Hello, and welcome to the Leadership Done Right Podcast, Episode 77: How to Show Employees That You Appreciate Them with Bert Somsin!
Hi friends! Today I have a great episode with one of my great friends. We go way back. Bert and I talked about several great topics. We discussed his transition from a supervisor to a manager, making tough leadership decisions, how to show employees that you appreciate them, the simplicity of leadership and a variety of other topics. I learned a lot through our discussion so I hope you enjoy it! So, without further ado, here is the interview!
Get to Know Bert
Today we have a very special guest. Our guest began his career at UPS in 2006 as a package handler in Reno, Nevada, but he was very driven to become a leader. Since then he has held positions as Human Resources Supervisor, Area HR Manager, District HR Operations Manager, and is now the UPS Information Technology HR Director.
His positions have taken him from Reno, NV to Oakland, CA and he now works in Mahwah, NJ.
Our guest has experience in all aspects of HR, including Workforce Planning, Employee Relations, Performance Management, Career Development, Succession Planning, Employee Services, Compensation and Benefits and Labor Relations.
He holds a bachelor’s in Business Management and a master’s in Business Administration, both from the University of Nevada-Reno.
I have been friends with our guest for several years. We took several classes together in the MBA program and graduated in 2011. Our guest today is Bert Somsin. Bert, welcome to the show!
Leadership from an Early Start
Bert first became a leader working with his mom at their family owned restaurant. He owned an operated a restaurant from age 18 to 23. That helped him understand what leadership was all about from a very early age.
One of the key lessons he learned was that people often don’t judge you first as a manager or leader. Rather, they judge you as a person. They look at who you are and your principles and character. Once people have judged you on that, they’ll give you the opportunity to be a manager and leader. It’s not the other way around.
Lead from a principled and ethical approach at the core of everything you do. With that, you’ll build the loyalty and trust that is necessary to be an effective leader.
One of the keys is to be the same person at work and outside of work. The guiding moral and ethical principles drive what you do and who you are. We all want a leader who is genuine and real.
Transitioning from Supervisor to Manager
One of Bert’s biggest career challenges was making the shift from supervisor to manager. He went from working closely with many people as their supervisor equal, to leading them as a manager. Many of those people taught him how to do his job as a supervisor.
The challenge was that many of them had more experience in the company and doing the job than he did. He was able to see what they valued most. It may not be the experience you have or the knowledge of the discipline that you are in.
It comes back to the type of leader that you are. Are you supportive? Do their career interests stay fresh in your mind? Are you going out of your way to make sure that they are continually being developed in the way that they want to be? Do you actively listen? Are you supportive in times that you need to? Are you decisive when no one else is? Those are the types of things that matter!
It comes back to principles, character, integrity. Those are the types of things that people truly value in a leader. If you are that, you can overcome the other obstacles such as not having the same years of experience. At the core, that is what leadership is about!
Bridging the Gap
As a new leader, Bert did not have the same experience as those he was asked to lead. When he became the manager, the responsibilities shifted from doing the work to overseeing the work. Because he had teams with a range of experience, he wanted to make sure he had an inclusive environment.
Rather than make all the decisions and dictate what was going to happen, he involved his team in the decision making process. He made sure they were a part of the initiative, strategy, and solutions that were created. That was very effective because when they moved together as a team, it was truly a team effort. It wasn’t an authoritarian environment but was inclusive and people were in agreement.
Making Tough Leadership Decisions
The other tough thing as a leader is that no one is ever going to agree entirely. But, you can always assume that everyone wants to be heard at least. Even if the final decision isn’t their proposal or suggestion, you still create the buy-in and motivation needed to move forward as a team. When you unite around a common purpose, the team can move forward united towards a common cause.
Often when new leaders get into the position, the reaction is to push people away because there is some resistance at first. Instead, when you create an environment where you value their opinions, level of expertise, knowledge, years of experience, it is easy to create that trust and support that you need. You work as a team and you are bringing them closer instead of pushing them further apart. When you do that, you are really showing the type of leader that you are.
How to Show Employees That You Appreciate Them
Just because you are in a role as a leader, manager, supervisor, etc. doesn’t mean you know what is best all the time. Although Bert is not the subject matter expert on every discipline within HR, he has people on his team that are. He shows he values them by asking for their advice. Bert asks their thoughts and verifies strategies with them. He also gets their opinions.
Additionally, leaders and managers often overlook the power and value of recognition. This can be a simple thank you or recognizing someone for the project work they did. Simple things like that go a long way.
Also, when you ask people what is most important to them in their job, it’s their career. Have you really taken the time to sit down and talk to people to find out what they are really interested in? We often look at it from a strategy point. Employee ‘A’ would fit really well with Employee ‘B’ for this project because that is what their skills are best suited for. But, that may not be what Employee ‘A’ and Employee ‘B’ are most interested in.
These seem like small things, but they really create value. They show your employees that you value them because you care about where their career is heading. It shows sincere interest in them and their career progress.
To summarize, here’s some ways to show appreciation:
- Appreciate and Value People
- Bring them in on the Decision-making Process
- Ask for their opinion
- Help Them as a Person
Lightbulb Moment – Leadership is Pragmatic and Simple
Over the last few years, Bert has lead a variety of people with different backgrounds and experiences. Through it all, he has realized that leadership is really pragmatic and simple. It comes down to letting ethics and principles guide you.
Being an effective leader isn’t difficult. It comes down to simple values. Support when things get very difficult. Don’t pass the blame. Take ownership of your decisions. Be the strength for your team when they need you. Give up the authority and spotlight to your team when things go well. Take ownership of things when things don’t go well.
Think about what you want in your boss, coach, manager, or supervisor. Think about what you really want in that person. Those are the same things, values, characteristics, that you want in a leader. It’s really that simple when you break it down.
People want to be treated fairly. They want compromises. People want to be heard. We all want quality time with our manager or boss. All those things that you want from your boss and from others are things that will make you an effective leader.
Take Advantage of This Free Coaching Opportunity!
Now I want to dig into how you help others to become great leaders on your team. But, before we get to that, do you want to become a better leader? If you do, I can help you take your leadership to the next level!
I have some leadership coaching sessions available for a limited time just for you! In these coaching sessions, I’ll help you accelerate your career, leadership, and life so you can take your leadership to the next level.
In these coaching sessions, we’ll discuss how you can improve yourself and your leadership. We’ll help you develop and complete challenging goals through proven goal setting strategies, and create and refine your personal development plan. In addition, I’ll guide you through leadership training to refine your communication, time management, teamwork and other leadership skills.
If you want to become a great leader today, send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me on Facebook, LinkedIn, or twitter to let me know that you’d like to schedule your free coaching session today!
The Speed Round
- Who is the one leader you look up to most and why? His current boss, the Chief Information and Engineering Officer because he showed me how multidimensional leadership can be. He’s accountable for his own actions and others. He’s also compassionate, has humility, and well versed in engineering and IT disciplines. As a leader, he is well-rounded in multiple aspects. Through all that, he takes the time to let you know that you are an integral part of the team and you are valuable. He also highlights the achievements of others.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? If your teams members are important to you, the things that are important to you will be important to them. It’s about placing your team first. If you naturally put your people first, everything else will fall in line. People have to know that they are important to you before anything that you say will be important to them.
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? Bert is very regimented and routine person. He has been getting up at 5:15 AM since 2012. I get up so early so I can (1) get a short workout in and (2) read the current events going on in the world today. I read the current events from multiple sources to get the news. When you know what is going on, it can influence your decisions and help you make better decisions.
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann because it’s about placing others first. It’s about going out of your way to help others. It’s about helping others before yourself.
- On a light-hearted note, what is your favorite hobby? Anything I can do with the family! First, because I can do it with the family. Second, snowboarding!
Connect With Bert Somsin
What’s the best way to connect with Bert?
- LinkedIn: Bert Somsin
One Final Question
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice when you first started your leadership journey, what would it be and why? Pursue what you truly love and are interested in. The field found me versus me finding the field. I love what I do, but I didn’t take the approach of finding what I wanted to do. If you truly find what you love and want to do, you will be successful at it.
Well, friends, I hope you learned as much from that interview with Bert Somsin as I did! Bert has a great HR background and is just a great person. Be sure to connect with him!
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Leadership Done Right podcast. You can check out the show notes at LeadershipDoneRight.com/PodcastEpisode77/.
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Thanks again for listening! My goal is to help you become a great leader, now go be the best leader you can be!
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