An executive at a large healthcare organization was recently preparing to head up a new hospital within the same system. Employees who work for the organization lined up to go with him when he opened the doors. He heard comments like, “You’re taking me with you when you go, right?” and “I don’t care what the position is, when you open that hospital, I want to work for you!” Unfortunately, he had more employees asking to go with him than he had positions. WOW – what a problem to have!
Why is it that some people can get others to want to work for them so badly that they don’t care what position they have to take to do so… while others can’t get anyone to want to work for them, no matter how good the position is?
It’s because people want to work for leaders who are “human” and compassionate, respectful and enjoyable to be around. These quotes from this man’s employees say it all:
“He respects us and asks for our input… and then he actually takes it!”
“He’s a lot of fun to work for – not stuffy and stodgy, but he has a great sense of humor!”
“He always takes time to show everyone that he really cares about us as people.”
“He really knows his stuff, but he doesn’t act like he’s better than everyone else.”
Comments like these highlight the traits that effective leaders display on a daily basis. Note that these employees don’t want to work for a different organization; they want to stay with the same company. They just want to work for him. He is the main factor in creating the WOW place!
Many leaders equate being professional with being impassive and unemotional, but this actually hinders the emotional connection with others whose help we need to succeed as a team. Some suggestions to be a more “human” and compassionate leader are:
While we do need to keep our emotions in check and can’t always be joking around, we must also be careful that we don’t become unapproachable or prevent others from identifying with us. People want to see themselves reflected in their leaders. This means that we can – and should – be human enough for them to be willing to go to the wall for us when needed. They won’t go to the wall for an impassive person they only know at arm’s length – but they will do it for someone they care about – and who they know, without a doubt, cares about them.
© Sandy Geroux All rights reserved.