Too often leaders focus all their energy on process. There’s only so much gas in the tank, and there’s usually tremendous pressure to perform. The nuts and bolts of the business can consume leaders’ time to the detriment of taking care of the people who are actually doing the work. Effective leaders are able to do the technical work as well as develop and grow their people at the same time.
Over at Inc.com, there’s a short post and a 4 minute video with some great quotes about leading people from Intuit CEO Scott Cook. This one is my favorite:
“There’s almost a constant employment demand for the people who can really make a difference, so that means as a leader, not only are you trying to win the loyalty of your customers, you’re trying to win the loyalty of your employees–and constantly re-win it–and earn their dedication and their enthusiasm.”
I wrote about this same idea in my book, Leading Leaders:
Perhaps most importantly, an engaged leader demonstrates to her team that she sees them as human persons with inherent worth rather than being valued only at their level of contribution. What’s more, that leader can ensure that each employee sees his/her work as meaningful, which as Jennifer Robison pointed out in Harvard Business Review, employees who see their work as meaningful are far more likely to find satisfaction in their jobs and workplace. In this way, leaders have demonstrated both personally and institutionally that they value their employees.
The bottom line is this: it doesn’t take a great deal of skill to move people around the workplace like pieces of a “machine,” but leaders understand each person is valuable and seek to inspire each to contribute their best to the shared mission. It’s great leaders who get best from their people and their organization.
The question for employees is who do you want to work for?, and the question for leaders is who do you want to be?