this episode, Heather speaks to Adam McCoy, Director of Employee Experience at Arrow Electronics and President of the Mile High Society of Human Resources Management. Adam talks about his leadership style, his unique view of his role as a leader, and his recommendations to all leaders in stressful situations.
- When you don’t shine and slip up, sit with the team, see what they think went wrong, and admit your mistakes.
- Seek feedback.
- Ensure authenticity.
- Be willing to share yourself, beneath the surface, with your people.
- Don’t create a team who needs a micromanaging leader.
- Take a moment to breathe.
This is a meaningful conversation with rich lessons for all listeners. Enjoy!
Adam is passionate about driving HR forward in an innovative, inclusive and collaborative way. He is a Global HR Executive with expertise in leading complex people programs. As the current Director of Employee Experience, he designs systems which drive the employee voice, such as collecting employee feedback through surveys and social media, etc. to retain talent across the global enterprise and further business excellence.
Adam is also the President of Mile High Society of Human Resources Management, which is the largest SHRM chapter in Colorado, and one of a handful of Super Mega Chapters, which have more than 1000 members.
A Lasting Mark
It’s a really deeply rooted desire to make a contribution. I want to leave a lasting mark. Whether it is people, processes, or projects to be wildly successful, I get a deep sense of satisfaction out of that. I certainly feel that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. In time, there’s something for us to gain from each other as a part of that relationship. The need for contribution, the need to have lasting relationships, and to add value to people, processes, or projects, probably sums up that drive for me.
When I’m leading folks, I ensure my authenticity by things that are very simple. I am not someone who over-complicates things.
I have a team that’s in my physical proximity. It’s saying good morning to every single person. It’s asking them how their weekend was. I’ve got one working project team member whose wife is going to be expecting their third child soon. So, I talk with him about that. It’s showing people that you care, and you mean it. You can walk the walk, but you certainly have to talk the talk, too. People produce more and come together as a more effective team when leaders show that they care.
Part of it is also by being willing to share yourself. Some leaders are uncomfortable with that. It’s not something you do when you find yourself in a jam. It’s something you have to do consistently to make sure that it pays off correctly. I do it out of absolute genuine interest in my people.
I don’t want to create a team of people who just sit and stare at their cubicle walls. They might get their work done faster, but I don’t want to create an environment like that.
Make sure the team is well-informed about what’s happening, not only about what they’re seeing, but also about what they’re not. Sometimes, high-stress moments can cause us to almost recoil. As I started to see what’s happening, I dug in hard to make sure that I could repair and recover, so people wouldn’t feel the stress too much. I probably bore a lot of it on myself. There are those really high-stress situation, and we all hope that auto-pilot kicks in. But it doesn’t always do. It’s important that when we have those moments, remember those and try to learn from them.
Try to teach others a better way for themselves, as they grow: What have a really learned through all of these? Here’s what a have learned. Here’s what I would like to have done better. I want to make sure that you are equipped, so that when you face something like this in your career, you’ll handle it even better.
Too often people don’t seek feedback. For me, being a leader is about that evolution to your comment earlier. There’s nothing wrong with doing sort of that post-mortem. There were some things that went really well. There were some things that didn’t. And, I was a part of that. That’s not a bad thing. We do grow a lot through those moments.
Step Back and Relax
We put so much pressure on ourselves. Our organizations are putting pressure on us, too. At the end of the end, the work will get done. The team will perform. Processes will take place. All of those things can be changed over time. They can’t all be changed in a day. I think people put a lot of stress on themselves when they shouldn’t. They shouldn’t let it sit there for a long time.
Be calm. I know a lot of leaders can get very frantic because they sense disappointment or failure somewhere in the process. But as long as we learn from those pieces, we will continue to grow the team and the business. You don’t need to gain those 10 extra gray hairs through that process.
I’ve mentored and counseled folks a lot over the years. I’ve asked a lot of them to take that step back, relax, and ask themselves if they’re really ultra-stressed or scared about something. What’s the proof? Are you making a rational observation, or is this something that’s just stuck in your head? Just take that moment to breathe.
Directing, so to speak, isn't necessarily equipping people the right way. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
I think that there are leaders out there who take a protectionist view about their work. They aren't actually working in their employees' best interests to grow. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
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