In his terrific book, True North, Bill George says: “People today demand personal relationships with their leaders before they will give themselves fully to their jobs.”
If you are the leader, you have a positional relationship with everyone who works for you—you are the boss. However, if you would rather be a leader than a boss—and you should want to—you are going to have to develop personal relationships with you the people you lead.
The starting point for personal relationships in organizations is respect. The building blocks of respect are time…
“How does a person show respect for anything? He gives it time.”
Coach Mike Krzyzewski Leading With The Heart
“…listening is probably our greatest opportunity to give attention to others on a daily basis and convey how much we value them.”
James C Hunter The Servant
By the way, M. Scott Peck nailed it when he said, “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” Included in “anything else” are checking email, text messages, and taking phone calls—all of these can wait fifteen minutes. [For me at home, this means putting down the WSJ and turning off CNBC.]
Why fifteen minutes? Because that is about what it takes—on a regular basis—to build a personal relationship with your employees. Fifteen minutes with each one, once a week, listening as they share about their life—kids, hobbies, church, fishing, golf, etc. On their birthdays, make it lunch. And then occasionally, to really show you respect them, ask, “What do you think we should do about _________________?”
Now, some of you are thinking I don’t have time to do this. If you have ten people working for you, it will take 2½ hours per week—about 5% of a 40-50 hour workweek which is typical for leaders. Do you really want to send a message that the people who work for you aren’t worth 5% of your time? What’s at stake here? Only whether your people will “give themselves fully to their jobs,” or not.
Would employees who “give themselves fully to their jobs” make a difference in your organization’s performance, morale, future, etc.? It’s up to you. Get started today…“Hey, Joan, let’s get a cup of coffee.”
© Copyright 2012 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
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"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner