Former President Bill Clinton during his campaign for the Presidency had one slogan that took center stage: “It’s the Economy Stupid.” My thought for today is that in business we need to adopt a similar message with one key change. Our new message should say: “It’s the People Stupid.”
I outlined in a recent post my thoughts on the importance of leaders being engaged with their team. A good leader will be available, take a real interest in helping a person grow and be sure they celebrate success while saying thank you every day.
To move to the next level and take leadership from good to great it is important a leader understand the value of each employee. Not only as a member of the team but their value beyond the walls of the building. They must know they are fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, and husbands and wives. They must realize that they are much more than an employee number, they are a person.
Great Leaders learn how to lead people based not only on the companies’ needs but also the needs of the employees. They realize that at times there will be business and personal conflicts, and how they handle these will define them in the eyes of the employees. They learn when they can ask for more from their people and when they need to value the importance an employee puts in their other roles. They realize that the old concept of leaving personal issues at the door doesn’t always work. Unless you run a factory of robots, life is always going to affect your team. Most importantly they understand that a failure to value the needs of their employees will lead to low morale and disengagement.
I hate to tell all of those that believe your team is successful because of you that you are successful because of your team. There are rare instances when a coach or leader finds success with an average group of team members. More often the team is made up of some excellent, some average and some less than average players. A great coach or leader succeeds by helping each Individual player be better. He realizes that without the best players he is not successful.
When I was growing up, as I am still today, I was strongly influenced by my father. I was always struck by how well-respected he was by the people with whom he worked. I realized as I became involved in business that the respect given to my Dad was a direct result of the respect he gave. Not only in a business sense but in a people sense. The importance of the hundreds of Christmas cards individually signed. The trips to funerals and wakes for associates’ family members. The attendance at sporting events of associates children. The ability to listen not only at work but anytime he could. He saw his associates as people and valued their roles outside the job. He summed it up in statement he reminded me of often. “People don’t work for you, they work with you.”
I find myself wondering where that type of leadership has gone. I wonder why people believe position alone qualifies them as a leader. Why it is so hard to realize that treating people with respect as a person will bring you more value than any program. The business world and for that matter the world is a whirlwind of technology. Calling a business and getting to a real person is often a challenge. We use robots to build cars and phones and who knows what else. Yet behind every technology or piece of social media there is a person.
Leadership is not a position, it is a personality. It is the ability to take advice, learn by many methods, listen effectively and make the right decision. It is the ability to teach, help others succeed and be humble in doing so. It is the ability to find solutions by understanding all sides of the issue. And it’s the ability to remember; “It’s The People Stupid.