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In a corporation, what is the best way to achieve the results desired by management?
Last year when we (Legitimate Leadership) called several of our clients to ask whether they would be willing to participate in an investigation we were planning, we didn’t know what to expect. The point of the investigation would be to review the effect of the global pandemic crisis on trust in management.
Our experience, consistently and without exception over the past 25 years, is that management (both individually and collectively) are trusted or not on the strength of their personal interest in the wellbeing of their people.
It always amazes me that companies would never put someone on an expensive piece of equipment without training them to use it – but are happy to put someone in charge of other people’s lives without preparing them for the task.
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Question of the Month
By Wendy Lambourne, Director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: In a corporation, what is the best way to achieve the results desired by management?
Answer: In my experience of corporations, middle and senior managers spend a great deal of their time in setting, measuring and worrying about whether they and their people are achieving the targeted results. If they spent that time ensuring that their people had the means, ability and accountability to achieve those results, they would be much more successful, and with much greater job satisfaction for all concerned.
Obviously the results are very important. In any competitive environment, one competes to win, not lose. But the best way to achieve a given result is neither to focus on it nor to obsessively measure progress against it. A desire to stand on the top of the world, and a determination of how far short of the top one is, does not get the relatively few people who succeed in conquering Everest to do so.
Similarly, a fixation on the score on the scoreboard, relative to other athletes’ scores is not what gains a winning score for the athlete. Nor does an ambition to progress up the hierarchy assure promotion to the desired position. Read the full answer by clicking here
VIGNETTE CASE STUDY: RIGHT NOW! THAT IS THE RIGHT TIME TO START BUILDING TRUST WITH YOUR TEAM
By Ian Munro, Director, Legitimate Leadership.
Last year when we (Legitimate Leadership) called several of our clients to ask whether they would be willing to participate in an investigation we were planning, we didn’t know what to expect. The point of the investigation would be to review the effect of the global pandemic crisis on trust in management. The organisation referenced in this vignette operates in the travel industry – one of the hardest-hit by the crisis. Would they be willing to talk to us about how local lockdowns, bans on international travel and devastating drops in revenues had affected staff morale and manager-employee relations? I wasn’t sure.
As it turns out, they participated willingly in our interviews – and our conversations left me personally optimistic. It wasn’t that the organisation had managed to entirely avoid cost-cutting and reduced working hours. They had done both of these things. At the same time their people had borne increased workloads and had to deal with increasingly emotional, anxious and rude clients – and, of course, had faced unprecedented levels of personal uncertainty and income insecurity.
Yet, despite all these potentially damaging impacts, according to those interviewed, trust within the organisation had actually improved over the four months since the start of the crisis.
Below is not a comprehensive to-do list for management teams wanting to build trust. These are simply some of the highlights in an organisation that got it right in a time of crisis. For many managers the current crisis presents a convenient excuse to put these things off for another day when we have more certainty, more resources, and most critically, more time to spend doing the things that we know will build trust with our people.
The problem is that trust doesn’t stand still. If it isn’t improving little by little, then it’s likely deteriorating little by little. Every day, until it’s too late. So, when is the right time to start building trust with your team? Answer: Right now.
ARTICLE: WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR TRUST IN MANAGEMENT
By Wendy Lambourne, Director, Legitimate Leadership.
That employees trust those in charge of an enterprise is vitally important for two reasons.
Firstly, the more employees trust management, the more prepared they are to go above and beyond in pursuit of the organisation’s objectives. There is a cause-and-effect relationship, in other words, between trust in management and employee willingness.
Secondly, a precondition for sustainable organisational change is high trust in the relationship between leaders and the people they lead. When trust is high even radical change is doable. When trust is low – or worse, when there is distrust between the parties – change is inordinately difficult, if not impossible, to effect.
In short, employees will go the extra mile and embrace change to the degree that they trust those who exercise authority over them.
But what accounts for this highly sought-after, but often not realised, trust in those in authority in organisations?
ARTICLE: MARCUS AURELIUS DID NOT COME OUT OF THE WOMB A LEADER
COMMENT ON THIS VIDEO BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: It always amazes me that companies would never put someone on an expensive piece of equipment without training them to use it – but are happy to put someone in charge of other people’s lives without preparing them for the task. While some people are more naturally leaders than others, developing as a leader is a process not an event. Moreover it is a process which takes place over a lifetime. Leaders stand or fall on the basis of their intent or motive. As those in leadership roles grow as leaders they develop an increasing capacity to give unconditionally. And this, one could argue, is also the purpose of life – to polish one’s own intent, not somebody else’s!
THE ARTICLE: Marcus Aurelius did not come out of the womb a leader. Nor was he an emperor ‘by blood.’ In fact, when first told he was to be king, he wept – thinking of all the bad and failed kings of history.
So how did he get from there to ‘philosopher king’? Book 1 of Meditations shows us.