The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

It’s About the People

On May 26th, 2015, posted in: Uncategorized by

group of diverse people

At the end of a conversation about success, business people will inevitably agree that it’s about the people. Among those who toil on a day-to-day basis — you know, the real people in the trenches — people matter. In the world of academia, where toiling involves a lot of theoretical pontification, the answer is the same — people matter. So why does the “command and control” autocratic leadership model still exist?

If you believe that “he who has the best people wins,” then why aren’t people engaged to a greater degree? It’s time for many businesses to make a shift in focus. Leaders must become more comfortable with sharing information and thus sharing power. Normalizing this sharing should be pervasive among business operations. Shared information allows for more informed employees, which in turn allows for employees to adjust on the fly to get things done for the benefit of all. Digital technology and smartphones have shifted power from the few to the many.

Bosses who try to control everything find out very soon that they are involved in an exercise in futility. Hey, Mr. Boss Man, you don’t know it all. Rather than pretend you do, how about embracing the unknown? Humility can help you to overcome the volatility of the workplace. The more people who are clued in to what’s going on, the better the chances of identifying the problems.

Look, I’m of the mindset that bosses who purport to have a power base behind the curtain-pulling levers are fooling themselves. Controlling everything like a marionette on a string is so Mad Men. Today, one is much better served to be an empathetic conductor of the corporate culture.

Transparency and trust, empathy and values — these are the keys to success. Provide guiding principles to help people understand why your business exists. Nurturing an organization is much more valuable than trying to keep track of every move that is made. If everybody is on the same page, committed to the purpose-driven mission established, then bosses don’t pull levers. They become gardeners gently tilling, sowing and reaping the harvest.

The command and control model doesn’t work. Leaders should never accept such rubbish as the status quo. Great leaders seek to redefine their style to meet the changing workforce and the demands of social responsibility placed on organizations by the communities in which they serve.

Sharing is a principle learned in preschool. Bosses need to revisit such a valuable lesson. As my dad would say, “you get more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar.”


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