By now, if you have been following my posts, I have been delayering an event that happened several weeks ago with a worker that did everything right, but did not make the Connection. One of the questions that I began to wonder about after leaving the area was "Where was the manager?". As I am writing, I am asking another question. If the manager was there, would they have been able to pick up on the subtleties of the interaction between their employee and the customer? Does the manager understand that their sole job is to manage exceptions and be the guardian of the organization's mission statement? Yes, I said guardian of the mission statement.
Sometimes when our leaders get so busy and emerged in all the work, tactics, external challenges, and their own stuff, they tend to become overwhelmed and forget about the real reason they are in that role. And that's being the guardian of the mission statement. How can a company, organization, or campus get to its destination if there is no one leading. If we are all doing the work, no one is leading. This is a problem. Organizations spend so much time and resources on developing mission statements, vision statements, strategics goals, SWOT analyses, and business consultants, just to have leaders go back to their desk or in this case, a counter and do the work. Who is leading, inspiring commitment, communicating purpose, aligning talent, and developing our company's most important [expensive] asset.
I have heard many leaders express their fears of conflict or having a difficult conversation with team members regarding their performance or behavior. I get it! It's not an easy thing to do when there are so many factors to sort through when your decisions or indecisions are impacting the lives of the people you serve (lead). I referenced a book written by Dr. Hawkins, Power Vs. Force, in a previous blog, where he states that 85% of people living today resides at levels below Courage. If that's close to being true, these people are living in fear, which is the antithesis of Courage. This is not all bad because most of these people have found ways to manage that fear and lead successful lives.
So how do we manage fear when it comes to the people we lead. I believe if you allow your organization's mission, vision, purpose, and values become your armor it becomes less daunting. What do I mean? Let's take a look at Nordstrom's mission statement: To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible. It wouldn't be difficult to coach or have a discussion with an employee on how they did not meet the standard of providing a customer with a "compelling shopping experience". The fear normally comes in when we make the situation about ourselves. My expectations, or I would like for you to, instead of our mission statement is to do "x" and you are not delivering on our commitment. Now, if the employee responds that they don't agree with the mission statement or they can't do it, then your job is to help them find something outside of your organization that aligns to their values. It's not that hard! Just give it a try.
Fear is inevitable, but Courage is a choice.
We always have a choice, what will yours be today?