Posted on Jan 27 , 2013

1-2-3 That’s How Elementary


Have you participated in a group event that grabbed you? Where the elementary examples seemed simple but powerful?

We’ve all been on zoom discussions and attended virtual classes/webinars since March. I’ve learned much and been made aware of things I may not have considered before. There was one which was unique for me: it was a discussion of three human resources managers talking about mental health for business leaders. I realized the three tips the Millennial professionals gave work for anyone in a leadership position. And, not only in human resources and not only for these Covid-19 mental health and wellness circumstances. Coincidentally, my co-author and I also thought these were powerful. These were lessons that our protagonist, Alice, a founder of a tea company in Leadership in Wonderland, (https://amzn.to/2yZBOt0) picked up through travels within her business and in experiences working alongside diverse characters. If you’d like to affect change as a leader in today’s world, here they are:

  • Acknowledge the Reality

"I know you have many doubts, and I certainly can’t blame you…I cannot guarantee I can halt wheels that are in motion, but I am going to do everything to ensure (our company) not only survives but thrives"

Alice, like nonfictional leaders, Dr. Penny Wheeler, CEO of Allina Health, Dr. Joseph McShane, President of Fordham University, and 4 Star General Stanley McChrystal did in a discussion of leadership with Ted Koppel, acknowledges the circumstances honestly. Acknowledging a tough reality is a sign of respect for your people. It’s the way to establish trust. It’s also allows you to be human, relatable, and sincere which people need to see and hear. People know when you are reflecting the truth. As the President of Fordham explained, “I have the same concerns and fears.”

  • Model the Right Behaviour

“Frankly, you cannot know until I have proven to you by my actions that I mean what I say.”

The fictional tea company founder understands as the ultimate leader in her business that she must put through in action and behavior what she communicates with words. Most importantly, she has to set the example so others can follow her in a way that is healthy and positive. She has to be the driver for change to happen at the organization. As the leader and role model, you set the example so that others can feel comfortable doing the same. An example would be the CEO of Rhino Foods, Ted Castle, as quoted in Medium “7 Ways B Corps Stand Out:.March 4, 2020.” “It’s one thing to hang a sign on the wall saying, ‘Our employees are our most valuable asset’; it’s another to prove it by supporting them with innovative solutions.”

  • Don’t Assume What People Need

“I want to meet with you, to learn more about what you do, and how we may be able to assist you in your jobs.”

“Woke” and fortified by department meetings, analysis and self-reflection that took place over the course of the book, Alice has learned she can’t guess at what her employees need without speaking with them and asking. She is taught her staff are individuals and therefore have unique needs and values depending on their personalities. You understand your people are different; they are motivated by different things, have particular interests, and have unique experiences and backgrounds. Because of that, you can’t group them together as a whole if you are seeking to inspire them and develop them. You need to know them personally in order to do that. Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup and author of It’s The Manager in a discussion with my trade organization, NYHRPS New York Human Resources People and Strategy, said, “Practice of management stopped working 15 years ago. Historical command and control doesn’t work. The boss has become the coach who sees people as individuals.”

The world is starving for leadership right now. You could be one of the nourishers. Now is the time for you to shine your light so others can develop to their potential.

Are you feeling it’s your time to grow as a leader? If you’d like to create a training and development plan for you that offers increased productivity, commitment and opportunities for you/and your team, let’s talk.