When it comes to organizational energy, someone is always in the proverbial driver's seat. Whether it's functional or departmental, someone has control of the accelerator. A human is required to generate movement for different parts of a business. Yet, it has become common to see people in one function pressing the accelerator for people with other functional duties. Why is this occurring? More importantly, why is this tolerated?
What is the difference between leading someone and controlling people? Does it matter? Have you given up on leadership when you resort to control? I can’t influence people, so I choose instead to manage them. I am going to dissect these concepts to provide you with clarity in the end.
If you are in a supervisory role or not, this has value for you. The term supervisor extends from a front-line supervisor to a seasoned CEO or business owner. I wrote this letter ten years ago to get the attention of supervisors and managers in the workplace. It is easy to blame workers when things are not functioning optimally on the job. How often do we, as leaders, look to ourselves first and take total ownership of a leader's role? We will dissect the letter on the other side.
In the spirit of the Halloween season. I want to discuss the monsters in your head. Self-doubt, guilt, shame, insecurity, and the imposter syndrome are real-life monsters that make dramatic appearances in your brain. How do we get rid of the monsters living in our minds?
Leading peers is difficult. Some say it is the most challenging aspect of leadership. You have no power over them, and they can choose to follow you or not. How do you get peers to move in a direction you desire? Whether it's a business partner, church member, or volunteer group, your leadership is necessary to improve or make a difference in the organization. The easy button is to make your opinion known and remain passive. This approach is safe. However, it is more difficult to exert your influence to make a positive change.
Do you still believe you can close deals as you did in 2019? Are you waiting for things to get back to normal? Do you listen to excuses about Covid-19 from your sales team? The world of professional sales has changed and will never be the same. I am helping companies adapt to the next generation of buyers. I gave a video speech today with an audience in Spokane, Washington. A business leader told me the governor is mandating work-from-home until March 2021. Imagine a sales team in that region of the country that is incapable of closing deals remotely. What are they going to do?
The time has come to talk about something more significant than any of us as individuals. Exactly thirty years ago, I swore an oath (as required by federal law) to enlist in the United States Army. It was 1990, and I had just moved home from College Station, Texas. I decided to place my academic plans on hold to serve my country as a path toward earning funds to finish my undergraduate education. Listen to the words I swore that day.
Terminations suck. As humans, our social tendencies are to avoid conflict. We don't like it. In his book, Traction, Gino Wickman describes the thirty-six hours of pain that precede an employee termination.
As a leader, you must maintain a distant view. Some call it the ten thousand foot perspective. As a leader, you are responsible for everything. You own it all; good and not-so-good. Tolerating excuses keeps the monkey in your office. You have limited bandwidth as the leader, and you become ineffective when you are spread too thin. The skill to detach is essential to maximizing your contribution to the team as the leader.
People do not deserve a promotion to supervisor. Deserving a promotion is entitlement. Mary has been here the longest, so she deserves the promotion to supervisor. Hogwash! Front-line supervisors are THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE in a business. They are the face of management to employees. Their interpretation of policies and values are what employees see and hear every day. Seventy-five percent of people quit a job because of their relationship with a direct supervisor. No team position is more critical for success, including the CEO in the big corner office. Never give the job to someone simply because of tenure!
I don’t mean some businesses. I mean all businesses. The pandemic is even good for the small hotel, suffering with low occupancy. From the struggling restaurant to the giant airline, all businesses should benefit from the economic decline associated with Covid-19. Just like a trip to the dentist; what we “need” might not be pleasurable, yet it is good for us in the long run. Stay with me if you disagree. This will make sense in the end.
As a lifelong student in the game of business, I am perpetually amazed at the power of simplicity. The ability to distill complicated ideas or concepts in to a simple idea, story, or metric is powerful. Albert Einstein taught us, “If you can’t explain something in the simplest of terms, you don’t understand it well enough.” Whether you agree or not, I stand by this premise. Simplicity is comprehension. Simplicity is enlightenment.