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Mgt 230

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Colin Powell
MGT 230
Colin Powell Paper General Colin Powell is a retired Joint Chiefs of Staff and over the last decade or two is considered an exceptional leader. Many people in all walks of life and industry admire him and try to look to him for inspiration when leading people in calm moments and in crisis situations. He has shown his leadership abilities during war and times of peace. He has a wealth of knowledge and insight as a leader and can help anyone who is striving to be a people manager or is currently in any position of managing people. It does not matter what setting or situation you are managing in, his experiences will translate.
Slide One As I read through the Colin Powell leadership slides provided I found three of them that really remind me of situations I found my self in at one time or another. The Lesson One slide I can really relate to the quote that General Powell uses. I have been in retail management for 17 years and I have had the opportunity to manage hundreds of employees, managers, and supervisors. Whether a manger realizes it or not, being a manager does not only mean you lead people under your direct supervision, but you also have to manage your co-managers and superiors above you. This is especially true in a corporate setting. Good leadership does not mean you have to please everyone around you. There will be times when you have to make difficult decisions. Recently, I found myself in a situation in which I had to make a difficult decision to promote someone to an assistant manager role. It came down to two good employees. One employee was new to the facility, with five years experience, but he is driven, motivated, and a quick study. The other, was an experienced employee of 20 years, but was not motivated and seemed to be complacent at times. After carefully considering all of the variables involved, I chose to promote the newer employee based on his excellent work performance to date. I believe he has more upside to him and is willing to go the extra mile to learn something new which really impressed me. As expected the other employee was not pleased with my decision. Over the course of the last year I had set my expectations for him and where I needed him to be performance wise so that when an opportunity came up for promotion he would be the one. As a leader the will be many times when you will have to make difficult decision, and there will be a very good chance that you will upset someone in that room, department, or company.
Slide Two The next slide I chose was Lesson 8. I recently was a given the opportunity to step in and manage a newly acquired company asset from a competitor. All of the employees at this facility had in excess of 10 years of experience. I was coming in as the new manager and I had zero experience at a facility like this. The only experience that I brought in was the ability to manage people. During my first month or two I tried to learn as much as I can as I jumped in and worked alongside of the employees. I did not make any major changes to the operation I just observed. After a few months I noticed that they were good employees, but each of them seemed to be working in a comfort zone and really were not willing to exceed it or be challenged. I knew that the company had plans to expand and maximize the use of this facility I had to change the culture that existed and create a new working environment in which everyone was in alignment. If the existing employees were not willing to grow and adapt then I knew I would have to bring in new ones who would help facilitate the change that I wanted to implement. I knew I had to educate and empower my employees to do their jobs well, but also put them in a position to grow with the company. I wanted them to know that there were future promotional opportunities based on personal performance. My successes are tied to their success. A year in I was only able to retain two of the original employees. Today, I have a new team and they are all very motivated to do their best. The facility has expanded and we have doubled our through put. I have reworked the Standard Operating Procedures and I have training classes once a month to help give them to tools and education that they need to be successful.
Slide Three The last slide that I chose was Lesson 14. This slide is at the core of what makes a good manager become great. Communication is absolutely the key component to being a great leader. Keep it simple and easy to understand. As I go back to the situation that I just wrote about in slide two, as I brought in new employees and blending them with the original employees I had to make sure that our practices and operating procedures were clear and consistent. Any deviation would cost the company money or could even lead to someone getting hurt. I had a situation arise when one of the new employees was being trained by one of the original employees and the trainer deviated from the standard operating procedures while performing a certain task. In doing so the employee of 15 years had put the company at risk, as he compromised the integrity of some products and cost the company money. The new employee brought it to my attention and I knew as a leader I had to react and make a decision that would illustrate the expectation that we would not deviate from company policy and procedures. I investigated the matter and interviewed all parties involved and after weighing the facts I terminated the tenured employee. The standard going forward had been set.
Conclusion
Being a leader is difficult and sometimes it is hard to know if you have made the right decision at that moment, but ultimately you have to trust that what you have learned over your career. You can never learn enough about leadership and management. General Powell is spot on in these slides and I hope that I can retain some of this information for future situations that I may find myself in.…...

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