There are too many amazing people in this world for you to think that your team are robots and just there for your every becandcall. Within every business there will be monotonous tasks that are far from flattering or interesting and other tasks that are fun and enjoyable to do. But it is up to you as a leader to motivate everyone, make them appreciate the work and take pride in every item that they deliver. No matter if your team is working in the trenches and do not directly report to you or they are your right hand man (or woman), take an interest in them, learn about their family, acknowledge what motivates them to work and try to show them that you are there for them if they need you to be.
Be like Theodore Roosevelt
A great reminder that you are never too busy to care about those people who work with you, is a story about Theodore Roosevelt – President of the United States (1901–1909). During his service, President Roosevelt had an amazing ability for never walking past any member of staff without knowing their name, making a whimsical remark, rambling off a personal joke or just making them feel appreciated. By nature, he knew that every single person in the White House were an integral part of its functioning, even Alice, a kitchen maid (not someone who passes by in the hallway) was acknowledge by him and her great homemade corn bread.
Even when returning to the White House a couple of years after his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt still addressed every member of the White House’s staff by their first name, acknowledged them individually and treated them the same as he always did. His demeanour did not change, his jokes did not alter and he was not even their ‘Boss’ at the time of his visit. And this just goes to prove that he never commanded as a stereotypical ‘President’ but approached every one of his team as a mentor, a guide and most importantly, a friend. (There is a great book called: Theodore Roosevelt, Hero to His Valet by James Amos that talks about Theodore’s amazing compassion for his team and is written by his ex-valet driver)
Be a Leader – Not a Jerk!
What originally sparked this post was an amazing email that I got from one of my team members this morning after I emailed her my thanks for her work towards some important documents and how proud I was of her developments over the past 2 years. This was her reply, word for word:
Thank you so much for believing in me and I can’t thank you enough for always telling me that everything’s gonna be fine when I feel like quitting. I’ve never seen the great things that you have just enumerated above and didn’t realize that yeah I’ve improved a lot from being just a simple Customer Service Representative to Executive Assistant and it won’t happen if it wasn’t for all your help. You have been so patient with helping me out with the new things that you’ve introduce me to and you didn’t stop believing in me even if I fail sometimes. You always appreciate my work and that inspires me, although there are really times that I can’t be too focus with the work because of emergencies.
I would also want to take this time to THANK YOU for everything, Grant. I can’t thank you enough to all the things that you’ve done for me for the past 1 year and 11 months. I didn’t realize that I could be with you this long cause the moment I accepted the job, all I think was ‘this job might just last for 3 months’ but it didn’t just last for 3 months, not even just for a year, but over. I have asked God for a stable job, but he gave me more, cause he gave me a job plus a GREAT and BEST EVER Boss. Thanks for treating me like your sister. You will always be my one and only same age brother. hahahaha
Thank you, Grant and always remember that you might be very busy and might have a lot of friends already but if you need someone to talk to, i’m just a text or skype message away. My throat aches, i’m kinda holding back my tears when I read your message above. hahahahaha #TooDramatic
Please don’t thank me cause I’m the one who needs to thank you,
How can running your own business and having a great team around you not be the best activity in the world if you are getting emails from team members like above.
Thank you Han and Thank you to the whole team – you are all rockstars!!!