Ice Cream Leadership (and other tips to create great employees)

A recent piece describes 10 characteristics and behaviors of truly great employees – and what managers can do to enable or catalyze engagement by employees. Referencing Jim Collins’ seminal work, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't,” the piece is full of common sense. And hard work.

Finding that special employee who walks onto the job ready to dive in, learn and contribute is not easy. We’ve been working with several clients recently who realize the value of finding the right people the first time, and of supporting them from the get-go. Walking clients through the day-to-day activities of their key roles to craft clearer job descriptions; getting past the competencies and into discussions about attitudes; crafting developmental programs that help new employees grow – these are a few things we’ve done with our partners.

But I continue to point to our old friends at Gelati Celesti’s “Building A Great Culture” work as a simple, but powerful, model for finding, growing and keeping great people. They not only captured the characteristics of their best employees, but they also mapped out specific expectations every employee should have of the Gelati Celesti management team. The question owner Steve Rosser asked? “How do we treat every employee like gold?”

It’s a question each of us should ask more. Acting on the answers is equally important.

The piece illustrates ten ways great employees show up, and great organizations support them:

  • If you want employees who are enthusiastic to learn about all areas of your organization, create opportunities for them to engage in and learn about all areas of the organization. Make it part of their schedule, and talk to them about what they’re learning.
  • If you want employees who treat the company like it is theirs, and make good decisions about resources, be more transparent about your financials – and explain how the business makes, and loses, money.
  • If you want employees who generate happiness as they go about their work, create an environment where they can express themselves – and encourage them to chase their dreams and passions.

The last item hits home – facilitate amazing bosses. Amazing employees help their managers grow. I see it every single day at Floricane. My employees, my teammates, make me want to run a better business, be a better boss, and contribute more to their success. Because they come to work with high standards, I want to do better work. As a result, we all do better work.