News & Insights

A Leadership Moment

Oct 27, 2015

Author: Jerry Weisenfelder

A colleague of mine told a story one time about a manager he was working with to improve the performance of his team. The manager had started down the path of blaming others and was having a real challenge looking at his own leadership as a potential cause. The manager began to really go off on one of his staff, saying to my colleague: “you know this guy is bad, he does not know how to do his job, is always causing me problems … he is basically dead to me.” At that my colleague had to stop him. He said, “You say he is ‘dead to you’ … well tell me something, was he dead when you hired him or did you kill him after he started working for you?”

You see, people don’t show up to work every day planning to fail or perform poorly; but, many times the leadership or the system has a way of draining the motivation and inspiration from the employee.

If you are challenged with the performance of your team, be sure to take the time to understand how your own leadership might be influencing the outcome. Also, consider what else could be causing interference or frustration. Consider your leadership and think about the following questions as you decide your next possible action.

  • Are you creating focus on the objectives and goals?
  • Are you holding individuals accountable?
  • Are you involving your team in the business at hand – are they engaged?
  • And finally, are you providing regular feedback and recognition?

By the way, after perhaps a few moments of awkward silence, the manager thanked my colleague for his courage and acknowledged that his point was well taken. They spent the next hour focused on what he could do differently as a leader to bring out the best in all of his staff.

Whether you know it or not, you are always leading somewhere … so lead well.

View this article as originally published in Downstream Today.