Your Business, Your Leadership

The past week has given me the opportunity to observe the management style of a district manager for a fairly well known retailer.  As I have had the horror of observing this individual, I’ve noticed that there are some things that entrepreneurs can learn from this horror movie.

The staff mistakes are your mistakes

What I have observed is this DM ruthlessly pointing out every mistake without any consideration for how it is happening or why it is continuing to happen. I don’t know about the new school of leadership, but the school that I graduated from taught me that when you are responsible for a division, you are responsible for the mistakes. So when something happens you don’t go on the warpath, you accept the mistake as your own because it was your failure. You failed to train, teach or evaluate someone properly and it resulted in the mistake.

Blame is counterproductive

This is something that I have learned more so as a parent than a leader. As a mom, I often say” I don’t care who I just needed for it not to happen again. How did it happen”? As a parent you understand that once your kids recognize they will get in trouble for a mistake, no one will cop to it. These same principles will apply to your staff. The bottom line is that you need to communicate to your staff that you are not here to make their lives miserable; you are here to make sure it’s done properly. You need to ask yourself, what can I do to prevent this? Do they need more training, better equipment or more support? In the end it is up to you to help them solve the problem. If you are not solving the problem, you are not leading.

Saying I’m not here to make friends is a cop out.

I’ve seen many leaders say this as if the phrase excuses them for the horrible things that come out of their mouths. And the truth is, in business we all have to be willing to say things that will make us uncomfortable and will motivate our staff. But where is the line? The line is this, if what you are saying will not show a possible solution, encourage a discussion for self-solution or fix the problem it probably isn’t worth saying. If you need to make someone on your staff feel stupid so you can feel like a leader, guess what? You’re not a leader.

Leadership is often many intangible things; it’s that thing that this person has that is so hard to explain. No one really has a definition for it because in different situations it’s different things. What leadership isn’t is vindictive, nasty and afraid to teach. Being a leader is about creating more leaders and you don’t do that by stripping people of their ability to grow. So if you get anything out of this article, get that you lead if you can remove your ego.

Leona Charles

Leona Charles began SPC Business Consulting Ltd in 2007 to help businesses of all sizes get the most out of their performance. As a Six Sigma Black Belt, she brings a fresh and unique approach to Operations Consulting drawing on her 10 years of combined experience in law enforcement, government contracting, property management, customer service, non profit industry, and education.

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  1. Susan Gunelius says

    Awesome article, Leona. Love this: “Saying I’m not here to make friends is a cop out.”