Chapter 4 Pg’s 87-89 Lead With Love By: Gerry Czarnecki
We are about to enter the crucial stage of being a leader wherethe love concept begins to impact our behavior. Setting expectations and establishing an assignment had much more to do with the job than it did with the person. In this chapter, we will discuss the role of leaders as coaches and mentors. In order to be effective in that role, you will need all the love you can muster. Seldom, if ever, will
any associate be perfect in his or her performance. It is that part of the job through which the leader earns her right to be called a leader. It is here that you will need to give of yourself, and love is the only way you can assure that you will do that in a way that creates a constructive learning experience for your associates.
Your associates rely on your commitment to them, and at no time does that commitment get tested, indeed proven, more than when you are focused on development. Your job is to commit time to developing people’s abilities. Your “aloha” for them will be tested every single day. Focus on development, and that gamble on a new associate becomes an investment. Fail to commit, and the gamble will frequently result in a loss. Stephen Covey, author of !e Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, makes the case this way: “#e basic role of the leader is to foster mutual respect and build a complementary team where each strength is made productive and each weakness made irrelevant.”
The goal of a great leader is to assign great people and give way.” Leaders cannot get out of the way, but they must give their staff an opportunity to win based on their own abilities. It is a fine line between allowing staff members to achieve success and giving them so much room they achieve failure instead.
Think about it this way: Some swimming instructors like to use children’s natural instincts to teach them how to swim. When young children are thrown into the pool to swim, what is likely to happen? They may panic at first, but then most will begin to paddle doggy style and manage to stay afloat. A small number actually continue to panic, and without help from an adult, a serious situation could develop, even drowning. No responsible adult will allow that to happen; before long, the child will be saved. You must do the same for your staff. If it becomes obvious that a staff member is drowning, you must save him.
Taking the infant example a step further, the doggy paddle may keep a child afloat, but it is still not swimming. Swimming is a skill that must be learned, generally from somebody who knows how to swim. They key skills required for success must also be learned. Talented people will find a way to survive. That, however, is not the goal. You want them to succeed, and sometimes even the strongest doggy paddlers can drown if they do not get help. You must love them enough to allow them to find their way, but also enough to know when to step in and save them from themselves.
Training and development are investments in accomplishing the mission. By training, we usually mean the process of providing structured learning of a specific subject matter. That could be knowledge, skills, or even attitudes. By development, we mean the broader scope of all the actions taken to facilitate an associate’s growth. That could be training, but it could also be something as simple and powerful as a comment correcting a mistake. Every interaction a leader has with his associates should be viewed as a developmental action. Psychiatrist and counselor to many executives Dr. Harry Levinson put it this way: “Has the leader a right to mold and shape? Of what use is aging, experience, and wisdom if not to be the leaven for those who are younger? Of what use is pain if not to teach others to avoid it? The leader not only has the right; if he is leader, he has the obligation.” The best outside hire in the world or the best internal promotion in the world still needs an investment in the person who is to do the work. Organizations invest in machines, computers, desks, and buildings, but all too often they make a trivial investment in the most precious factor of production, and that is people. Think about your own case. When you started either your first job or your last, did you know everything there was to know on the first day of work? Obviously not. So what happened?
If you were lucky and worked for the right leader, you learned what you needed to know to do the job, perhaps even well before you started performing the required tasks. If you were even luckier, you learned from the leader each day on the job. If not, you made lots of mistakes and, with some persistence, eventually learned enough to get by. Had the company made an investment in you, you would have been more productive faster.
Development is hard work, and it requires a commitment to take the time and spend the money. It also requires a belief that a better trained and developed associate is a better performer. Once again, love for the individual persists as the driving force. If you really love your associates, you will spend the time to train them so they can learn to be more effective. This is good not only for the organization but also for them. No associate wants to fail; however, few will truly succeed if we do not help them develop.
Most development begins with some type of training session for new associates. Some companies commit a large amount of money and time to formal training classes, usually taught by full-time staff and conducted in formal class settings. These sessions typically are designed to teach technical skills for a specific job and frequently give a general background on the company and its business practices as well. A new employee who receives this type of training is fortunate that his company believes in training and has committed resources to that end.
On the other hand, many companies provide training to newly assigned staff through on-the-job training (OJT). In this case, the training function is held by the organizational leader or management and training becomes part of the day-to-day work flow. Most people who enter new jobs get most of their training through OJT. OJT proponents argue that the company saves the cost of a big training department. At the same time, new staff members learn from the people who really know how to do the work. Critics argue that too many people who are trained this way do not learn anything but the practices, even errors, of the workers in the field.