What’s the opposite of command and control leadership? Caring.
We’re talking about simple human caring, and it’s something all your people need if they’re going to achieve the goals you want them to achieve.
In a Fast Company article (“The CEO’s New Clothes”), Linda Tischler maintains that Morgan Stanley’s Philip Purcell, Hewlett-Packard’s Carly Fiorina, and Disney’s Michael Eisner all lost their jobs because their management styles tripped them up. But not because of the ostensible reasons of “failed strategies, shareholder lawsuits, and missed earnings.”
“Purcell was an autocrat who treated his own employees with contempt,” the article says. “Eisner was smart and creative, but also paranoid and unwilling to share power.” Fiorina, the article continues, was the “queen of the keynote” but was “so inept at minding business back at the mothership, that her successor, the consummately hands-on Mark Hurd, is being heralded as the ‘anti-Carly.’”
Tischler goes on to note that domination is no longer in fashion. “Imperiousness is so five minutes ago. Autumn’s hot look for bosses is the ability to rally the troops behind the organization’s mission and objectives. Heard of it? It’s called leadership. Boards are increasingly looking for CEOs who can demonstrate superb people skills in dealing with employees or other stakeholders while delivering consistent results.”
What exactly are people skills? Attitudes like respect and acceptance. Activities like listening. Asking questions because you care, and because you respect the people who report to you. Easy joking. Inspiring people with respect, loyalty, and even affection, rather than fear.” Camaraderie. In other words—caring.
When you care about your people, you hold them accountable with love. What is “accountability with love”? It’s being tough-minded and open-hearted at the same time. It’s caring about who your employees are as people. It’s about supporting them as people. It’s about appreciating their strengths, their good will, and their desire to achieve and grow and produce.
But love? Am I really telling you to love your employees? Well, yes. I am.
What if you don’t even like them? It may seem esoteric, but try this and see what happens. When you look for the good in people, and open your heart to them, your feelings may change. When you commit to loving them, even if you don’t like them, you may find yourself genuinely feeling more compassionate and more appreciative.
Of course, your kindness may also change them, and change your relationship with them. Love is to people what water is to plants. Love makes people grow, and it makes them healthier. Therefore, even if you don’t like someone, if you make an attempt to love them, that attempt is likely to change you, that other person, and your relationship.
Which of course, is good for business. Kindness works. Caring pays off. Love becomes profitable.
— The above is an excerpt of Alan Dobzinski’s latest book, The Buck Starts Here: Why Leadership Accountability Is The Key To Less Stress, More Time & a Better Bottom Line. To get your copy, click here.