When the television show “Undercover Boss” made its premier a few years ago, much of America tuned in to watch the antics. What the show’s producers were probably looking for was a way to entertain the masses while they watched poor “unknowing” bosses do things like clean toilets and flip burgers. Of course in the end, there’s always that pivotal moment when the boss realizes the hard work his staff is doing behind the scenes. He learns to be more appreciative of them and looks at them a little differently than ever before.
What this show failed to capture though, is the importance of great leadership within an organization. Dwight Eisenhower gave a great definition to the word leadership when he said, “Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” There is not better way to get people to do what you want, then to inspire them and be an example of the behaviors and actions you desire.
Like a young boy imitating his father, employees will also follow your example. They want to follow your example, and they need you if they’re going to properly understand how the organization functions. Leaders have far more power within their organizations than most realize. If your staff see you cleaning toilets, they will see the importance of cleaning toilets. They might not enjoy it anymore than you do, but they’ll see the importance of it. If they see your actions align with your your words and instructions, they will understand the importance of that instruction. If they see your constant focus on improvement, they will understand the importance of it
Unfortunately the same is true on the flip-side of leadership. Bad habits that are exemplified by leaders, will often be duplicated by staff. Do you ignore customers but expect your staff to treat them wonderfully? Do you talk about cutting expenses, but then fly first class everywhere?
Bad habits that are exemplified by leaders, will often be duplicated by staff.” Tweet This!
Sometimes it takes an outsider’s insight into your leadership style to find ways that you can improve. A mentor or coach, can offer guidance with an outside perspective. Without a mentor, no business owner can be as successful as they want to be. I have seen leaders do horrible things, that they had no clue they did. An outside perspective can help you see what you don’t.
When is the last time you did the work of someone a couple levels under you? You should try it. You’ll get valuable insight into what your employees go through each day. Even more though, you’ll show them that you want to understand, and that what they do is important.
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