By Linda Carter
When I entered the world of leadership development in the early ‘90s, managers were not faced with the challenges of the current work environment of the 2020s. In fact, looking back now, life was pretty simple. Yes, we were fascinated with the Total Quality Management approach to management and Just in Time systems in the manufacturing arena. We were moving from management to leadership concepts, team building, and employee empowerment. Yes, it was an exciting time to be in the business world for managers and employees. Companies realized that if they were going to be competitive into the future, they were going to have to see their human resources as their number-one asset, and investing in the development of their people was a key to success.
At the beginning of any new movement, there is excitement and enthusiasm for this new approach, but we also know that after a period of time the newness tends to wear off and these efforts can become mundane and seem like too much trouble and take too much time. It can become easy to fall back into the old patterns of the past and go back to just telling people what to do; it just seems easier so we can just move on. Now, add a crisis into the mix, and it exacerbates the desire to tell people what to do even more, and we wander from leadership and start managing our people again instead of leading them to the future.
Being an effective leader is not an easy task, and not everyone is cut out to do it. Part of the challenge of effective leadership is that leadership is an inside job. What I mean by that is that leadership resides more in the heart, management resides mostly in the head. An effective leader cares, and caring comes from the heart. They care about the success of their company and the success of their people. A manager tends to see their people as a means to an end; leaders know they can’t truly succeed by themselves and know in their heart that they get the best results through the activities of their people. They are nothing without their people, and the effective leader exists to serve their people toward success. Our work environment has changed; people are isolated and often working by themselves. It is critical to their success today that we step up as leaders and make sure they know you care about them. That means we need to be better communicators, more empathetic, more concerned about their welfare and that they get it. Ask yourself, who do I need to touch base with today and take temperature, or give feedback or let them know the company appreciates their contribution? Every year, Associated Builders and Contractors presents a learning opportunity for leaders and upcoming leaders to develop their leadership skills through the ABC Leadership Forum. It has a focus on all the essential leadership skills that will take your leaders and your company to the next level of success. It begins every January and runs through May. It is an investment your company will never regret. Leadership is an inside job, and ABC can provide those tools for leadership success!