By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you appreciate your staff more fully. Reading time:3:54.
With apologies to Kahlil Gibran:
Your employees are
not your employees.
They come to work
for you but
They are not necessarily
And though they are
not to you.
You may give them
But not your values.
You may house their bodies
But not their souls.
Maybe that’s why the most effective leaders develop compacts more than contracts with their employees — compacts that empower more than employ; compacts that inspire confidence in employers to proclaim as Henry Ford once did:
“You can take my factories,
burn up my buildings but give me
my PEOPLE and I’ll build the business right back.”
Notice that Henry Ford did not say “my employees.”
Indeed, his PEOPLE were much more than hired hands. His PEOPLE were the heart beat of the company. His PEOPLE were the spirit, energy and drive behind his company.
Without a focus on people (more than just employees) , a would-be leader falls victim to a costly bidding war to retain a talented and committed workforce.
But the most effective leaders know the way to compensate their “people” without going broke: They pay employees more than money. They pay them respect.
Paying Employees Respect
General Dwight Eisenhower paid respect to the common soldier. “In our army, every private had at least a second lieutenant’s gold bars somewhere in him and he was helped and encouraged to earn them. ”
Napoleon also paid respect to a common soldier who delivered a message just as the soldier’s horse dropped dead from exhaustion. “Here take my horse,” Napoleon said. The soldier balked. “Your horse is too good for me, a common soldier.” Napoleon scoffed: “Nothing is too good or too magnificent for a common soldier.”
Napoleon knew that paying another respect is more enriching than money and more binding than any law. Consider the way Confucius focused more on the significance of personal conscience and virtue:
“If you use laws to direct people and punishments to control them, they will only evade the laws and develop no conscience,” Confucius said. “But if you guide them by virtue and control them by customs, they will have a conscience and a sense of what is right.”
Then in knowing what’s right, in feeling empowered, they will perform magnificently.
Pay It Forward
Consider the management consulting firm that found 12 companies with exceptional financial results among the 200 studied. Turns our respect paid off big time.
Leaders in those 12 companies respected the financial acumen of their staffs so much they granted them 10-times greater spending decision-making authority than those in the other 188 companies. That study confirmed research from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research that found that the more power an employee feels he/she has, the more effective he/she is.
No wonder the most effective leaders empower their PEOPLE with more than money. They embrace the reams of research that compensation trails the need of employees to be treated with dignity, to be listened to and to have the opportunity to make a difference.
The leadership lesson is clear: First pay attention to them and then they will pay MORE attention to you. Pay them respect knowing you can house their bodies but not their souls.
And then with all due respect, you will pay your leadership forward.
Respect your employees to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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