How to be a leader that others followOct 09, 2023 03:52PM ● By Holly Curby
Part of Scott Harding’s team honoring him at his retirement party. (Photo courtesy of Christy Green)
World’s Best Boss.
At least those are the words on the mug of Dunder Mifflin’s boss, Michael Scott on the popular television series, “The Office.” However, how might you get to reach such status as a leader, without buying your own mug?
Oct. 16 is National Boss’s Day, and in effort of learning more about how to be a great boss, I sat down with one whose team not only would buy him such a mug, but who sees him as a leader they want to follow. Scott Harding recently retired from Larry H. Miller Honda in Murray as the general manager where he led a staff of roughly 100 employees on a daily basis. He served 26 years for the company (27 in the industry). He also served as the president of the Utah Honda Dealers Association, and he sat on the governor appointed board for the state of Utah that helped steer the Utah motor vehicle review committee.
When asking Harding about how he reached his leadership role he said, “Basically, most of my career in doing this it’s just kind of been evolution. One role led to the next, led to the next, led to the next, which is kind of a good way, because you can stair step your way up as you learn.”
The ongoing process of learning and having a growth mindset seems to be instrumental in being a strong and effective leader. One thing Harding said he has learned in his leadership role is to not expect others to be like you as the leader. “Everybody has their own personality, everybody finds their own way to find their groove or getting a stride. And one thing as a leader that can be very difficult is when you expect everyone to be just like you. That's not really healthy either in an environment of a team, because what makes great teams is multi-dimensional aspects of it and having people on your team that are better at things that maybe you're not as good at.”
So, how can you adapt to the multi-dimensional aspects of your team such as their personalities and talents?
1. Get to know your team. What makes them tick? What motivates them?
2. Connect with your team. Show care for them, invest time and energy in them.
3. Communicate with your team. Avoid assumptions by having direct communication with them. Ask the questions. Listen to what they have to say. Keep your team involved in and knowing what you’re talking about and clearly communicating expectations.
From there, Harding said that it’s key to ensure a concept that Jim Collins shares in his book “Good to Great” —getting the right people on the bus and then getting them in the right seat on the bus. Once we have the right people on the bus and in the right seat, we can become a leader they want to follow through the following ways:
1. Helping your team see your vision. When your team sees your vision, they can embrace it. Create their buy-in by teaching your team how you do something, or how you want them to do something and the benefit of and why behind why you want it done that way.
2. Making the tough decisions. These can be some of the loneliest days as a leader.
Whether that is to promote or not promote a team member, drawing hard lines on integrity issues, challenging people or even dismissing someone from your team.
3. Being honest. Do things in an honest way, train in an honest way, give honest feedback and honest expectations. Do what is right especially when no one is looking.
As Harding said, “We all follow somebody because we want to make sure that they're going to help us get to the next level, or they're going to help us provide for our family, or they're going to help us learn more about what will help us in life and/or in business.”
So, this Boss’s Day may we step up to the plate in being a leader that not only others want to follow, but that we would want to follow. May we also take the opportunity to thank those bosses who are paving the way for us both personally and professionally. Want to hear more of my interview with Harding, or learn more about being a better boss? Check out Holly’s Highlights podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts and at www.hollycurby.com. λ