Over the past few months, I’ve had multiple people ask me to explain the relationship I have with my employees. I’ve really wrestled with how to write this, because I don’t consider myself an expert in any way here. However, I’ve been in a number of professional settings in different capacities, and I’m always surrounded by people smarter than I am.
A large part of what I do daily now is managing people. This is both the most rewarding and most challenging thing I do. I can say that I love it – figuring out how to make people “come alive” in their gifting is one of my passions – and I’m fortunate to be able to do it with Kangabloo, Exotic Tans, and NLC Production.
One of the things I learned quickly – I’m surrounded by BRILLIANT leaders at New Life Church. Pastors Rick Bezet, Darren DeLaune, and Neil Greathouse (among others) have a way of lighting people up. Following their lead has made successful leadership much easier for me. I’m still learning and developing – and every situation is different, but here’s the 30,000 foot view of what I’ve learned (and will expand upon in future posts).
- “Just Business” doesn’t work – at least not in small business. If I were to shut our teams out and not take an interest in their lives (professional development, personal lives, education) I would lose their interest. The relatable boss is one you’re comfortable with.
- The Iron Fist creates a stone cold team. Leading by forced authority doesn’t get you anywhere. Earn the influence you wish to carry and they will follow.
- Publicly celebrate the successes. Privately correct the misses. If your team knows you believe in them and are proud, they’re much happier to do good work for you – and your clients notice. Straight out of New Life Church: public loyalty brings private leverage.
- The culture you develop drives the customer experience. In the case of the church, the culture we develop among our team dictates the tone of the weekend in so many ways. In business – the attitudes our teams have toward their jobs makes the interaction with customers. You know that cashier at WalMart who hates her job? Culture isn’t on her side. Know that barista who lights up every morning as she hands you your coffee? Curated culture makes her shine.
- HR isn’t a formula. Maintaining relations with your employees isn’t done formulaically in their evaluations once every 3/6/12 months. It’s done daily in your interactions with them.
- Covenant is non-negotiable. Again, straight from the New Life Church book: your promise to me as an employee and member of my team is guaranteed to be reciprocal. You play for my team. I will support, guard, protect, and defend you with everything that I have. Loyalty isn’t a suggestion – it’s imperative and non-negotiable. Choose your team wisely.
- Rules are rules are exceptions. Yes, make good on your word. But remember – we are dealing with people, who are by nature imperfect. Remember the grace we were extended and run your decisions through that.
- Every decision is filtered through your culture. What you define as your mission should drive every. single. decision. If you can’t decide if it’s a good idea – filter it through the vision. Does it help accomplish where you’re going? Does it fit? If not, don’t do it. No matter how good the idea, if it’s not part of your vision, it doesn’t happen.
- The culture of empowerment is freeing. Neil Greathouse has always told us, when a decision has to be made on the fly, make it. We’ll support and defend you as long as you can substantiate your decision. Worse comes to worst, it’s a learning experience and you know to decided differently next time – but you’ll never be penalized for making the best call you could. (managers – a secret: when you empower your people to make decisions, you take them off of yourself. Train well, multiply yourself).
- Accountability keeps us pointed North. Comfortable relationships are great. Relational management is as well. When it’s time to be the boss, be the boss. Make the hard decisions. Have the confrontational conversation. Confrontation breeds resolution. A relational manager who can still be the boss can lead people into the fire – and they will follow.
Again – none of these ideas are new, and none are my own – but the blend of these together seems to have made for some unstoppable teams. Curious – managers, what are your thoughts? Which of these is the most important? What did I leave out?
More to come…