This may sound obvious however, I see it so often that I must say it… “Leaders need to lead, not gratuitously take up space on a pedestal.” It drives me crazy when I see people that call themselves leaders, do everything they can to ensure that their people are there to serve them. Not their customers, not their business, not their culture, nor their brand… them?! Leaders that think they are above their people or their customers usually find themselves in a situation where their culture is crap, their customers are unhappy, the results are behind plan and eventually, they are let go. So, as a leader, how do you make sure that your culture is one where your employees are happy, they keep your customers satisfied, and your bottom line performance is strong and growing? Here is my simple, easy to follow plan for you…
- WIIFM – Every human being on the planet listens to the radio station “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me). The basic hierarchy of needs as described by Abraham Maslow, states that our very primal focus is on Physiological Needs (breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion). When a leader creates an environment that is extremely stressful, employees will start to fear for their own physiological needs – maybe not consciously however, they will lose their appetites, stress eat, lose their sex drive and not be able to sleep. Without physiological security, employees have no hope of reaching a state of security for themselves, their job, their family, etc. It may sound basic however if a leader is busy making sure that their position on the top of the food chain is secure, they will resort to cruel and unusual behaviour that will threaten their team’s basic needs. My advice? As a leader, listen to the radio station “WIIFT” – What’s In It For Them. When you are focused on your team and what their needs are, they will deliver beyond your expectations. In other words, help your team get what they want and you will get what you want.
- Be Aware – Be Present – One of the keys to developing outstanding Emotional Intelligence is developing a heightened sense of awareness. Awareness of your own behaviour, body language and actions is critical because employees are naturally dialed into how a leader is behaving, what their moods are like and how they respond to certain situations. Why? Because they are acutely, subconsciously aware of their own WIIFM. When their leader is acting irrationally or uncharacteristically, it will determine how they respond. If crap is hitting the fan with a customer or on the manufacturing floor, this is the most critical time for a leader to be calm and in control. Followers want to see a leader that is in control, has a plan and gives them direction (which is really giving them ‘Hope’). When a leader puts their needs ahead of the team or the customers, it is a symptom of a greater problem – the complete lack of emotional intelligence.
- Serve – One of my all-time favourite songs is Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Someone” from the album Slow train Coming in 1979. I love it because the song talks about the fact that it does not matter who you are, you still have to serve someone. As a leader, you need to wake up everyday and serve the people on your team. Throughout the day to the end, your job is to serve your people. Teach them respect and appreciation by respecting and appreciating them. In turn, you will inspire a culture of servitude, respect and appreciation. I don’t think I have to tell you how customers will feel when they are served by that kind of culture. Put all of your energy and passion into serving and you will be rewarded – not put on a pedestal – but rewarded. The pedestal is already overcrowded with the countless others out there that don’t get it and will soon find themselves sweeping the streets they thought they once owned.
Tags: Employee Engagement
, It's Already Inside
, Life Lessons
, Robert Murray
, Robert S. Murray
, Team Work