From The Blog

Servant Leader or Boss?

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Have you ever worked for someone that made you ask yourself…just how in the world did this person get to that level? You know the kind of person that I’m talking about, the unapproachable, all about getting the results at any cost type of boss.  They sit behind their desk and try to manage by their authority and power and typically don’t have a pulse or clue as to what is happening on their floor, in their showroom or in the distribution center.

Typically, you’ll find this profile leader managing more by the Dashboard and they’ve forgotten that there is a team or a collective group responsible for attaining those all-important numbers.

As a recruiter another profile I hear about all the time is the MICRO-MANAGER. This manager means well but causes disruption and stifles creativity by being over involved.  They constantly worry about everything and have no clear vision or belief system. They don’t understand the value of collaboration and teamwork in the workplace and do not share connectivity resulting in having no true influence with their team.

Great Leadership defined

Tony Robbins, the award winning motivational speaker is a subject matter expert in teaching about Leadership Traits.  Here is one of his definitions of Leadership from his writings.

 “Leadership isn’t a position — it’s a skill and a tool you can continually cultivate and use to create lasting change and provide certainty to others in times of uncertainty. And it’s founded on the idea of influence.

Can you influence yourself? Can you influence the thoughts, feelings and emotions of another human being? How about a group of human beings? That’s what leadership is. An idea is only an idea, one that will ultimately die, unless you can become a person of influence — a person who can influence and lead your team toward that idea’s fruition.  https://www.tonyrobbins.com/what-is-leadership/

Unfortunately, there are many bosses out there that do not inspire their teams and therefore they are vulnerable to talent drain and turnover. From my seat as an Executive Recruiter I’ve seen how great bosses can literally insulate their companies from turnover.  In fact, I’ve found that when I call into a company with a great inspirational leader there is virtually no presentation or pitch that I can use that will dislodge someone away from a great servant leader.

According to a recent survey by Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job survey sites, “company culture matters more than pay as a driver of long-term employee satisfaction and engagement”.

At our firm we also like this quote from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “Dissatisfied workers don’t leave their jobs – they leave their bosses”.

Just for fun…here is a cartoon that really nails it.

After seeing this cartoon, I just had to gain permission and include it since I recognized so many of the management styles that I’ve seen over the course of my own experiences and work lives. I have to say, for the most part I’ve had some amazing bosses and mentors especially early career. They really made the difference in my career tracks.  I really love the “The Seagull” and “Pitchfork” these two are my favorites. Over the years I’ve really seen them wreak havoc in the workplace.

So how can you determine whether your Company has Strong Leaders, Not Bosses?Here are some traits on how to determine if you have Leaders who inspire vs just being a boss from our Center for Recruiting Excellence at the MRINETWORK. Are leaders born or made? It’s an interesting question that produces a plethora of answers. But here’s something that isn’t up for debate: People are naturally attracted to leaders.

Leaders possess capabilities that can inspire others to become their best, something that business owners eagerly seek in the people they hire and the individuals they currently employ. When you recognize leadership qualities in your workforce, you can’t afford to let them get away. As a result, companies are always looking to identify leadership skills within potential hires to ensure they have a strong base of leaders that can drive the organization forward. These skills include the ability to motivate staff and drive innovation, while doing so with a sense of integrity, transparency and diplomacy.

A great way to gain insight on whether someone is more of a boss or a leader is to do your homework during the hiring process. For example, if you’re interviewing an applicant for a management opening, asking them a few questions about how they led various projects or initiatives will tell you a lot about their leadership style.

Additionally, calling one or two of the candidate’s references can give you an idea of whether the person was highly regarded for their leadership capabilities in their previous position. The length of their relationship can also provide insight.

How do you ensure you have leaders who inspire instead of bosses who discourage? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Leaders avoid micromanaging and consider others their equals

As discussed in The Muse, even though managers may be authority figures, they shouldn’t see themselves as “better than” the workers who are in their charge. The best managers view their relationship as more of a partnership, rather than a one-way street where the manager directs, and workers perform. Additionally, leaders give their staff autonomy, adopting a more “hands-off” approach to management. In the 2016 CareerBuilder survey, respondents who gave their managers a high letter grade were more likely to work for leaders who they didn’t consider to be a micro-manager. 

  1. Leaders take a genuine interest in their team members

Employees have lives beyond the office, spending their time with family members, friends, projects at home or activities within their community. Leaders aim to get to know their team on an individual basis, forming a more personal relationship while at the same time learning about qualities that can contribute to the growth of the business, like expertise that isn’t currently be utilized, or traits such as patience or perseverance that would lend themselves well on a special project. Knowing someone at an individual fosters trust and encourages people to give it their all.

       3. Leaders prioritize relationships and results

Managers in leadership positions are responsible for ensuring work is completed effectively so growth never ceases. Overbearing bosses may still be able to achieve solid results, but it may produce diminishing returns if employees are at their wits’ end and ultimately decide to quit in search of greener pastures. Leaders recognize the value of relationships. They prioritize finding solutions to issues that may be troubling workers and ultimately impeding their work output. Leaders also put greater emphasis on results that are achieved through demanding yet, reasonable processes rather than processes that are tedious and unnecessarily taxing.

“Whether it comes naturally or develops over time, leadership is an indispensable asset that can help your business reach its goals, “Fostering strong leadership and leveraging it to drive the organization forward can be the difference between a run-of-the-mill operation and a truly extraordinary one.”

In today’s competitive workplace you can inoculate yourself from most turnover by influencing and leading others.  One of the questions I often ask executives when conducting a screening interview is this; tell me what your peers and direct reports say about you in the lunchroom or at the water cooler?  Their answer to this question tells me a lot about their style and whether or not they’ve ever given any thought to influencing others.

I believe we never can stop learning and growing. If you have a favorite type of manager you’ve encountered in the past please send me a note.  bill@connectorteamrecruiting.com

Blog Post by: Bill O’Malley, Chief Recruiting Officer at Connector Team Recruiting.  Connector Team is recognized by leaders and leading consultants as the premier search firm in the Furniture | Appliance and Sleep vertical space. Connector Team is an affiliate office of MRINETWORK recently ranked in the Top 10 in Recruitment Firms by Forbes Magazine.

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