Leadership is about Influence NOT Authority.

Share

The corporate world is littered with managers but lacks leaders. Over the course of my career, I only had one manager who was a leader ( Joseph). He made such an impact and influenced my leadership style. It is a rare individual who excels in both managing and leading. Joseph was such an individual, and I would have worked for him in any company.

Sadly, what we often see in many workplaces is a culture where fear and intimidation is the norm. “Yes Employees” (sycophants) are rewarded and those who are confident enough to give honest feedback (realists) are punished. There are too many individuals in positions who abuse their power. This is why good employees quit jobs.

” You manage things; You lead people.” -Grace Hopper

Joseph was an inspirational leader. He modeled humility, authenticity, integrity and always made time for employees. Inspirational leaders are capable of taking an organization and people to new heights. Joseph did not rely on his title or position but on influence and inspiration. He could get employees to complete tasks without wielding his authority. He had our loyalty and full support. Words such as ‘Good work team, you are the best”, “I trust your judgment,” “Well done” were at the top of his dictionary. Team spirit was high during his reign. He made everyone feel valued and appreciated. Great Leadership is about empowering people to give and be their very best.

Employees yearn for managers who are leaders; Managers who possess high emotional intelligence and will put people first. Many managers are focused on climbing the corporate ladder and achieving goals, no matter what the cost to employees. Great leaders are concerned about getting the job done as well as the well-being of those under their care. They are interested in the growth and development of their employees.

” If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Training, coaching and mentoring are important aspects of leadership and can sometimes be overlooked. True leaders willingly share their knowledge and are not intimidated by the success of others. To be a great developer of people, you must embody humility because taking people to their full potential, may mean they will eventually pass you by. Leading with humility means focusing on others and practicing servant leadership. True leaders always aim to serve rather than be served.

Managers are forgotten but true leaders live on in the hearts and minds of followers. Joseph passed on 5 years ago, but I can still remember him and the legacy he left behind. He truly cared about his employees, but sadly this didn’t sit well with top management and he was transferred from our department.

The greatest legacy a leader can leave is having developed other leaders. Managers, please use the human-to-human approach when dealing with employees. It’s people you are dealing with, not just a statistic on a graph. Get to know your people, meet them where they are and be flexible. If you want to leave a legacy, invest in people.

Check out my latest Bestselling Book

 Leading the Workforce of the Future


Share

I HIRED a Candidate with a 3 year Employment gap

Share

I HIRED a Candidate with a 3 year employment gap. Candidate was talented and cleared all rounds of interview. When I asked the candidate, do you have any questions?

Candidate said, “Why didn’t you grill me more about my employment gap?

I simply replied, “Being on both sides of the interview process gave me a different perspective. Life happens. Once you have the skills and right attitude for the job, that’s my main focus. Someone took a chance on me and I am going to take a chance on you.”

I have learned over the years if you want the best talent, stop looking for perfection. It does not exist! Resumes don’t perform jobs. it’s people – so hire people and not resumes.

Share

I don’t care whether you come into the office at 10 am

Share

I don’t care whether you come into the office at 8 am.
I don’t care if you choose to work from home or not.
I don’t care if you work from the garage while they fix your car.

I hired you for a job and I trust you to get it done. Just let me know what you need from me to be successful in your role. And I will show up for you.

Life happens!
You don’t need to justify to me why you need a day off.
You don’t need to explain how sick your child is to leave early.
You don’t need to apologize for having a personal life.

Yes, I care about results but I also care about you. We are all human and we are all adults. I lead people. I don’t run an adult day care center.

My advice for anyone hiring:
1. Select the right people.
2. Agree on deliverables (be crystal clear).
3. Provide proper tools and support.
4. Get out of their way.

Share

A title doesn’t make you a leader. It’s your impact and influence.

Share

I lost one of my managers a couple of years ago, and I can’t seem to forget him or the legacy he left behind. He was one of my earliest examples of true leadership.

I had a family emergency and before I could finish explaining to him the situation. He said, “And you are still standing here talking to me? Why aren’t you out the door yet? I’ll cover for you.” I smiled then went to my desk, took my belongings and left. Thereafter, he had my full commitment.

Titles Don’t Make Leaders—Actions Do – How to lead with influence instead of authority:

  1. Integrity & Authenticity go hand in hand. Joseph was honest with employees even though this trait was sometimes unpopular with top management. He often took the slack for his team. If leadership is not authentic, then what is it?
  2. Humility. True leaders always aim to serve rather than be served. Being humble makes you more approachable to your followers and allows you to create an environment of open communication and more effective feedback.
  3. Empathy plays a critical role in one’s ability to be a successful leader. It sharpens your “people acumen” and allows leaders to develop and maintain relationships with those they lead. Leaders that possess this trait genuinely care about people.
  4. Communication Skills – Great leaders are able to communicate their vision in such a way that motivates their team. They are great communicators; quick to listen and slow to speak. They possess high emotional intelligence skills.
  5. Inspiration- Joseph didn’t need a title to get us to complete tasks. He had our full support. Words such as “Good work team,” “You are the best”, “I trust your judgement” were at the top of his dictionary. Team spirit was high during his reign.

 Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example .” – Cory Booker

Sadly, Joseph people-first approach did not sit well with top management. Eventually he was removed from his position, and transferred to a back office function. They took away his job title but they could not remove his title as a “leader”. We still kept in contact with him.

Managers are forgotten, but leaders live on in the hearts and minds of their followers long after they have gone. Sometimes I can still picture Joseph walking through the office, greeting staff on mornings. Those were the special moments I still hold dear. It doesn’t take much to create those special moments with your team. Being a leader is caring about others and wanting the best for them. It’s about empowering and encouraging employees to reach their full potential. True leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders. If you want to leave a legacy, invest in people.

Check out my latest Bestselling Book

 Leading the Workforce of the Future


Share

Empathy in Leadership isn’t a nicety; It’s a Necessity!

Share

Yesterday, I was speaking to Jill (not her real name) who had been on extended sick leave. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. She returned to work but was hurt that not one of the Managers called to see how she was doing. Her immediate supervisor would call but quickly cut to the chase, asking her when she was coming back out to work. The cancer is in remission now but Jill said, “I am not going the extra mile like before; they don’t care about me and I don’t care about them!”

True Leadership starts with Empathy:

1.Show that you Care – If we treat people only as the means to an end, we will never have their loyalty. Don’t just consider them as a robot on your cog-like production line.Treat your people right. It doesn’t mean being overly attentive or soft but demonstrate that you value people. It doesn’t take much to show people that you care. If you have an employee on extended sick leave or who loses a family member. Pick up the phone and call them. Be genuinely sympathetic. It will mean the world to them. Sending a card or flowers is good, but take the time to call them. This is something they will never forget. You don’t have to pry. Just a simple question as, “How are you doing today?” will let them know that you care.

 “ Leadership is not about being in chargeLeadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” ~ Simon Sinek

2. Show Respect – Wanting employees to come in early and leave late on a daily basis shows a lack of respect for their personal lives. Additionally, contacting them after work hours or while they are on vacation should be avoided. Yes there are situations where you will need to, but this should not be the norm. When employees realize that you don’t care about them by infringing on their personal time, everything you do regarding relationship building activities will seem superficial.

3. Connect with your Team – Be visible. Make your presence felt. Don’t just lock yourself in your office for the whole day and only communicate with staff when you want something done. How can you motivate the troops when you are out of sight? Come down from the mountaintop and mix and mingle with your subordinates. Sit at lunch with them. Get to know your team. Empathy and listening go hand in hand. Listening forms the foundation of good relationships. Why? Because it shows you care.

4. Advocate for Staff – Exhibit loyalty to your employees. In some cases if a complaint is made against an employee, the manager is quick to jump in, and suddenly all the good the employee has done is cast into the sea of forgetfulness. Don’t be the judge, jury, and executioner. Don’t throw your people under the bus, let them know you have their back. Managers also lose credibility when they refuse to hold themselves accountable, point fingers and palm of the blame on others.

 Empathy makes me a stronger leader.” – New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern

 5. Grant Autonomy – Micromanaging and breathing down someone’s neck all the time can be very disheartening. Sometimes knowing when to step back and let your employees do their work is what they need. Give people responsibility and challenges that will help them to grow. Let them come up with ideas. When you empower your employees it shows that you trust them and they will not want to let you down.

6. Be Fair and Neutral – We know too well about office politics and favoritism. It’s really sad when employees can tell who will be getting the next promotion based on a manager’s relationship with some employees. Unfair practices relate to how vacancies are filled, disciplining inconsistently and even in how a leader allows leeway in work schedules. This fosters low engagement. Give constructive feedback rather than criticism. Don’t give preferential treatment to some employees and ignore others.

7. Share and Give Credit. – Don’t brush over your team’s successes with a bland acknowledgement while automatically working towards the next goal? Be generous with Reward and Recognition and “Thank Yous.” Recognize publicly. Rather than just recognizing top performers include those who are improving or doing their best. Furthermore, Celebrate victories. Don’t be a taskmaster! Yes, employees already know that they come to the office to do a job, but you should not stop them from having fun as well.

” Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always

Leadership is about people -full stop! If you don’t have a passion for people, you have no business leading them. In a perfect world, employees leave their problems at the door. In this not-so-perfect world, they bring them to work. We need leaders who will practice empathy. According to studies, empathy is the single biggest leadership skill needed today.

Sometimes it’s the little things we do that counts the most. It’s the simple things people remember. The thoughtful gesture, the kind word, the much needed support. It’s doesn’t cost much to show employees you genuinely care, but it can make the biggest difference in keeping them loyal, happy and engaged.

Check out my latest Bestselling Book

 Leading the Workforce of the Future


Share