Lynne Wines wants to develop her employees, but there’s a catch.
They have to help her grow, too.
So the CEO of CNLBank’s South Florida region, which claims 32 of the company’s 225 employees, looks for team players. She expects them to call out her mistakes, just like she does to help them improve.
She cultivates that culture by setting an example. Although she’s not perfect, she relies on her team members to fill in the gaps.
“Look for mentors on every level,” says Wines, whose region has $275 million in deposits as of June 30. “You can learn from people that are a lot more experienced than you, and you can learn from people that work for you. Being open to that process is an important part of my development.”
Smart Business spoke to Wines about setting the pace for your culture of teamwork and interdependence — and improving yourself in the process.
Find team players. Having the right people around you that tell you when you’re crazy or tell you when you’re wrong is very important. From my husband and my son to the people that I’ve worked with for a long time, I count on them to tell me when I’m wrong or when I’m not seeing the whole picture or when I’m not necessarily thinking clearly and I’m maybe thinking too emotionally or haven’t looked at all the facts. I count on all the people I work with to point that out to me. Part of their responsibility is to tell me when I miss something.
I’ve always been a big believer in building a team that complements each other but that are not necessarily alike, so we create interdependence amongst each other. We create an environment where we rely on each other to cover our backs. You find that by figuring out … who’s self-serving and who’s a servant leader.
If somebody tells you about their mentor, you can usually tell if they are willing to credit somebody else with some of their success or whether they have to own all the credit. Generally, if somebody has to own all the credit, they’re not going to be willing to mentor others or be mentored by others or be a good team player. So that’s a good question to ask, ‘How have you been mentored?’
Build interdependence. That comes by building the right culture of open communication and respect for each other. So I wouldn’t call anybody else out in public and embarrass them, and I wouldn’t expect somebody to do that to me. But if I thought one of my employees made a mistake, I have a responsibility to point it out to them because I have a responsibility to try to teach them to grow and improve. They have that same responsibility to me. It’s really building a culture of respect and interdependence and teamwork.
It absolutely starts at the top. If somebody comes to me with a solution, I will say, ‘Have you checked with the other three people on the team?’ Over time, they get that they’re not even going to bother to come to me with a suggestion or a solution until they’ve already checked with the other three people. That’s how you build teamwork. They start to learn that they’re going to be more successful if they work as a team than if they work independently.
Set the pace for your culture. Most people are reluctant, particularly if they’ve come from an organization where that wasn’t the culture. Culture takes time to develop; you don’t turn on a light switch and say, ‘OK, now we have a new culture.’ Over time, you open the door to communication.
I’ve done it by sometimes revealing things about myself — not necessarily terribly intimate but just admitting your own mistakes. I usually let people know that I have made a lot of mistakes and I’m not going to kill anybody for making a mistake.
[When someone makes a mistake], I might find an opportunity to talk casually and maybe mention that I did that the same thing once and this is how I went about changing it or this is what I learned from it. Making somebody feel bad doesn’t do anybody any good and doesn’t help the organization.
It’s just letting people know that you’ve got their back as much as expecting them to have your back. If they do make a mistake, you know what? We’ve made the mistake together because we’re a team, and we’re going to fix it together, and we’re going to figure out how to move on together.
It’s passing down credit. Pushing credit for successes down into the organization — and not owning credit yourself — breeds more success.
Make yourself approachable. We’re big believers in the five-minute walk around the office rule. You get as much accomplished by stopping in and asking someone how their weekend was and leaning against their doorway as you do in formal meetings.
I try to remember their kids’ names. If they don’t have kids, I try to remember their pets’ names. That’s what’s important to people. It breaks down barriers when you use people’s names as opposed to just, ‘How’s the kid?’ or something.
I just try to, without being intrusive and certainly not asking anything about anybody’s personal life, sometimes share something about my weekend, which would make somebody open up more about their weekend.
I’m actually a very private person and my nature is to be very introverted. But part of my job is to be more of an extrovert, so that’s something that I work at very diligently: to try to be open. It can be whatever we did over the weekend; it can be a restaurant that was good, anything that just breaks down barriers and makes you human.
It comes from practice. It also comes from having people around you that you trust, which I’m very fortunate to have. You put yourself out there and you force yourself to be in positions where you may not be totally comfortable. But it’s part of the learning. It’s part of challenging yourself.
How to reach: CNLBank, (561) 961-2460 or www.cnlbank.com