Ask the expert.

Author:Weinberg, Dave
  1. What are the guiding principles you apply to taking care of people?

    First, you need a clear understanding that nothing is more important than taking care of people. And likely, most of you reading this either already know that or you have heard it before. However, we need to take "knowing that" a step further and define what taking care of people means to each of us. Only by knowing what it means can we do it deliberately and improve upon it each day.

    Second, don't change who you are because of what you've become. If you think about it, that makes sense for a lot of reasons. If who you are got you where you are, isn't that generally a good thing? When you get to where you are going aren't you pretty good at being you? I always thought I was better at being Dave Weinberg than I was at being anyone else. Sure, I work to improve myself and I stay genuine. Too many leaders get to a position of authority and start feeling entitled; they forget their manners... they change who they are because of what they've become.

    Third, like you were taught to leave the campground better than you found it, leave people better than you found them. Let me warn you, however, it will take time. You have to invest time in your people. If you do that, you'll be giving them something very improve their speaking, writing, or maybe leadership skills. My philosophy regarding time is that I will spend as much time as you need; however, I hate to waste time.

  2. In your opinion what are the barriers and challenges for leaders when it comes to taking care of their people in the Defense Department or Coast Guard? How can those challenges be overcome?

    Work is probably the biggest barrier to taking care of people. We get consumed with the "task du jour." As a result, we tend to talk with our people only when we need something; we tend to stay in our office tied to our computer; we lose that personal touch and send e-mails rather than talking with a person. get it that work is what we are there to do, but don't forget that it is your people who get the work done. And one other thing along this line ... when you build goals for your organization, put people at the top. Too many leaders say "People are our #1 asset," yet their organizational goals list people at #3 or #4.

  3. Was there ever a situation where you missed the mark in regard to taking care of your people?

    You bet. I learned a lot about managing expectations too. I promised a deserving lady a...

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