Workers Lead As Long As Leaders Work

By Donny Barstow, President of MCCi, Leadership Tallahassee Class 26 Graduate, and member of the Chamber’s Small Business Resource Committee

We help guide others and help them form goals periodically, and then expect everyone to be off and running/executing. We know to let them have ownership and not to meddle in things in between goal setting and periodic reviews, for if we have to meddle, we know that we likely have the wrong person or a bad alignment of people/roles. Besides, micro-management is not the work of a Leader. It is a waste of time and is not respectful or motivational. It should not be considered work and if we do it and feel like it is “working”, shame on us. “Work” that a leader should be doing, is finding the right people so that micro-management is not necessary.

Others need to know in their hearts that we are hard workers and that we are working on things that are going to help the organization and the team grow. This is motivating to them, which turns into a high level of productivity for all. As leaders, we should follow the work ethic expectations we set and should be viewed as one of the hardest, if not the hardest worker in the organization. Think about some of the most successful people/organizations, who is their leader and can they quickly be identified as a hard worker themselves?

When we hold others accountable and work hard ourselves, the people we lead will even start leading us at times. If they have ownership/belief in their goals, the most motivating thing we can do is give them the breathing room needed to accomplish them, and spend our time working hard on other important initiatives. We must never be viewed as hypocrites – no one wants to follow that. In fact, during interviews a great question to ask is “What was your worse boss like?”. The responses typically show that they had a lack of respect for their boss and that they felt they were micro-managed and/or that their boss was hypocritical – which both lead to a lack of respect and a high probability of low productivity.

In our society, the belief seems to be that most people would rather not work hard. It is surely the case if the people do not believe in their work, their team, or their leadership. Sadly, there are many organizations that have a culture where working hard is not valued and sometimes even frowned upon. To be stuck somewhere like that would be my own personal hell. As leaders that believe our own hard work is an important motivator to others, we witness a totally different dynamic within our teams. Perspectives are different and hard work is not viewed as sinful. It is viewed as expected, rewarding, and exciting – because everyone is doing it, even the leadership team.

One important thing to do during the goal setting cycle is to make sure we have our own goals carved out in regards to what we will be focused on. Usually our goals are a culmination of the goals from everyone else and we play the role of putting the puzzle together, however we should have a couple that are things we will be working towards when we are not being lead by others. The coolest thing ever is to work for those we lead. We know we are doing things right when they come to us for the right kind of help and we end up working for them. This only happens if they are motivated enough to stretch themselves and us, and they will only come to us if they believe we truly can and want to help them. And they only believe we “can” and “want to” based on how they view our own work ethic.

2 thoughts on “Workers Lead As Long As Leaders Work

  1. I concur…thanks for the great write-up. Self-assessment should be a common practice for all of us charged to lead others.

Leave a Reply