An old friend posted a story from a manager who lost their best employee. To make a long story short, this boss wouldn’t let their best employee go to their own college graduation. The employee quit and the boss was incredulous of the employees’ behavior. This sort of scenario brings about deserved outcry from people who wonder how the hell someone could be so stupid. We blame the person but perhaps our system for building leaders is to blame. I call this the crazy cycle of broken leadership.
I started my company, New Work Revolution, because of my experience of being and observing, over the past 17 years, broken leadership in the workplace. We spend most of our lives at work. This can be a blessing or a curse and one of the primary factors that determines our enjoyment of work is the leadership and the culture that they create around us. Creating a great culture comes by design. A poor culture is created through ignorance or a lack of intention on the leader’s part.
I have worked in building cultures and leaders my whole career and I have made plenty of mistakes along the way. Through my own learning curve, I have been fortune to help leaders break through their own leadership challenges to create environments where people don’t survive they thrive.
If you want to improve your leadership and the leadership of people that you work with while creating an awesome culture. Here are three principles to embrace.
- People need support– When you fail to give leaders support you ensure that they create bad habits as leaders and eventually they will fail as a leader. When I got my first leadership assignment at age 25, I thought I know everything about business. Then it became apparent that I didn’t know shit. I had no tools to deal with the issues that came my way. This happens to leaders in companies all the time. You get promoted because you are good at your job but that doesn’t correlate to great leadership. Get yourself and your leaders to leadership training, coaching, read books, create masterminds, etc.
- Employees Aren’t Babies– If you treat your employees like children, they will act like children. Look at the sign to the right. This sign makes me sick. The only reason that you have to post a sign like this at your job is because you suck at leading a team. Do you think that an employee will look at this and think “oh..great reminder… I am going to do better as a result of your condescending approach.” If you want employees to stop playing games give them meaningful shit to do. Empower them and inspire them. Connect their work to the big picture vision. Talk to them about their goals. Give a shit about their lives. When you do that, you will be surprised at the level that they can perform at. If you have a terrible team the common denominator is their underperforming boss.
- Put people at the center of your business– Not just your customers. All the people who are stakeholders of your business. I read a comment from an employee about why they liked working for a client of mine from a survey that we sent them. He said that he knew the owner cared about him because of the fact that he asked questions, like the ones in the survey, about his life. Are you spending meaningful time with your team? Are you taking time for training, accountability and personal development planning? What if you did more of this? It’s easy as a leader to forget that our employees are human beings who have fears, hopes, dreams, limiting beliefs and other things going on in their lives that we may not be aware of. Take the time to know your people better inside and outside of your work environment. Keep in mind they aren’t you and look to explore who they are and how you can best support their greatness. The internal culture is the caretaker of the external experience. When you take care of your team, they take care of you.
You don't have to lose great people to leadership stupidity. It's time to focus on developing and building leaders who will create environments where people can thrive. If you need help, you know where to find me.