When Not to be an Executive

Are you finding a team member not in line with your direction and objectives? It’s like trying to turn a mule. You pull on the reins and off they go in a different direction. You may think this team member is stubborn as an ass, but it’s not the brain, it’s the heart. The heart of the problem is just that…the heart.

If you want to see a team member change his/her direction and move in your direction, and that of the company’s, it starts with an inside change. Pressure from the outside, such as anger and yelling, merely harden the heart. To win the heart and get the heart moving correctly, you must focus on what’s going on inside. So often, we look to change a person from the outside. What we see on the outside is merely a symptom of what is going on inside.

In my 26 years of business, I have found most of the “issues” I have had to deal with in employees, managers and partners stemmed from life issues with their fathers. I have seen adult men breakdown and cry over a failed relationship with their dad. It is in these times, we as leaders, need to act as fathers and not executives. You can’t change of fix the situation, but with your care and trust, you can help this person get in step and on the right track.

To connect with this team member, start with some simple question. “How can I help?” As they look at you trying to determine your motive, you need to be sincere and empathize with them. No, don’t baby them, but you do need to understand what’s going on. If they are an employee or partner, you have a lot invested in them, so now is what we call “maintenance.” You must take a break and apply the proverbial maintenance check first and then add the necessary things to fill them up. It may not happen in one day, but your attention to their matter will get them to step with you. How do you know what to service? Another simple question, “What do you need?”

A relationship without trust is like having a phone with no service.

And what do people do with a phone with no service? They play games.

Getting team members and partners on the bus in the right direction (per Good to Great) takes time and work. When you care for your people, they take care of you. Have a heart for their heart, because you don’t know the wounds they may carry. There are times you need to be a father or mother more than an executive, but remember, both are leaders.

Mitch Smith, Founder & CEO of Rootloud

Mitch Smith
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