EP 76: Developing Organizational Leaders with Barbara Rea

Developing Organizational Leaders

We all want to see our organizations grow and scale, and HR professionals have a unique opportunity to affect that growth by developing the people within their organizations. Barbara Rea is the COO at Arden Logistics Parks and Founder of Rea Advisory Group, and has built and scaled several businesses, both from within and through consulting as a third party. She joins the show today to share her thoughts on how organizations can ensure their people feel fulfilled in the work that they do while also ensuring that the business goals are met.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • Where leaders often struggle in organizations (2:15)
  • A leader’s job within an organization (6:20)
  • How to instill intentional actions in your organization’s leaders (7:30)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals

  • Be a business driver in your organization and impact not just the culture, but also revenue (11:40)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives

  • Have regular dedicated check-ins with your team for giving feedback (10:30)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“You can’t grow without feedback.” - Barbara Rea Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Building and scaling businesses it’s one of those key things that I think so many of our listeners want to do is how do we grow our organizations and really grow our people inside of our organizations.

Traci Scherck: so that they can be fulfilled in their work while hitting the business outcomes, well, we have a treat today so welcome to talent optimization my name is Tracy shirt and I have a special guest with us today.

Traci Scherck: Barbara Ray is with us and Barbara is the chief operating officer at Arden logistics park in she also has built and scaled several businesses through re advisory group so Barbara welcome to the show.

Barbara Rea: Hello hi thanks for having me Tracy pleasure to be here.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely you know, and one of the things that we talk about as we talk about you know inspiring our managers to perform, and what that looks like is, we know that.

Traci Scherck: You know there’s key drivers to individuals staying inside of an organization and leaving an organization and One of those is the way that our managers lead their people and the flip side of that is as organizations, how do we train our managers and inspire managers to be great leaders.

Barbara Rea: yeah I it’s it’s so important, and you know i’ve i’ve built and scaled businesses.

Barbara Rea: within them, as well as an advisor outside and I think one of the things that I universally see is if you’re growing especially a fast paced company.

Barbara Rea: Building the company with great employees is really critical, but even more critical is creating leaders and leaders give feedback and.

Barbara Rea: One of the things that I see really throughout when I go into organizations is where they’re struggling is where leaders aren’t giving.

Barbara Rea: Feedback they don’t know how to be critical, but also in a really positive and productive way, so they they stay quiet.

Barbara Rea: And by doing that they’re frustrated and their employees don’t know if they’re doing a good job or bad job, so I think one of the things that I really.

Barbara Rea: focus on in my own leadership, and in my coaching is making sure that managers are really getting some type of development, training and and getting feedback in a way, they probably haven’t done before and it’s really kind of it’s an.

Barbara Rea: it’s different for a lot of people that are not used to being that honest and giving that type of feedback, but if you do it in the moment and you do it kind of immediately when something happens.

Barbara Rea: That the employees are going to immediately know what’s accepted if they’re doing a good job and that’s for good things and bad things I I really.

Barbara Rea: hate seeing where we get to an annual review and there’s a big surprise to me that’s that’s when leadership has failed because you don’t wait till an annual review to give news, even if it’s good news.

Barbara Rea: it’s good news, you know fast keeping employees these days is pretty challenging right retention is.

Barbara Rea: is really challenging I think it’s that like an all time low.

Barbara Rea: And you gotta you gotta let people know when they’re doing a good job, especially so you know annual review shouldn’t be a surprise feedback should be in the moment and constant.

Traci Scherck: yeah you know, and you mentioned something before, as you know, how do you actually give feedback and having it in the moment and constant I think it’s so incredibly important and it’s funny I just got off a call with one of our clients.

Traci Scherck: And one of the questions was you know how do I bring up the trends that we’re seeing with an employee, you know my question was what about just bringing it up like.

Traci Scherck: That. and saying hey i’m noticing these. trends, what are your thoughts on that

Barbara Rea: yeah.

Traci Scherck: yeah and then it’s also not accusatory but also flipping it when you’re noticing positive trends right hey i’m noticing these guys, what are your thoughts on it and then you’re not putting them on the defensive.

Barbara Rea: I think what what we, as you know, leaders and coaches need to do is build that coaching into a culture and an environment, and it should just be part of.

Barbara Rea: Your your company’s DNA your company’s DNA is to give that feedback and because it’s not natural like the scenario you just gave.

Barbara Rea: Where someone’s uncomfortable they don’t know how to do it in terms of exactly what they just said right.

Barbara Rea: They already have the tools they have the answers so doing things like providing them coaching and having those conversations and having that open door where they could go and have that conversation with someone and knowing.

Barbara Rea: Okay i’m just going to be that direct even role playing and figuring out okay well what if they say this, and if you’re uncomfortable you’re giving that manager now.

Barbara Rea: tools that they can develop and start making it part of their daily routine, so I think it’s important that leadership in the company also gets that feedback.

Barbara Rea: Constantly so that they’re seeing that right, because people mirror other people’s behavior and if you’re not getting feedback it’ll it’ll go dark the whole organization and it goes dark and you can’t grow you can’t grow without feedback.

Barbara Rea: So yeah I think that’s that’s a really good point is just.

Traci Scherck: And you said something really interesting a second ago about mirroring right like our staff will mirror what our leadership is doing, and we have to set up what is that that we want to have happen.

Traci Scherck: And you mentioned coaching as well, and if you go back and in our podcasts the whole month of February we actually talked about coaching and there’s some very specifics of how do you build that coaching culture inside your organization so for our listeners.

Traci Scherck: That maybe haven’t you know tapped into those there’s some really great coaching.

Traci Scherck: podcasts that are out there, and you know, Barbara I love what you said about coaching because it’s so important, and yet so many of the folks inside of our organization have never been coached themselves, but yet are being asked to coach others.

Barbara Rea: yeah yeah I I joined a few years ago I joined an organization called vistage.

Barbara Rea: And those things aren’t going to be for everyone, but it’s a great it’s a great tool it gave me a chance to learn how to surface problems and get feedback from a peer group.

Barbara Rea: And it’s a peer group that’s not within your industry it’s not within your company, I think you know I learned a lot of really great valuable tools.

Barbara Rea: From this stage, but I tried to bring into an organization and I what I really want others to start doing is looking what is their industry Trade Organization.

Barbara Rea: Can Is there something that they can go to because there’s a lot of different ways to get some leadership coaching and new ideas you can’t implement all of them, but there’s some that are going to be really natural for you, so I mean.

Barbara Rea: I love content i’m constantly listening to podcasts when I go running audio books there’s just so many different ways to get.

Barbara Rea: really great information beyond going to an actual event or function or joining some type of group those things tend to get you know more and more expensive.

Barbara Rea: But I think you know our job as leaders is to make sure people know what the resources are their industry resources.

Barbara Rea: You know if you’re reading a great book or listen to a really great podcast where you’re getting some value out of it.

Barbara Rea: share it with your teammates right, so that they can just add to their arsenal of tools, so that they’ve got kind of a.

Barbara Rea: place, they can go to and go Okay, I know how to I know how to handle that and I think that’s part of leadership.

Barbara Rea: Even introducing those things to people who are not familiar with you got a great book that you think I think they can get something out of it.

Barbara Rea: challenge them to read it let’s talk about it at our next you know one on one there’s a lot there’s a lot of resources out there and it’s not one size fits all but.

Barbara Rea: You know I think we need to introduce that because the more their mind opens up to those kind of things will understand the value of of giving feedback will get more comfortable in their leadership.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely, and I think that the point one of the key points that you know I i’ve heard you say, especially with talking about.

Traci Scherck: You know the mirroring and as individuals and leaders is that we have to be really intentional with what our actions are because it’s copied by others and it sets the culture inside the organization so i’m curious you know.

Traci Scherck: For when we’re inspiring managers, how do we instill some of those intentional actions with them so that they can mere what’s being taught, but also the behaviors that they want their staff to have.

Barbara Rea: So you know, one of the things i’m a big believer in is kind of setting annual goals their company goals but they’re also professional development goals.

Barbara Rea: and doing check ins a monthly check in where it’s just focused on that it could be as short as 15 minutes it’s not a big time investment and if you’ve got you know five or seven employees.

Barbara Rea: it’s not that much to just spend 15 minutes a month and check in and go hey we spent some time in maybe the fall or whenever your your process starts.

Barbara Rea: But usually it’s the fall and you’re kind of looking at the year ahead and saying what do we want to accomplish for the company for these departments and for you personally and professionally.

Traci Scherck: You know, and I love this idea of those monthly check ins and one of those you know, things are those monthly check ins, you know.

Traci Scherck: is having the structure with those goals right, and so you talked about the goals and how are we moving towards that that’s really being personal and professional.

Traci Scherck: And with that you know there’s a really simple recipe that we so often use it is you know hey.

Traci Scherck: How did you do, on your goals this last month right like what do you want to celebrate what did you learn, and then, what are the goals for the next month right so it’s really these three simple questions What was your wins.

Traci Scherck: What did you learn and now we’re going to you know, look at those goals from the last month and reset for the next month, because then it’s keeping that constant and never ending improvement but it’s also the intentionality of keeping those things right in front of you.

Barbara Rea: yeah yeah I so agree again it goes back to people that are doing annual reviews and they’re surprises right.

Barbara Rea: The surprises me and you haven’t touched base on those things you’ve said it and you forgot it right, and then you revisit at the end of the year and Oh, I said I was going to do that, like.

Barbara Rea: wow I really far off and people are are rushing those last two weeks to see what they can get done and sometimes they’re not even relevant right so.

Barbara Rea: Those are those are great things to just kind of go if you’re doing it monthly you’re never going to get that off track you’re going you’re going to reassess goals and say.

Barbara Rea: What I set out to do, six months ago, is no longer relevant right sometimes that changes and you have to look for new and different ways.

Barbara Rea: To run your business right people want more remote options there’s just there’s a lot that’s changed in the last 12 months, you know post.

Barbara Rea: Really pandemic right where people have different appetites for how they want to work that’s really it’s really changed so that’s interesting and I think you don’t get to see that if you’re only looking once a year, you miss out on a lot of opportunities for feedback.

Traci Scherck: yeah absolutely and so as we start to kind of land, the plane here what is uh what’s the key takeaway for executives listening into our conversation today that they can implement inside of their organizations.

Barbara Rea: yeah I mean I really believe this HR component, the people component is not just HR leadership really is with every position in the company what i’d like to see is that.

Barbara Rea: People take away, we got to do more check ins, we set goals we do much more chapter like.

Barbara Rea: I think leaders in jobs are providing resources for people we’re removing the obstacles.

Barbara Rea: And if we’re taking time to understand what those obstacles are each month that gives us a.

Barbara Rea: Great baseline so the takeaway is check in have check ins that are dedicated really just to giving feedback and understanding, where.

Barbara Rea: You know where they’re at, but their personal and professional goals that we set out for, so I think, to create a culture of feedback, you need one that it starts from the top.

Barbara Rea: And that you have a mechanism to do that regularly so that’s why I like doing these like monthly check ins they’re short they’re quick.

Traci Scherck: as you we kind of you know, close out here and that key takeaway for each our listeners like what would that be.

Barbara Rea: You know, look HR I feel like the biggest role for them it’s really beyond anything that’s payroll and and benefits it’s in developing leaders i’d like to see.

Barbara Rea: HR professionals really know that they’ve had a huge role in the company because gosh that the impact they can have, by reducing turnover.

Barbara Rea: Financially, so they are their business drivers if we get the right people in the right seats and we can retain them because we’ve coached them and given them a really great environment HR can be a huge business driver so.

Barbara Rea: I want to make sure that our HR leaders really always see themselves as someone who’s had a big impact on the culture of the company on revenue.

Barbara Rea: Not not just to be benefits and packages payroll and all that good stuff like it is such an important position and building a culture in a company.

Traci Scherck: awesome well Thank you so much for joining us today as we talk about you know, really, how do we inspire managers, that they can inspire those key staff inside of our organizations.

Traci Scherck: I love those key takeaway is of you know, the check ins with our staff, along with those performance conversations, so thank you so much for joining us today, Barbara and I hope.

Traci Scherck: y’all have a great rest of your day.

Barbara Rea: Thanks appreciate the time today Tracy.