A newly minted sales manager held a meeting with her staff to discuss the company’s shortfall for the past quarter. One of her sales agents missed her targets, and the manager became verbally abusive to the agent in front of the entire team. But what happened next shocked the whole team. Within a week of the incident, the sales agent resigns, and the manager found out later that the agent was in a bitter divorce and custody battle with her ex-husband that took a toll on her life personally, emotionally, and professionally. Now some people will read this and think well you need to leave your personal issues at home because work is work right!
If you have personal issues, deal with it; the company is not responsible for helping you. I heard this from someone whom I had a conversation with, and it is always amazing when I encounter “leaders” who treat their people like commodities as opposed to people, you know a human being with a heart and feeling. But what is even more bizarre is that these “leaders” would complain that their company is not living up to its potential.
Leadership requires that you build a relationship with your team. If one of your people is dealing with a significant personal issue and you are oblivious to it or your employee chooses not to talk to you or even mention it, then something is wrong with the culture, or worst the company is over-manage and under-led.
I read this story once about someone who experienced an extraordinary moment at their job during a very challenging project with his team. The CEO of the company, sensing something was wrong, gave a compelling and motivational speech that left each person believing that they can achieve anything.
Half an hour later, everyone left the room looking at each other and saying: “Yes, let’s do; let’s go for it.” Most times, managers can drive businesses, but what separates the great companies from the good ones are inspirational leaders. According to Fernando Vilas, these leaders can inspire others to follow them, even in very adverse situations.
For example, inspirational leaders can transmit a message to each person in their team. They spread enthusiasm and integrity, acting as a role model. They are great at setting real-life examples that make people identify with them. These leaders can leverage the meaning of goals and tasks. Their emotions are magnetic, touching the most buried feeling inside of their people.
They give purpose to the organization, explaining the personal reasons to achieve them as opposed to following an order from a manager. Contrary to what managers usually do, they develop each employee individually, with full credibility. They understand their employees’ needs, and they genuinely care about them. They give their people the importance they deserve by soliciting feedback and engaging their people in personal topics as well.
They enter into real valuable dialogues that build a healthy relationship between leader and follower. That’s what leaders do, that’s what leadership is all about. If you have no relationship with your team and you are comfortable with your people coming to work, completing their task, and leaving with no type of interaction, please, do us a favor and don’t call yourself a leader. I read a story from Gordon Tredgold’s article 7 Things, I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Leader, and Gordon shared his first real leadership experience with one of his Test managers.
“After arriving at the office at 8:30 am, I was dragged into a 1-2-1 meeting with a very distressed colleague who wanted to speak to me immediately at 8:35. She was the Test Manager, and this was a new role for her, but having been the Test Manager myself previously, I was sure that whatever the issue, we would be able to deal with it. As we sat down in the room, the Test Manager looked at me and said “I have a lump in my breast, I think it’s cancer and I don’t know what to do” and then burst into tears. After freezing for a couple of seconds, I tried my best to comfort her and indicating everything will be all right.”
When someone can share such sensitive and personal information with someone, it shows that the leader has created an environment of trust, and people can be themselves at work. This is what leaders do; leadership is not for the faint at heart. Everyone has the mental capacity to lead, they have the potential to lead, but they don’t have the desire because it’s easy to be a manager as opposed to becoming a leader.
Fortunately, according to Tredgold, it was just a lump and nothing too serious. Still, it’s always refreshing to know that leaders are creating a work environment in which their people can be themselves and be at their best.
By the way, can you guess the sales manager’s reaction when she found out about the agent’s situation; yes, you guess right, the manager showed no remorse and indicated that any agent personal problem is not her problem, her only concern is meeting and exceeding her targets.
What a company to work for!
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 310,000+ 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.
You can download a copy of my book The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible by clicking the link below