Value people first . . .

If we hope to transform our organization, our department, our team, we need committed and dedicated people. Without them, we will never get there.

How we treat each other does matter. Our expectations should always remain clear.

A much too common story . . .

The story that follows really happened. Everyone survived unscathed, but the lesson learned remains.

The day began chaotically. All the planning for the training session seemed to disintegrate piece by piece. Materials failed to arrive on time. The tech team struggled with projectors and computers. Beth’s partner, Liz, had to take over another meeting when a colleague fell ill.

Since they had designed and prepared the training together, Beth had no problem starting the session alone. Liz went on to the other meeting. Beth went to inform the director of her decision.

As she saw it, there were two choices. Cancel the training with a room full of participants. Or, step in and take the lead.

Beth walked into the director’s office. She explained the situation and change in plans. The director began shouting,

“You did what? Making decisions is not your job!”

Never one to back down, Beth calmly responded,

“I considered the impact on our customers who sat waiting for both events to begin on time and professionally. You hired me for my expertise and experience, and the ability to make decisions.”

By the end of the day, the training and the meeting met the needs of those who came to learn. The director never mentioned the scene again.

The sharp words would remain. Beth lost all respect and trust that day. Clearly, the director’s behavior spoke loudly.

“I do not value or respect you enough to explain why the decision might have caused a problem—or apologize for the outburst.”

People deserve respect. . .

[bctt tweet=”We thrive on respect. Taking that away erodes trust and can instill fear and uncertainty in the workplace.” username=”KathrynLeRoy”]

In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg writes:

“Simply giving employees a sense of agency—a feeling that they are in control, that they have genuine decision-making authority—can radically increase how much energy and focus they bring to their jobs.”

Transforming our organizations depends on the expertise, commitment, and trust of the people who do the work.

Jim Collins’ research (in Good to Great) found that great leaders recognize three truths:

  1. If you begin with “who” rather than “what,” you can more easily adapt to a changing world
  2. If you have the right people, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away
  3. If you have the wrong people, it does not matter whether you discover the right direction, you still will not have a great company (school, government, nonprofit)

We must never forget . . .

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”
Jim Collins

When we demonstrate that we value people and their contributions to success and excellence, we have little difficulty answering these questions:

  • How do you explain the mission and help people understand how their work contributes to it?
  • How do you create trust and eliminate fear in the workplace?
  • How do you listen to employees without passing judgment?
  • How do you build a work environment that supports and rewards cooperation?
  • How do you model and encourage personal and organizational learning?
  • How do you coach others for high performance and excellence?
  • How do you know if people need help in improving or developing new skills?
  • How do people know you value them?

Leaders set the stage. How will you, as a leader, set the stage? How will your actions, your behavior, demonstrate that you truly value people?

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.