When I was starting as a young sales person in retail many years ago, I thought my boss never did anything. Every time I went to see him in his office he would be having coffee, reading news papers or chewing on some food.
Fast forward few years, I became a young General Manager in a store for a large retail chain in Canada. And guess what? Every single time I was able to grab a minute to eat my lunch someone would bust in my office with some “important” issue that needed immediate attention.
“They” don’t know!
This made me realize that our staff really have no idea of what we do. Staff usually think about the management teams as “them” and have no idea that we are just humans trying to do a good job. We do have a lot more responsibility on our shoulders but our people do not know this. I also realized that just “walking the walk” does not matter if no one knows about it! So I started to “talk the talk” and I adjusted my leadership style. I became a lot more transparent in everything I did. I started to involve my staff in the decisions that I was trying to make. I often gave them all sides of the picture and tried to provide pros and cons to everything we did. I also asked them for the opinions on the decisions that I have made. What became very apparent is that people like to be involved. Everyone likes to be in control of their lives but also like to feel important and respected.
One more thing, by asking for opinions, I was getting amazing ideas that I would have never thought of by myself. Transparency, Integrity and respect became my way of operating, and it started giving me some amazing engagement results.
So how do you know how you are doing?
Very often, we get so caught up in our daily routines, and as leaders we really do not know if we are doing a good job or not! I mean how would we? After all we are bosses and tell everyone else what to do?! Okay, so we get “numbers and reports” but is that what really matters?
Just recently I was moving from one store to another. I was told by my boss that I did a great job engaging my team, and that now is the time to do the same in another location. So that’s great!?! My boss told me that I did well. What did my people think of my leadership? Did I do well by them?Apparently I did great. I was completely blown away by my staff throwing me a farewell party. This was completely initiated by staff! They got together bought me a cake and even made me a slide show with their thank you letters!!
Honestly, the feeling that you get from reading thank you letters from your staff is the biggest gratification you can ever have. It shows you that everything you were trying to do was appreciated, and most importantly understood. This is much better than any “number” increase you can ever have!
This is how you KNOW that what you do matters. So stay true to who you are, do not operate with hidden agendas and take care of your people!
Integrity, respect and transparency.
Written by: Olja Kulic | Inspirational leader & Engagement expert.
Have a PHENOMENAL day.