Many leaders and managers lose perspective when it comes to what is exceptionally important in effectively running a successful service company—any company for that matter—it’s 100% about the people. As the late great Lee Iacocca used to say, “We don’t have monkey’s around here, only people, and if you can’t work with them, it’s the kiss of death.” I couldn’t agree more.
I’m a proponent for a “bottom up” leadership styled culture, as opposed to “top down.”
The term bottom up is not meant to be a slight on the talented people whochoose to be a part of your organization. It’s just a hard opposite of the top down style that is inherently disempowering. If you want your people to excel in their output and increase the positivity of their attitudes, then embrace servant leadership, and a humbled heart.
Years ago, while on a flight from Phoenix to Austin, I picked up the local Phoenix paper to read on the way back. While skimming through the business section, I stumbled across a gem of an article. It was about a subsidiary of UPS and how they were recognized as the top services company in the US, three years running. As a professional who has spent decades in the service industry, I was very intrigued and wanted to know what exactly they were doing, and here is what I found:
1. They empowered everyone within their organization to lead no matter their station.
2. They would not overly reprimand anyone who made a mistake. They would discuss and support instead.
3. They operated with a lot of heart.
I say all the time, that people will commit to your cause to extent, if they feel you care about them and their interests —one of which being career satisfaction.
Upon self-reflection, I was reminded that my company mirrored these qualities, and after reading the article I was emboldened in my commitment to leading with heart, empowering people to do great work, and then supporting them even if things did not go according to plan.
You will hear people say that supporters will run through walls for a certain leader. What I’ve noticed is those leaders had a few exceptional attributes in common. They were honest, fair, competent, hardworking, and most of all, they loved their people. It takes a secure leader to embody these characteristics. If you choose this path, you will undoubtedly be the exception, but I promise you, it is well worth it.