Whether we are talking about the church or the secular world, at the core of any successful enterprise is effective leadership. In my earlier years working in hospitals, the idea of supervising others was more of an exercise in holding all accountable, which I understood then as mostly catching employees when they we not doing their job correctly, and making sure disciplinary action was meted out in a fair and evenhanded fashion. An effective manager could proudly show a portfolio of written warnings and terminations, telling others about being firm and fair, but mostly firm. I would hear from several of these managers that they were about to “let an employee go”, almost gloating. I knew better, but few leaders were inspirational in their style of managing others.
In response to harshness of those autocratic leaders, employees tried to find ways to elude the notice of the watchful manager, whom they often despised, and would look for opportunities to find better employment. When a resignation occurred, the manager would come to Human Resources, directing that this newly vacant position become posted right away. The focus was on filling the position, and little about the why surrounding the loss of an employee. Now don’t get me wrong, not all managers were “command and control” in their style of leadership, but there were quite a few, who somehow stood out as exemplars for others to follow.
Over time, companies and corporations began to understand the toll that excessive employee turnover was taking on the bottom line, and on the customers who felt the impact as so many employees were newer, always in training, and generally not as effective in meeting customer needs. Consequently, an evolution has taken place, where a model leader tends to be less controlling and more inspiring. There remain a few of the autocrats today, with employers now more willing to come to terms with and remove the toxic managers, who seek control, and play on human emotions through intimidating and belittling others. These narcissists may be successful in meeting some organizational goals, although the toll on their direct reports can be awful and reprehensible, which will ultimately bring decay to the organizations, the morale of their people, which often accrues to the customer experience.
Today, when hiring leaders, I seek those individuals who are more intent on setting their employees up for success, looking for ways to create emotional connections with their team. The idea is to create a credible environment where employees believe leadership has their best interests at heart – that’s what real trust is all about. Holding accountable means a leader caring enough about an employee to instruct as to what’s working and which areas need improvement. A good leader is an employee’s cheerleader, where staff retention is a critical goal. Best companies will have a retention metric or engagement measure to ensure best employees stay with the organization. Destructive leaders are identified and terminated.
Encouraging one another, whether in a leadership role or not, is a key to bringing the good news of the Gospel to others, to give hope that each person has unique, God-given gifts, value and potential. Good leadership is about identifying and celebrating the unique gifts brought by each employee, which helps unlock one’s full potential, which benefits the employee, the organization, and the customers too.
This is another way of extending the love of Christ to the world which desperately needs it.
Enjoy your Sunday!