Leadership is hard. And one of the most difficult aspects of leadership is finding the balance between niceness and effectiveness. Do you struggle with avoiding the two extremes like I do?
Moms – do you keep your children in line with the fear of your wrath? Or are you a pushover because you want them to like you and you are afraid of making them upset?
Husbands – do you rule your home with an iron fist, never letting anyone forget who’s the boss? Or do you check out and go passive at the first sign of conflict or problems?
Bosses – Do your employees see you as callous, uncaring, and mean? Or as a nice guy who never gets anything done?
Regardless of your role, do you struggle with making the hard decisions that you know are right?
I believe this is a struggle for every person with any amount of leadership responsibility. Most of us have a natural tendency towards one end of the spectrum or the other, depending on nature and nurture, and these deeply engrained emotions and habits are hard to change. The ideal leader will be able to land at that perfect spot in the middle, where effectiveness and niceness overlap. But how? How can I achieve this superhuman feat? What strategy could possibly work?
I want to introduce you to a book that you should buy for anyone in your life who desires to be an effective leader: Love Works. Joel Manby has written a book that uses 1 Corinthians 13 as a textbook for business. More specifically, he teaches us how to ‘lead with love.’ Joel takes 7 principles from this well-known chapter and applies them to relationships at work:
Servant Leadership Instruction Manual
I was fortunate enough to meet Joel last week when he spoke to our hospital’s leadership team about the importance of leading with love. Joel’s message reminded me that he also faces the tension between the results we achieve and how we get them. He made it clear that in his job he has to balance 3 competing aims:
- Happy customers
- Happy employees
It would be very easy to achieve one of these by sacrificing the other two. Ruthless cuts and questionable business practices could lead to profit, but it would sacrifice employee morale. Giving employees everything they want is nice, but if the company loses money those same employees will be out of work. But to quote from the book, “Wise leaders use their personal ethics to effectively manage the tension between corporate values and corporate profits.” They accomplish this balance by creating a culture of servant leadership, from the top down. You have to read the book to understand the whole picture, but here are a few points and practices that teach how to create the balance:
- Don’t be patient with poor performance. Be patient with how you respond to poor performance
- Praise patiently in public, being specific, exact, and legitimate
- Admonish in private. This is effective and protects a person’s dignity.
- His employees set goals to ‘do’ and goals to ‘be.’
- Don’t “shoot the messenger” or confuse disagreement with conflict
- Don’t assume people see the truth – speak up
- Be truthful to an employee about ways he/she can improve. If they can’t improve, be truthful in their dismissal and treat them with dignity.
- Be open to hearing the truth.
- No matter how you do it, find an accountability partner or partners in your life who will always tell you the truth about yourself.
- Love without power and power without love are ineffective and unhealthy in relationships or organizations
Want a full summary of the book? Download this free resource: | Excerpts From Love Works. |
How is Love Working for his company? The results speak for themselves: Their employee engagement is twice as good as their competitors’, their turnover is lower by half, and their customer satisfaction ranks right at the top of the charts. And as you may expect, dedicated employees serving satisfied customers leads to good financial results. To quote the book title: Love Works!
I love highlighting good examples of servant leadership! It is inspirational to me to find people who are living out their purpose by leading well. I hope that you can take these lessons and use these behaviors and actions to enhance your leadership skills today. Remember, when you lead with love you are able to be effective AND kind. Or to quote the book:
“By actively using the seven principles of leading with love – to be patient, kind, trusting, unselfish, truthful, forgiving, and dedicated – we are ensuring our business is resilient and profitable and our employees motivated and loyal. We do this because it makes good business sense and it’s the right thing to do.”
Learn more about OPL’s take on leadership by clicking on the Guys – Leadership menu, or by searching for “Leadership” in the search box. And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right. One step and you’re done!
Other posts you may like:
Servant Leadership: Coach John Wooden, Nice and Effective
Lincoln – Sharpened on the Anvil of Leadership
C13 Mom: Using the principles of 1 Corinthians 13 in the job of being a mom. (One of the most important leadership roles of all!)
More information about HFE and Joel Manby:
Joel knows something about leading. A Harvard business school graduate, he has been an executive at Saturn and the CEO of Saab North America. He currently is the CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, a company that manages 26 themed attractions in 10 states. The Herschend family started by leading tours through a cave in Branson in 1950, which eventually turned into Silver Dollar City. Over time they were able to expand their influence to themed attractions all across the country…even the Harlem Globetrotters! The Herschends were able to create a culture of leading with love that Joel has embraced and expanded. Find out more here: http://www.hfecorp.com/about/history.php and consider visiting their attractions on your next vacation! http://www.hfecorp.com/businesses/