When Pepsico former CEO Indra Nooyi traveled to India to visit her mother for the first time after being named CEO, something occurred on that visit that change Indra Nooyi perspective on leadership.
At her mother’s house, a steady stream of family and friends came into the house. They’d went right over to her mother and said:
“Congratulations.” Or “You did such a good job raising Indra.”
According to Indra Nooyi, “Watching them, I realized I’d never done for our senior executives at PepsiCo what my mother’s family and friends were doing for her.” When she returned to Pepsi, Indra Nooyi sent letters to the parents of her executives and similar letters to spouses, which led to some of her most incredible experiences at Pepsi. I read this story, and I immediately remember the worst advice I ever got during my early working days. One of my former managers during a staff meeting indicated with a non-expressive look on his face, “work is work; I am here to work, not to make friends.”
Those words stayed with me well up to my adult years, and significantly influenced my views and perception of how a manager dealt with their staff. What I eventually learned over the years is that authentic leadership is all about developing people, building relationships, and helping others reach their full potential. It has nothing to do with authority and power, but a strong desire to equip others with the right tools and strategies to help the organization become successful and the people who work there as well.
The best leaders to ever live not only succeeded in helping their team win championships or help their organizations reach new milestones, they genuinely cared for their people and understood what a privilege it is to be a leader. The impact of the letters Indra Nooyi’s executive mother and spouse received led to some of her most meaningful experiences at PepsiCo. It wasn’t like they got a car or money or anything like that; It’s the simple things you do for and with your team that makes a difference.
For example, as the leader of your department or company have you ever
-Send a birthday card to your employee’s children
-Asked your employees how they are going
-Asked your employees how’s their mom or dad is going
-Or taking Indra Nooyi advice and sending a thank you card to your employee’s mother or father
If you never did any thing like that before try it or try something else because these simple things make a massive difference with your employee’s motivation and inspiration. When you show your employees the simplest of gratitude and you genuinely and I stress on the word GENUINELY make your employee’s family part of the company, you will have some of the most loyal employees in the world.
As a leader, you have an incredible opportunity to change someone’s life every single day. It could be something as simple as saying hello, writing a handwritten note stating you did an excellent job today, or remembering people’s names when you greet them or stopping for a moment and truly listening to your people. Some leaders take these things for granted, but leadership is all about people, and the little things you do makes a huge difference; and the leaders that place a high value on building and nurturing these experience with their team are the ones that ultimately succeed.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 123,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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