Category Archives: People Development
People have an intrinsic value that the best leaders know how to ascribe or give notice to.
In some instances a leader can devalue a skilled employee yet that same employee with the right boss can be edified where their talents and contributions and intangibles are noted.
A mined gem can look rough and the layperson can say that it may have some value, but it takes a skilled gemologist to see the gem for what it really is. Once its true inherent value is attached that gem is now known for what it has always possessed.
Think of the basketball player who doesn’t put a very good stat line but the intangibles they bring are highly coveted by the coach. They may be a fantastic team player, committed to their craft and helping their teammates get better without regard to their own numbers. Their presence on the team and value given by their coach will pay more dividends than someone who is deemed below average by the coaching staff.
I personally know of three executives who each were brought aboard their respective companies poised for growth. In each instance, they dismissed the majority of their entire staff’s input because they felt that hardly anyone had the experience or intellect that they did. And in each situation that led to a mass exodus of talent. One company never recovered and sold to a competitor. One downsized and is still struggling to be relevant today. And another is stagnant and slowly loosing footing in the marketplace.
All because those leaders did not find a way to value their people and the talent that was laden within them,
It’s what leaders see, and how they bring that out in their people, that can make or break an employee. And many leaders unfortunately devalue their people. Some even devalue everyone who doesn’t fit a certain profile, or make the boss feel good, or have certain background.
And many of those “outlier” employees seek elsewhere for those leaders who know how to truly value their gifts and talents.
How leaders can give or import value onto others can make a tremendous impact on your organization. Everyone you’ve hired has a value, and a good leader will find it and bring it out in their people.
In our automated, tech, and email driven workplace, it’s hard to think that business is about people. But consider these thoughts:
- You don’t conduct business (B2B or B2C) with companies, but with people you trust.
- The very first business exchanges centuries ago, before technology and systems, revolved around people first.
- In every transaction, there is at least two people that are affected.
- In your efforts to move up and become wealthy, there are people that share in your success and depend on you to help them succeed as well.
- Acquiring the world means nothing if people are not there to support you. Acquiring people to support you means everything even if you do not have the world at your disposal.
- Don’t lose who you are as a person for things that are temporary.
- Every industry has one common denominator – people. The systems, business models, technologies, and products or services differ company to company.
- Profits are temporary. People are permanent.
If we kept in mind that every action we conduct in our business has the opportunity to impact other people – for good or for ill – we could make a positive and transformative impact in our sphere of influence. So keep in mind
Business Is People
Over the weekend I came across a series of content by a leadership author who heavily discounted what they would proclaim as so-called leadership experts.
As I mulled over their claims, I realized how many people in higher levels of leadership discredit others because their credentials don’t seem to be to their standards.
Let’s calibrate our understanding of what experts are:
- a person having a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular subject (Cambridge Dictionary)
- having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
We should also review the definition of a leader:
- a person who manages or controls other people, esp. because of his or her ability or position (Cambridge)
- a person who leads (Merriam-Webster)
It is essential here to point out that in none of these definitions (or others) is there a criteria for PhD’s, MBA’s, being on a board of directors, authoring books, teaching at universities or needing any other qualifying experience or education.
Unfortunately people who look down on others in this fashion tend to do so from an aura of superiority, resting on their own laurels. Experientially these people tend to be the least teachable and most difficult to create an engaged team that will trust and rally around them. They place themselves in a position of higher criticism and use their sole judgement to assess who is worthy of credibility.
And what these folks do is exhibit the same poor leadership behaviors that they denounce in their content. They place roadblocks into building another person up or giving them a platform for voice and value in what they know.
Here are some real-life situations in which someone has discounted another’s opinion because it didn’t meet the person’s prejudices:
- Engineering experts who told Henry Ford his V8 engine idea was impossible
- A restaurant executive who discounts others input because no one who is not a chef can talk about food at their knowledge level
- Critics of Gary Vaynerchuck simply because he struggled in school and just rants about social media
- Tenured university professors who discount the education and real-life experience of adjunct faculty
- Football leaders and experts discounting Tom Brady in their scouting report
- Leaders of all kinds of levels and organizations who devalue the input of front line managers
Leaders and experts don’t need to have letters behind their name or have high-level positions.
As I have mentioned before, teenagers and the person you meet in everyday life can be effective leaders. All someone needs to be an expert is experience and the application through study and practice of their daily sphere.
The greatest experts in the field of leadership will tell you lifting others up, giving them value and a voice, and offering them a platform to showcase their talents is what true leadership is about.
Being an expert and leader is more than just letters after a name. It’s about the application of real-life principles to teach, lead and positively influence your sphere.