During a recent conversation with a CEO client of mine, I asked him a cliche question, “What do you think it takes to be a leader/manager? His answer was not what I expected,however.
He said: In one word I would say a great leader has empathy. None of my people here get to be leaders on any level without it. They must first learn that “I” must be replaced with “WE” and never to use “ME”. Also I learned that being great in a lower position rarely makes for a good leader. True leaders learn to maneuver that fine line between “Boss” and “Friend”. I have managers here that I really and truly believe their people go the extra mile for EVERY day, because they want to do it for their manager first, and then their team, not because they have to.
He went to say: One of the greatest lessons I learned coming up through the ranks is that NO amount of intimidation, yelling, or threats ever produce lasting results, mostly this behavior leads to very high turnover. My leaders must be able to know their people well , and I don’t mean just their names, they know their outside interests, families, children, parents and grandparents, they must take an interest in their people outside of work, after all, they spend most of their time away from work, and believe me their personal lives can and do affect their performance here. My leaders aren’t always the best producers, I never base promotion on that alone, they must have that true, genuine empathy and concern for others to move up.
My leaders have moved this company from mediocrity to one of the top 5 in our business, so we must be doing something right.
All I can say is —- I agree.