Who Are Your VIPs?

connection developing leadership presence employee engagement employee experience engagement how to develop leadership presence leadership culture leadership responsibility team leadership Jul 06, 2022
Developing Leadership Presence

Since Cindy and I had the chance to enjoy the 75% of the Stadium Tour we hung around for (we left during the rain delay because it was already past our bedtime and neither of us were all that bothered about seeing Motley Crue anyway), I’ve seen various pictures posted to social media from the VIP meet & greet sessions each band offered as an upsell with their ticket package. Interestingly enough, I’ve also seen folks commenting about how they took out a loan or maxed out their credit card to purchase those VIP packages… I’m no financial planner, but I'm pretty sure that’s not the best fiscal decision those folks have ever made! I thought the $75 per seat in the second row from the very top of the stadium was a bit pricey, but I’ve seen comments about the VIP packages being $1,700 per person. Just wow…

One final thing to consider about those VIP packages before we take a look at two of the best examples I’ve ever seen of creating a leadership presence; the VIP session with one of those bands consisted of each person having around 20 seconds to wave to the band from about ten feet in front of them before having a picture taken. Seriously… But the VIP sessions Bret Michaels did was just one more time for him to shine! Whether the other band had that much lingering fear of Covid or they were just plain jerks, Bret did not take the same approach. All the photos I’ve seen of the meet & greet sessions with him were up close and person. Folks have also commented how genuine he seemed when they talked with him - yes, he actually talked with people who were closer to him than ten feet away! He’s clearly as intentional about his one on one presence as he is his stage presence!

So who are your VIPs? And which of those examples are a closer match to how you treat them?

Two of the best examples I’ve ever seen were from managers at the manufacturing facility I worked in for nearly 20 years. Both had moved to the area from other parts of the country and started there in management roles. While they each had extensive experience in other types of manufacturing, neither had hands-on experience in what we did there - and hardly anyone on the shop floor knew anything about their prior experience, or cared…

Not long after starting there, they each began blocking a half or a full day each month or so to work in various departments within the facility. That experience gave them a much better understanding of the manufacturing process, but it also helped them recognize when someone was trying to get one over on them. From a management perspective, it seemed like they were investing a lot of time into something they may never need to know in significant detail - and that’s likely why I never saw any other managers do it. From a leadership perspective though, that was some of the best time either of them ever invested!

Both of them understood that they’d only learn a small fraction of what was really involved in the jobs they were filling in on but they knew the connection they made with the people working beside them would help build their leadership presence faster than anything else they could have done. The time each of them spent at different machines was never because they didn’t have other things to do, it was an intentional effort to connect with team members and show that they valued them enough to understand their roles.

I can’t say I would have felt very VIP-ish when the people who charged me big bucks were standing on boxes ten feet behind me and only said HI before snapping a picture and pushing me through the cattle chute. And I also never felt like a VIP around a manager who had no understanding of who I was or what I did in their organization!

With all that in mind, how are you handling your VIPs? And what can you do to build a stronger leadership presence with them? What I saw those managers do was certainly a good start but they backed all that with one specific thing that really solidified their connection with team members. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen some other managers do everything in their power to avoid doing that one thing so we’ll dig into that next time…