Have you ever had an employer you’d go to war for?  No matter what, you had their back because they had yours. They had built up enough rapport with you that you respected them and would hang on to every word they said. If they ever had to confront you about a problem or discipline you, it was respectfully delivered and well-received. They were trying to fix the problem rather than affix blame. You followed their criticism and did not want to let them down. So the business became stronger because the relationship between partners strengthened like a muscle after exercise. This is what happens when a leader views his role as a mentor instead of a boss. Now compare this mentor to that ONE boss. You know the one: the guy that sticks out as someone you never want to be. This person had, at best, rocky levels of respect for his employees. It was obvious in your day to day interactions that you were simply a number and that you were tolerated rather than appreciated. They belittled you and made you feel ineffectual and replaceable. No matter how dedicated and hardworking you were, they constantly found fault and focused on it relentlessly. There was an obvious lack of trust between the two of you that no flame of confidence could spark. This was a boss, not a leader. Today, we live in a much more sensitive and conscientious world.To start a movement, you have to fan a different kind of flame.You cannot be a self-centered egotist who stomps on people to get to the top of the success pile. If you want the people around you to support your mission, you have to support theirs, especially the ones who were with you from the start. They got you up and running, so you need to keep them up and running too. To get people to follow you and have your back, you need to follow them and have theirs. Treat them like they mean the world to you. Find out what is important to them, and do what you can to help make that happen. If they’re driven by consistent raises and they perform accordingly, reward them with raises and bonuses they don’t expect. If they want some new tool and you know they’re struggling financially but they pull 60-hour work weeks every time you ask them to, buy the tool and surprise them with it! PullQuote-DustinIf they want to be a leader, put them in leadership roles and let them feel like they’re getting to the place they most want to be. If they’ve mentioned not getting enough quality time with their spouse, give them a day off and pay for them and their spouse to go to a couple’s spa treatment for the weekend. If you treat them like treasured assets, they’ll treat you the same. They won’t leave, and they won’t disappoint you. Today, we are in the people business. This isn’t the financial business, the tech business, the sales business or the marketing business. People buy into people. How often do you give to your employees or peers without asking for anything in return? Do you give more to them than they do to you? You should; they will notice it. So care —actually care— and don’t just pretend to because it serves your interest. Have compassion for the people who work for your dream and be transparent. Then, you will have followers for life. Be a leader, not a boss.

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About NCCER

NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.