We Need “Real” Leaders

Some people step into leadership roles out of a sense of mission and service to others, yet some seek leadership to feel power and superiority over others. The latter are interested in bettering themselves, enlarging their income or social status, or improving their standard of living while the former are first and foremost servants of others who help the team fulfill a mission.

Consider these critical differences:

FALSE LEADERSHIP INTERESTS                                    REAL LEADERSHIP INTERESTS
1. Personal power and prestige.                                       1. Service to others.
2. Improved personal wealth and status.                    2. Improved welfare of the people.
3. Others are enemies and competitors.                     3. Others are teammates.
4. Motivated to remove opposition.                              4. Motivated to fulfill a mission.
5. Self-recognition.                                                                  5. Team recognition.

What would you prefer?  Who would you rather follow?

As we look for leadership in our communities, schools, government and businesses, it would do well for us to seriously consider those who demonstrate Real Leadership versus False Leadership.

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Focus

How often do your employees interact with customers throughout the day?  Each interaction is an opportunity to provide a memorable moment and to reinforce customer loyalty.

Of course, getting all employees on board in delivering excellent interactions isn’t easy. It requires having great leaders in place, great recruiting that looks for the right behaviors and attitudes among potential employees and ongoing training that preaches the message and helps people develop their skills. It requires a very collaborative culture reliant on team members helping and looking out for each other.

Critical to it all though is a common goal, mission and purpose focused on service.  Every team member must have the needs of others and the desire to help at their center.  One self-centered, me-focused employee can send the consistency of excellent interactions into a tailspin.  To combat this, a service focus must be regularly demonstrated by leaders.  The message must be lived not just talked.  Serving must be the focus.

What is your focus?

It’s All About the Experience

I think most would agree that if you want loyal, happy customers, you have to have to create loyal, happy employees.  However, it seems this truth is mostly lip-service to many businesses.  The first thing I hear from executives when I mention this is, “This means paying people more and we can’t afford to do that.”  My response is, “the solution isn’t about pay; it’s about creating a better experience both within the organization with your employees and outside the organization with your customers.”  What surprises me is the look I get when I use the word experience when talking about employees.  Almost everyone knows and understands the idea of customer experience but employee experience?  They’ve typically never thought about that.

By employee experience I am not suggesting an investment in day care or pool tables or paid college or any of that Googly stuff.  What I am suggesting is looking at some simple needs of people and doing things to provide for them.

But what do people want?  In my experience, both customers and employees want the same things, Ease, Enjoyment and Success.  To clarify, what I mean is 1) Easy processes where hassles are kept to a minimum and are constantly being looked at and improvements sought out; 2) Enjoyable people and experiences where consideration is paid to the primal needs of image, confidence, empowerment, belonging, and equity; and 3) where helping people to be Successful and to achieve their goals is the foundation of the culture.

The question to you is this: what are you doing to create a better employee experience?

What are you doing to make your processes easy for your employees, where are their pain points, where do they get bogged down in red tape, where can policies and regulations be simplified to minimize hassle?

How are you leading people and making their workplace more enjoyable and rewarding?  Are you listening, engaging, empowering, and acknowledging the value they bring?

And finally, what are you doing to ensure your employees achieve their goals?  Do you care about their goals, do you spend time to learn what they want in life, and do you give them the resources, training and support to help them get there?

The experience of your employees will directly influence the experience of your customers.  Some simple investment in Ease, Enjoyment and Success can make all the difference.  It’s time to move business forward, stop trying to manage people; rather, lead them by serving them.

Uniqueness is Paying Attention to Detail

I went shopping recently at the grocery store where my son works as a bagger.  He’s 17 and it’s been a good way for him to learn a bit about the “real” world.

Anyway, as I was leaving, I noticed a metal track attached to the edge of the sidewalk around the store.  It is there to keep the grocery cart from rolling off into the road and I think it’s a great idea.  Maybe you’ve seen them before but it’s the first time I noticed.

Why am I commenting on this you ask?  Attention to detail.  More and more I am noticing that attention to detail is one of the overriding differentiators that make one business stand out from another.

Attention to detail is probably the thing Disney, an obvious service leader, prides itself on over everything else.  Think of the unique queue at the Haunted Mansion attraction in Magic Kingdom. As guests are standing in line waiting to enter the attraction, Disney cast members interact in entertaining ways, including making spooky music and solving riddles. Think of the way trash cans look in various attractions, they are themed to fit the overall spirit of the surroundings.  They are futuristic in Tomorrowland.  They take on the look of prospecting crates in Frontierland.  Think of the costumes and the décor that is very specifically designed to fit time periods and the overall environment.  In fact, cast members are instructed to never cross from one area to another when in costume so as not to disturb the “feel” of the different areas.  Details, details, details, all important for making us believe in the “magic” that is Disney.

Take a look around your organization and try to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Are there details that could be improved? Implementing even a small change can impact your customer in a positive way, and should be considered an investment in creating your own unique customer experience, and it is this uniqueness that will set you apart.