Continuing the Credo for 21st Century Management from Liquid Leadership:
A Liquid Leader Leads by Example
On February 26, 2009, every Starbucks nationwide closed for emergency retraining. Why? Because founder Howard Schultz had ordered it. He’d taken a leave of absence, but upon hearing of slipping sales and a rumor that the company’s baristas weren’t making a decent latte anymore, he not only returned to action but also quickly implemented an emergency retraining program.
And here’s the key point: Schultz didn’t send out a mandate on a memo pad for someone else to implement. He came out of his sabbatical, got personally involved, then got his managers involved, and finally, in the most dramatic way possible, got every single store involved. That’s what Liquid Leadership is about—leading by example. No matter where you fit in an organization, your example is what builds your reputation, your career, and the future of your company.
Leadership in any organization needs to be admired and respected for its success. People secretly sabotage organizations where the leadership isn’t admired; through either cynicism or stealing, the mutually disgruntled will find followers within their own work groups. This energy interferes with success. Leading by example sets a more positive tone.
This has always been a touchstone of good leadership, but it’s especially true today. Something remarkable took place over the past twenty-five years: People stopped worshipping the companies they work for and began instead to see themselves as value added to the bottom line, partners in success. Today’s workforce has amazingly high self-esteem and won’t look up to you just because you’ve “earned” the corner office.
And how do you treat a partner? With respect. You can no longer bark orders from the sidelines, expecting employees to jump and obey. Nor can you stay in total isolation, ignoring their needs. Today’s workforce wants their leadership approachable and real.
The only way to engage with your organization is to enroll your people in your vision and then live that vision. In the minds of the people who work for your org, they are the company.
Hubris is out; stewardship and integrity are in.
And please, don’t fake it.
People can smell BS a mile away, and they will run from it. Where cowards blame others for their mistakes, a Liquid Leader is the first to take blame and the last to take credit. Without people to lead, you stand alone.
And do yourself a favor: Mr. Nice Guy doesn’t work either. Being respected is what you want to work on. Believe me, I’ve tried both methods and at the end of the day, people respect those whom they admire.
Time to set the tone...
Global Management Consultant
Millennial Expert, Cross Generational Leadership Development & Workforce Performance Strategies, Executive Coach
TEDX Speaker, Web pioneer and the author of the award-winning, bestseller Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Brad is a former C-level executive of a publicly traded company that he cofounded that went from entrepreneurial start-up to IPO in three years; the first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company K2 Design, experienced 425% hyper-growth, due in part to a unique management style that won his company the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.
Today the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on Millennials, and he has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Inc., Advertising Age, The International Business Times, and The Hindu BusinessLine to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CBS and other media outlets.
Brad's programs have transformed a new generation of business leaders, helping them maximize their corporate culture, expectations, productivity, and sales growth in The Information Age.
* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership
* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author
"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York
Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.