By Jon Gordon
In a world filled with busyness and stress I find that too often leaders can act like hard-charging, fast-driving bus drivers that have a vision and goal within their sights and they’ll run over anyone–even their own employees–to reach their destination. I know this well because early in my business career I was that kind of leader and I have had to work hard to change my approach.
I realized that any hard-charging leader can create success in the short term, but it would take a positive leader with a people and process-driven approach to build a successful organization for the long term. As John Maxwell said, “If you are all alone at the top, you are not a leader. You are a hiker.”
No one creates success alone. To win in business, you must win with people. Running over people will only get you so far. To create true and lasting success you must nurture and invest in your people. Here are three essential ways to do this.
1. Care about them - The main question every employee in every organization is asking is, “Do you care about me; can I trust you?” Employees want to know if you care about them. If you do, they will be more likely to stay on the bus and work with you. Employees are more engaged at work and will work at their highest potential when their manager cares about them.
2. Develop a relationship with them - Author Andy Stanley once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” Far too many managers and leaders share rules with their people, but they don’t have a relationship with them. So what happens? The people rebel, and they disengage from their jobs and the mission of the team. I’ve had many managers approach me and tell me that my books helped them realize they needed to focus less on rules and invest more in their work relationships. The result was a dramatic increase in team performance and productivity. To develop a relationship with your employees, you need to build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them and mentor them.
3. Appreciate them - The main reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated. For example, Doug Conant, the CEO of Campbell Soup, has written more than 16,000 thank-you notes to employees in the past seven years and created a very positive business in the process. It’s as easy as saying (or writing) “Thank you.”
It’s a simple truth: When you care about your employees and the people you work with, they are more likely to stay on the bus and work harder, with more loyalty and greater positive energy. In turn, they are more likely to share their positive energy with your customers, thus enhancing service and the bottom line. The greatest customer service strategy has nothing to do with customer service, but it has everything to do with how you treat your employees. If you model great service, they will provide great service.
Remember, leadership is not just about what you do, but what you can inspire, encourage and empower others to do. Instead of running over the people in your team/organization, invite them on the bus with you and engage them to help you create an amazing and successful ride.
Jon Gordon is a speaker, consultant and international bestselling author of several books. His latest release is Soup: A Recipe to Nourish your Team and Culture. Jon helps individuals, organizations and teams develop positive strategies for enhanced leadership, teamwork and sales performance. Learn more about Jon and his latest book at www.Soup11.com.