It’s been reported that Henry Ford once said, “Why is it that I always get the whole person, when what I really want is a pair of hands?” While Ford may have only wanted to hire sets of hands to run his assembly lines, the only way to do that was to hire the people attached to those hands: people with complex baggage, personalities, and expectations.
One of the important elements of personal leadership is to lead the people within your team. After all, if there are no people to lead, then there is no leader! I have worked with lots of leaders that absolutely HATE dealing with people. Many leaders just want to tell their people the goal, and then expect them to just go out and create amazing success without any guidance, coaching, managing, or …leading.
Part of being a great leader is to master the art of valuing the people you work with, while at the same time holding them accountable for the results. By creating a culture where people are valued, we can be more effective in achieving desired results. In other words, people are not just means to an end, but must be valued for their contributions and perspectives. This does not mean they need to be coddled or sheltered.
Personal leadership is all about relationships with those you lead. Simply learning the names of one’s team-members is not sufficient to building a strong team of committed workers, although it s start. By learning their values, skills and dreams, you learn how they see themselves within the organizational structure. Instead of simply evaluating their work, seek opportunities for them to provide feedback on the organization. Take care to listen, and see if you can incorporate their ideas.
As you demonstrate that you value the contributions of your team-members, you will find that they are more likely to think outside of the box. They may see things you may have missed, and you may discover a wealth of skills and abilities you have previously missed. As morale improves, so will productivity and results. Creating a culture of creativity and excellence will require you to view people as ends, not simply as means to an end.
What ways have you found to lead the entire person, instead of just hiring a pair of hands? What are some of the complexities of leading people with their personalities, perspectives, and personal baggage? Please leave a comment below to continue the conversation.