VALUE YOUR PEOPLE
January 11, 2011
It’s mind-blowing to see the results a great leader can get by placing a high value on people and treating them well—and that means treating them with respect! And it also means making the effort to get to know who they are as people and what’s important to them. It means paying attention and learning what they need from you to get their job done and give their best.
If you think that sounds like too much work and too much wasted time, think again. Think about how disruptive it is to you and everybody else when an employee or partner leaves. And what a pain in the ass it is to interview new people, recruit a replacement, bring them up to speed, and then find out the hard way whether they’re up to the task. Don’t forget that this all goes on during time you could have been spending selling or producing or generating new customers. When you look at how much it costs in both time and money to let people go and bring new people on board, the ROI of investing the time in keeping the good ones is HUGE.
A lot of it has to do with personality profiles, because different people have different motivations for what they do well. I know that Dennis thrives on competition, so I make sure he gets competition in his work. Nicole is motivated by appreciation; she needs to know, often, that she’s doing a great job and that we all appreciate it. Everybody is driven by something different. And it’s your job as a leader to figure out what that is.
When you’re a true leader, you take responsibility for clear, two-way communication with your team so they know exactly what you expect of them. You stand up for them and make sure they have the resources and support they need to fulfill their mission.
We all need respect. And we all need chances to learn and grow and stretch ourselves. And sometimes that means failing. A very critical part of great leadership involves trusting your people to use their own judgment, because that builds their confidence and decision-making skills. The flip side of that is that you have to give them permission to fail. Failure is an inescapable part of learning; so if they do make a mistake, treat it as a learning opportunity. Instead of ripping their head off, you talk about what they could have done differently, or what you might have done in their place to get a different result. You take on the responsibility for whatever happened, because you’re the one who gave them permission to fail. Then you go the extra mile and take responsibility for seeing it through. You help everybody learn from the mistake.
But leadership isn’t only about when things go south—team spirit grows from rewarding hard work and setting benchmarks that tell you when you’re making progress so you can celebrate! We’d all rather be congratulated than get our asses kicked, right? Small steps are worth making a fuss about. Small steps are just fine, as long as they’re going in the right direction. And celebrations must include everybody—everybody needs to be included as a team. There’s no “I” did it, there’s always “we” did it.
- LEADERS VALUE THEIR PEOPLE
- WHY LEADERSHIP MATTERS
- SHOW, DON’T TELL (LEADING BY EXAMPLE)
- THERE IS NO “TRY!”
- FAILURE IS ONLY TEMPORARY