Barb and I had the privilege of having our granddaughters visit for the weekend. Our oldest is at the stage where she “parrots” everything she hears. All of a sudden, I will hear her repeat my, “Bella be quiet!” or “Captain Jack, lay down!.” It was fortunate for me that she was asleep during the Seahawks playoff game!
Parents have learned that what they say might either come back to haunt them or be repeated out loud by their toddler. It’s the same lesson CEOs and business leaders should be learning with their adult employees.
How one talks to their employees and those under their leadership becomes incredibly important to the culture, and overall profitability of the organization. Not that many years ago, the old “command and control” method of running a company was thought to be the fastest way to results. You saw it at all levels of leadership; from the athletic arena to the military to the boardroom. While a certain amount of command and control is needed in a life and death situation like the military, it’s found to be far less effective in the modern world of business.
While my granddaughter has become very adept at “parroting” our language as she learns how to communicate in the world, your employees will also mimic your language and culture. The “command and control” version doesn’t recognize innovation, new ideas, or fresh voices. Rather it stifles all of that to assure that whomever has been around the longest will tell someone how to act, lead, or respond. The result is a detriment to profitability and a potential crisis for the company.
I often tell clients that while a fire is damaging, there is insurance and a plan on how to respond. The real challenges are the proverbial “fires” being out out daily by leadership. These have often ignited due to poor leadership, lack of sound communication, and the command and control method of leadership. And, they are very costly to the bottom line and to reputation.
What you want for your company is a collaborative environment where ideas are fostered and people are recognized for thinking outside the box. Leadership is about listening, encouraging, and communicating. What you want your employees to mimic or “parrot” are positive attributes of the company and its leaders. You can tell a well-led sports team by how it talks after a game, especially after a tough loss. You can also identify the culture of a company by how people respond and how long they stick around.
Your assignment: Start the year of checking on what your employees and co-workers are saying and doing. While it may not be bad, improvement always leads to improved morale, reduced turnover, and increased profitability.
And isn’t that message you’d like repeated?!
Quote of the Day:
“It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
~ Leonardo DaVinci
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