Moving across country after a million years in one spot is no easy feat! Going through volumes of saved ‘stuff’ is even worse. One good thing…some of it brings back great memories and helps me remember how I need to be.
One of the things I found while going through this move wa a letter written by my staff when I was leaving nursing. At the time, it meant a lot. Right now, it means even volumes more. I teach leadership as well as sales, and this letter from my staff pretty much sums up what leadership should be if we want followers. Here are some of the attributes they shared and they hold steadfast no matter the career you are in:
Fair, honest and loyal. This is what every staff wants above all else. Be fair with all of them, don’t play favorites, and what’s good for one is good for another. Honesty is crucial…no telling ‘white lies’ just to get yourself off the hook. Admitting errors, admitting you don’t know something…all this strengthens the respect. Loyalty, both to the organization AND to the staff speaks more than words.
Calm, capable, and quietly efficient, even under stress…constantly laboring for more efficiency, better and more equitable working conditions…these are things that were mentioned. How often do you stand up for your staff when you feel they deserve better? Or do you simply feel “it’s the rule.” Sometimes, we have to show upper management that things are changing, and we must change with them. What happens when we get a little ‘beat up’ from upper management? Do we take it out on our staff? Are we screamers, intimidators, feared, or do we put aside those feelings and maintain that consistency that all staff members hope for? Remember, stress is contagious. Your problem is not their problem.
Available for problems large or small with the assurance that you will listen and help if possible…great communication. Do we ignore problems hoping they go away, or listen? Do we give double talk or truly listen and help them move forward? As the team who wrote mine said, ” co workers were willing to happily exert themselves above and beyond ordinary limits in times of stress and heavy work load, because she did too and understood us.” Do you tell your staff to do stuff or do you walk the walk, talk the talk? If you head sales, do you still sell? Do you handle complaints or just let the service staff do it?
Not above soiling your hands to help at stressful or busy times. Do we ‘tell’ or help ‘do?’ Do we help lighten the load, letting the staff know we are in this together? Do we maintain a good temper, a smile, and give lift to our team’s day? During renewals, do we pitch in and help renew the difficult ones or tell your staff it needs to be done? During prime sales contests, do we join a contest and help sell also? Do we believe everyone sells and everyone services?
As I read their letter to me, it not only brought tears but also made me realize that some things don’t change in life. Things like common courtesy. Honesty. Integrity. Caring. Communicating. Helping. Listening. Calmness. Motivation. Fairness. Honesty. Loyalty. Don’t ask others to do what you wouldn’t do. Leave your problems at home. Bring a smile and positive attitude to the day. The ability to forgive and forget. The ability to believe in your people. Giving them every opportunity to succeed.
It’s all too easy to say ‘treat others the way you want to be treated.’ But how often, as we move up the corporate ladder, do we remember that? We tend to fall into place of how we are ‘supposed’ to act.
What would YOUR staff say about your leadership actions? Are you leading, managing, or intimidating? Are your progressing your staff forward or holding them back from true success? Are they selling/servicing by fear or by belief? This letter was a true reflection of what a staff values in leadership. How do we hold up to those standards?
Kathy Burrows, SOS…Sold Out Seating
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