Throughout my career, I’ve seen the trend of “recycling” people.
If someone ran into trouble or was labeled a “performance problem,” the leader would either yank that person out of the role or send them to another department for someone else to deal with, as opposed to simply letting them go.
Now, I’m all for going green with my paper and plastic, but when it comes to people, dropping them into someone else’s lap isn’t solving the real problem. And it does nothing to help that person grow and perform better.
If there is a true performance issue, don’t get me wrong: I’m not afraid to make the cut. If it’s really not a good fit, both the company and the employee can get to healthier places in the long run if they cut ties. But recycling only moves the problem around.
Results are a fickle currency. They’re important, but measuring an employee by their results alone hurts more than just the company’s bottom line in the long run. It hurts your leadership effectiveness.
How do you lead in a way that gets results and strengthens relationships with your people?
It starts by changing the way you think about people. When confronted with a problem, most leaders try to solve it by tweaking production or adjusting a process. But every problem is ultimately connected to people.
It’s always a People & a waste problem or People & a revenue problem.
That’s the heart of the People & approach and why I believe every complex problem can be fixed through people. Think about it:
- Numbers are down? You’ll need people.
- Morale is low? Can’t change it without people.
- Culture is toxic? Starts with people.
- Need new tech solutions? People provide innovation and know-how.
- Production problem? People will make that happen.
People are the Heartbeat of Your Organization
An organization wouldn’t exist without people to populate offices and connect with customers. But far too often, people are an afterthought.
When leaders feel the pain of a problem, it can be easy to blame it on the people they lead. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
More often than not, poor leadership is the problem, because poor leaders don’t identify problems that plague their people and help create a plan to solve them.
If leaders keep overworking an exhausted workforce, dismissing employees at the first sign of struggle, silencing criticism, ignoring the opinions of others, they might as well schedule a coronary or wait for “the big one.”
Even if leaders can finagle the numbers to keep the C-Suite happy for another quarter, disaster is just around the corner.
Yet most businesses treat their people as expendable. This kind of thinking makes no sense. It’s a rare meeting where the CEO says, The #1 investment on our P&L should be our people. But why is that so rare?
Contrast that dimming effect with the leader who takes ownership of a team and creates a plan for growth. Does it take time out of a busy schedule? Of course, but this leader recognizes that a little investment on the front end produces exponential rewards later.
This leader realizes the power of People & and knows…
- People are innovators. Technology has begun to advance at an exponential rate, but technology doesn’t innovate. Only people do that.
When people feel valued, they start a chain reaction of fresh ideas and cutting-edge business practices which brings more to your bottom line. Nurturing the bright minds of your team keeps the organization from the pain of stagnation and brings profitable ideas to the top.
- People have heart. Computers don’t empathize. Numbers don’t roll with the punches and go above and beyond to create a WOW experience. People with heart create a company culture with heart—and that attracts top talent and grows the customer market.
- People influence other people. People can’t help but influence each other. You can knock down an infinite number of dominoes by touching just one. Invest in one member of your team, and that person sets an example for others to follow and affects others.
- People develop better processes. When people are allowed to learn, encouraged to experiment, and know they are supported, they will find the process that best benefits them and their organization.
No one wants to do things the wrong way. Given the flexibility and authority to act, your people will find the best route from where you are to where you want to go.
- People are more than the sum of their parts. When people come together, their combined strengths supplement and cancel out their individual weaknesses.
No one person is the total package. How boring would that be? Some people are more vocal, others more reserved; some love a spreadsheet and crunching numbers, others shine like the sun in front of customers.
A diverse team is more than just a group of individuals working together—they become a force for change.
- People create culture. Look around your office and think about the culture. Culture is a combination of what people say and what they do. Culture is sort of an unseen force behind results.
Create a culture where people can thrive, and results won’t be far behind. Allow your culture to become cutthroat, siloed, or toxic, and results will plummet.
As a People & leader, you set the tone for your culture, and you have a choice to make. If you want to build a leadership legacy you can be proud of, you’ve got to look out for others.
If your role as a leader revolves around position and title, then you’ll likely emphasize the climb. You’ll feel like your role is to get noticed so you can move up the corporate ladder and get what you deserve.
But early in my career, I learned that I couldn’t do everything on my own, no matter how hard I tried. I learned that striving simply to climb the corporate ladder was exhausting and ultimately unrewarding.
Instead, when I invested in the people I led—well, that made me come alive. And the more I invested in my team, the better our results. The more I got noticed for the work we were doing.
That’s when I realized that as a leader the People & approach allowed me to serve my team and to remove obstacles to help them get where they wanted to go.
And that’s what Heartbeat Leadership is all about.
Results are a fickle currency. They’re important, but measuring an employee by their results alone hurts more than just the company’s bottom line in the long run. Learn why the People & approach is the way to go.