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Of all the theoretical approaches to leadership out there, my person style might be termed either relational or transformative. This particular leadership style does not stress control, domination or manipulation, but rather the connections made, that is, the relations between those in leadership positions and those on “the floor” so to speak. What is stressed in this approach to leadership is the following: a. Participation and interaction between leadership and clients, stressing the reasons and purpose for the enterprise. b. Motivation is stressed because this is what is at the end of the participation.

If employees or followers can see the “big picture,” the real reason and purpose of the task at hand, this not only assists morale and purpose, but provides a moral basis for leadership in particular, and the enterprise in general. c. On occasion, this style of leadership is called “transformative. ” This means that a true leader is not merely supposed to give orders and expect them to be followed in a mechanistic fashion, but actually changes the mentality and purpose of those in the leader’s charge. d. lastly, this style of leadership is about job satisfaction for all involved.

Jobs and careers can seem repetitive and useless. They can have the air of being a “dead end” life even if this evaluation is false. Hence, the real purpose of leadership is to show the worker/client the real purpose behind the job. The various rewards that may not seem obvious and, importantly, integrating the work environment with the worker’s personal life, that is, that the work environment can actually reflect and embody the purposes and preferences of the worker himself rather than being a barrier, or an alien environment that one goes to because one is forced to.

Leadership in my position demands several things. It demands the ability to motivate employees to see the purpose in their work. This is not merely a job, but a hardware store, as simple as it may seem, is in fact organized around the concept of craftsmanship. In an age of mass production, real craftsmanship and skills are absolutely necessary not only to maintain standards and quality, but also to maintain the skills necessary to build and create. In the modern hyper-specialized world, the number of people who can actually be called professional craftsmen is very few.

A serious manager in the hardware industry is aware of this problem and must seek ways to overcome it. Motivation for employees or clients can not merely be one of degrees: manager versus employee or client. It must show the ability to see the big picture behind the question of craftsmanship and education: the skills necessary to create and build in a plastic and mass-produced world. This is immensely important and is the true basis behind the hardware business.

The major chains such as Lowes offer seminars and project advisors precisely with this in mind: the hardware business, whether on a large or small scale, cannot function without a constant influx of people who know how to create, true craftsmen who can create unique works and challenge the standardized world of mass production and plasticity. 2. Motivation Motivation is clearly connected with the idea of leadership. However, it does exist in its own psychological mold and needs to be taken seriously. There are two general approaches necessary, in my view, to motivate workers, clients and others around me.

The first is often called the ERG approach to motivation, and this can be reduced to three entities. These are: a. Existence: this is the most simple. We realize that we must work not only to live, but to have a purpose and meaning in our lives, no matter how simple the task: we work because we need to, not only because we enjoy eating and having a roof over our heads, but we also want to be considered as productive and supportive members of society. b. The second element above is similar to this: the so-called relatedness factor. This means that we work, we do tasks that society considers important.

Clearly craftsmanship and building skills are important, no matter how small the task. One who works at a hardware store is providing an important service: providing the tools and the skills to perform tasks of home improvement, craftsmanship and the production of new homes and businesses. If we have these ideas in mind during our working hours, the hardware business is not merely a job, but an important element of our social world. c. Maybe the most important here is the factor of “growth. ” This refers to the idea that we use our jobs and the demands it places on us to continually hone our skills.

For us in this line of work, it is a very simple thing to see: craftsmanship is a constant process. These skills are not easy to obtain and must be kept sharp. Growth is even important for our clients because we see how easy it is for a homeowner to merely hire someone to do a task, rather than work at it themselves. But we also know that the more real craftsmen, continually working on their skills out there, the better. The better for us in this business, but the better for society that might see families become more self reliant and artistically motivated in working on homes, gardens or businesses.

But over the years I’ve also come to respect the so called “intrinsic” model of motivational rewards, the second important idea here. This is very significant in that it seeks to see one’s labor as part of a basically self-motivated purpose. Its opposite is extrinsic motivation, and it seems to me that this is the weakest of all motivations, in that it depends on some kind of external compulsion. Such compulsion guarantees a lack of job satisfaction and possible rebellion of employees and clients. In other words, it creates function if one acts solely from external compulsion.

For us in this business, what is important is that our love of craftsmanship be brought over into our work. This is central. This means that our work is continuous with our love of this kind of labor and artistry, and, importantly, that this love of craftsmanship be extended and communicated to the clients, when then will be motivated to either acquire the skills necessary for these sorts of projects or at least, come to us for assistance, where we can share skills and sort of create a “community” of interest that can benefit us financially, personally and professionally.

All of out advertising approaches motivate this way, it stresses the importance and rewards connected to a love of craftsmanship. If we cannot communicate this to employees and clients, then we’re just a store and our work is just a job. Hence, motivation is crucially important. 3. Decision Making This is a difficult area. There are two levels to this process: the first is the actual approach to a problem, the process we mentally go though to reach a conclusion, and then there is the actual motivation behind the decision itself.

This is a very important area since, in today’s economy climate, one bad financial decision can spell ruin. Therefore, this section needs to be dealt with carefully. First, there is the thinking process. It seems to be that, looking back, the question of the reliability of sources is the primary motivation for certain decisions. In a field that stresses craftsmanship, this is essential. It actually simplifies the process quite a bit, since those with the greatest skills often carry more weight in their arguments than a beginner.

But this also means that the process of hiring workers might well derive from their own skill level. Further, this means that the skill in using tools in various situations is more important than some one who can effectively sell products. This is a crucial distinction because a true craftsman is not interested in a salesman. He is interested in a worker who knows his material and who can give good advice on completing projects effectively. Much of the time, these are two different people. The good salesman is not skilled in craftsmanship and vice versa.

But given everything said above, ti seems that the craftsman who is looking for some extra money is a better bet as an employee than a good salesman. What is being said here is that content is more important. We need skill, since that, in the long run, will have customers coming back with substantial interests and questions that can integrate the hardware business with the community as a whole and the revival of craftsmanship. But this is closely connected with the idea of my thought process in this business (or any business) in that those with the most skill and experience will carry more weight than those without.

Hence, the credibility of sources comes first, since we are dealing here with a measurable set of skills, with design, tool use, safety, efficiency, etc. It seems that, in the short run, one would be tempted to do what would make the most money for the store, but the long run says that having motivated and skilled employees is more important, for it creates a bond between the client and the store: it must be stress that we are not merely selling machines, but are interested in skills and crafts just as much as selling products.

Furthermore, that these two things are not mutually exclusive. But in terms of the actual decision itself, I seem to approach these things from the point of view of “multi-attribute” choice. This is a fancy way of explaining a system where one approaches decision based on the selective use of criterion. That is, when one is approaching hiring an accountant, one is not really interested in whether or not he can build a deck on his house. We narrow this to two criteria: his honesty and his effectiveness at the job.

For a floor worker, it is, first, knowledge of the materials and second, his ability to interact with clients. But this latter means that he must have the skills to give advice on many types of projects, and hence, selling ability must be connected to this. For example, I am in the process of hiring floor workers. I have two choices, two men, one of whom is very pleasant and a good salesman, but only is a beginner in terms of skills with the material. I have another who knows the material very well, but is not nearly as interactive. This is an important problem.

But given all I’ve said above, it seems that the decision would fall to the latter, since clients are interested in competence, not necessarily in personality. We can assume the second candidate is not a complete jerk, but just not nearly as pleasant as the first. So given this lack of extremes. The one with the best skill in materials use would be the proper choice. 4. Ethics This area is a little easier than the previous ones. Ethics is a long term commitment. In terms of the hardware and home improvement business, whether wholesale or retail, the central issue is honesty.

Making a quick sale to a client who may not be as skilled as the salesman in terms of tool use is repulsive and can destroy a business and one’s reputation if kept up over time. Since this business is heavily skill-oriented, it is easy for a dishonest salesman to put one over on an elderly woman, for example, who knows little about hardware. The basic approach is this: act as if your rules, the rules you work by, can become a universal law of business. What does this mean? It is a rather famous approach to ethical decisions, and it really comes down to ethical rules that can easily be made universal.

If one is being dishonest, for example, selling a very expensive item to a clueless customer when a much cheaper substitute would be just as effective, consider that act to be used consistently and universally. Could such a society function? Of course not. Such a society would almost immediately self-destruct. Therefore, the conclusion is that if I behave dishonesty in a retail environment, then I am making an exception of myself: I am allowed to act this way, but if someone were to do this to my mother, I would be outraged. This is inconsistent and a contradiction.

Hence, this is a simple approach to ethical problems: if I can not make my action a universal rule, I don’t do it. There many be some short term problems with this, but the long term issue is a good reputation and public trust, which is essential. Ethical goals have two purposes: the first is to gain a good reputation, which is both good for the business and good for my own prospects. But, just as important, it also is crucial for my own sense of well being. Dishonesty is not just telling lies and manipulating clients, it’s a lifestyle where reality is reduced to your own interests and desire for quick cash.

5. Communications This is a more difficult area than ethics. It does not admit of easy to use maxims and ideas. But it is related to the above in that communications is the way one relates to clients and employees. Over time, I have come across 4 basic approaches to conversation, whether it be with clients or employees. a. That what I tell a client is true, that is, completely true. I offer all information that might possible impinge on a project. This might take a while, but is important in building trust and maintaining ethical integrity. b.

That what I tell a client is true, but I do not say everything that might impinge on a project. This is a bit of a problem. I am not lying here, but I may leave out truths more or less important either on the basis of time, or for the desire to make a sale. This is a very difficult thing to avoid in day to day work in this field. There are no easy answers: I may give advice about a product that will work well for the client under most circumstances. However, I fail to mention several types of circumstances where a product will not work. I have not told a single lie and I have been helpful with a customer.

But the fact that I did not say that such a product might not work under various (let’s say rare) conditions might have no relevance, it might destroy the project under consideration. c. But then I might consider that clients do not necessary tell me everything about what they are using the product for. Hence, I am ethically off the hook in telling them every possible problem that may or may not arise with a certain product, even if I do have the time to spend. In other words, I am conforming my communication with the customer to what the customer has said, rather than about the product or project.

This is a completely different approach. d. The last element is that the manner in which I speak is consistent with both my skill level and my non-verbal communication. To distort the truth or selectively use the truth when dealing with a client often has non-verbal attributes such as shifty eyes or quick answers. When one is being honest, one does not do this, but looks the client in the eye, proving a certain level of comfort, especially for a client that is more or less ignorant about tool use and skills.

Therefore, the conclusion is that the best, most honest and most efficient matter of communications is to customize the information I present by attaching it not so much to the product, but to what the client has expressed as his purpose for using the product. Hence, I can be fully honest, yet am not obligated to say everything that may or may not go wrong with the product. I can concern myself with the project and the connection between the project and what the client says he needs.

The only real exception here is for a clueless client, and such people demand more time in order to maintain ethical integrity. 6. Goals I am realistic enough to realize that my goals are a matter of exchange. I dealing with my own goal oriented behavior, I need to consider four things: a. the cost-benefit relation of any relationship I am in. If I have an interest in staring my own business, I must realize that I now am in charge of all hirings, taxes, relations with the government and other agencies, and have taken on much greater risk.

As much as I am interested in starting my own business, I realize that I can never be “my own boss,” since the public is likely the most arbitrary and difficult boss of all, never mind the state, the IRS or OSHA regulations. b. but I do think that I have earned the right one day to have this situation. The reality is that the rewards of self-employment, regardless of the problems mentioned above, are extraordinary: unlimited profit possibilities and sense of accomplishment and independence.

The idea of creating my own little world that can also earn me a living is far too good to ignore, c. It does remain, however, that start up costs are tremendous, and the risks extreme. There is a certainly comfort in working for someone else: they need to deal with the minutiae of business life 24 hours a day where I just leave after the shift. But what all this comes down to is maintaining a certain amount of independence regardless of my professional situation.

When all is said and done, the primary motivator here is the ability to continually use my skills as a craftsman in a context where I know that I can continue to grow, remain financially solvent and leave enough time for my own projects. Unfortunately, being “one’s own boss” leaves little time for anything else. Opening my own business in this economic climate, disregarding everything else, is not feasible. Nevertheless, to be in a position where my craft skills continue to improve is very possible, and this is the main goal for the short term.

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