We ALL Need Great Leaders!

authentic leadership leader leadership management manager performance profit profitability profitability killers servant leadership supervision supervisor support what support do you need from your manager to accomplish your goals Sep 14, 2023
what support do you need from your manager to accomplish your goals

After a couple of references to a song so new as 2016, I feel like I need to mix in something from the hair band era to maintain my street cred so let’s think in terms of Shelter Me by one of the most talented bands ever included in that genre, Cinderella. After naming a list of vices people resort to, including rock & roll being his own, Tom Kiefer sang about how “we all need a little shelter and it’ll be alright!”

In all seriousness, I believe that fits right in with our leadership responsibility! If we’re willing to care enough about our team members to recognize what they’re looking for and give them the support they deserve, we can never brush them off as being needy! If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, I’m sure we can all point to any number of times where a great leader made a lasting impact on us when many in supervisor or manager roles would have considered us as needy…

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I’ve been blessed to have worked with several outstanding leaders over the last few decades and each of them have played a significant role in my professional and personal development. One stands out more with this particular profitability killer more than the others though. It wasn’t that he was any better, it was more about the timing and what he provided.

In 2014, after close to two decades with the same company - which was exactly half my life at that point - I made a very tough decision to change careers. I had worked extremely hard in that organization and had achieved a fair amount of success, both locally and with the teams I served across North America. That said, I no longer felt like I had support from the folks I reported to. Think back to “show me a leader whose intentions are pure and unpersuaded, and won’t compromise…” It had indeed gotten much harder to fight and my hope, at least in that organization, was struggling to survive. Quite honestly, it hurt to even be in that spot where I felt like moving on was the only real option. While I certainly had some great opportunities during my time there, it was really tough because I had so many strong relationships there and I had given so much to earn them.

From the first interview I had with the small company I ended up joining, I felt a great connection with the guy who I would report directly to. He was several years younger than me and a son of the owner but he was as genuine and as humble as anyone I’d ever met. He had significantly more experience in that specific industry, and had some very unique experience outside that industry, but he didn’t have nearly as much overall safety or human resources experience as I did. None of that, however, had anything to do with what made him such an effective leader! He was extremely confident in his own role but very quick to shine a light on everyone around him for their individual contributions. And that was such a breath of fresh air after being involved with several others in leadership roles (but absolutely not effective leaders) who were far more interested in their own accolades than they were in ensuring anyone around them had the support they needed…

As you can imagine, there’s far more to that story but the details aren’t the point. What I want you to consider here is how much value you’ve gotten from the great leaders you’ve worked with to this point in your career AND I want you to think about how many of the folks reporting to you have gotten that kind of support from you…

With the impact a great leader can make being fresh on your mind, we’ll change gears to consider how bad managers affect employees and how bad leadership kills profitability, so stay tuned!