One Leadership paradox that many people encounter is the dilemma of time and the need for results. The focus on results often makes things like systems, good tactics, job skills, and cash flow high priority. The logistical things of the organization are stewarded well but often at the cost of good communication. We need to get past an expedient leadership mentality so we can enjoy the abundance of servant leadership.People join an organization because of the nature of the job and work. People leave a company because of the leader. -Tracy Bower Click To Tweet
Ultimately, the way we lead our team determines their engagement and ownership. How we lead our people is critical in promoting a values-driven and healthy culture. What we do (content) must be balanced with how we do things (process).
James 1:19, shows us there is power in how we communicate and we can empower our people by listening.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
The Power of Time and Communication
As a leader, do you think you have time in your schedule to ask for input and decision-making help from your people? Most leaders sincerely believe it takes too much time and effort to adopt a more participative, process-oriented leadership style.
We have all heard and possibly even felt ourselves saying, “I’ve got work to do, and my people need to be working. Besides I pay my people top dollar, and they don’t need to be sitting around talking.”
This type of thinking results in millions of employees throughout America who are …
- Unaware of the company’s purpose statement (If there is one)
- Unaware of what the organization’s goals are
- Unclear about what is expected of them
- Uncertain about others’ perceptions as to how well they’ve been doing
- Unsure about how they might be more effective or efficient
- Uninformed about what degrees of freedom they have to pursue improvements
Consequently, many potentially wonderful employees become frustrated, and would likely agree with Jim Lundy’s perceptive summary of this type of leadership in The Employees’ Lament:
The Employees’ Lament
"We, the uninformed working for the inaccessible, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful!”
That’s the bad news. The good news is that these challenges represent great opportunities for improved understanding. The more open the communication atmosphere is for conversations vertically and horizontally, the greater the opportunity for people to address decisions in principled (instead of expedient) ways.
As you know from my previous teaching, content is what you say or do, and process is how you say or do something. We need both Process AND Content — it’s not one OR the other.
The Leadership Paradox
If we can get past the scarcity thinking that leads to expedient leadership, we can enjoy the abundance that results from selfless leadership. I call this the Leadership Paradox.
Every participative-oriented leader can achieve positive outcomes and results as they tap the power of Process AND Content!
Here’s a list of some of the benefits:
- Highly motivated employees
- High-performance teams
- Team members feel good about themselves because there is a sense of achievement, and enjoy receiving recognition.
- People really appreciate being appreciated! They feel useful, and they welcome the opportunity to participate in any decision relating to their operations. Enjoying the respect as useful professionals whose opinions are important. There is excitement to be respected as valuable thinkers as well as doers.
- Customers appreciate being respected and are delighted because delighted employees enthusiastically serve them!
- People are inspired and enhance the organization’s chances for success by virtue of their input.
- There is an increase in morale and teamwork, which leads to improved performance and optimum results. You can multiply a leaders impacts not just add to it.
- By employees being involved in the process there is buy-in, ownership, people are trained, and they become cheerleaders of the decision.
- Team members who are invited to engage in the process are likely to gain a better understanding of the results they are expected to achieve because they understand why it is important to achieve the results.
- People who are part of the process feel their opinion is valuable and are more likely to commit to working within the team to achieve the results.
- People come to work daily on time, having a good attendance record, working for a higher purpose, while giving a full day’s work for their pay.
Buy vs. Earn
Clarence Francis said,
“You can buy someone’s time, you can buy someone’s physical presence at a given place, you can even buy a measured number of skilled muscular motions per hour or day. But you cannot buy enthusiasm; you cannot buy initiative; you cannot buy loyalty; you cannot buy devotion of hearts, minds and souls. You have to earn these things.”
How can you earn the respect and discretionary effort of your team? By adopting the principles of Process and Content. It will take some extra time and effort, but the results will far exceed the additional investment in yourself and others!
Pause and Reflect: Serving The Veteran Community
- How about you? What steps can you take today to start earning the enthusiasm, initiative, and devotion of your employees?
Related, Articles, Videos, and Podcast Episodes
- Leading by Capturing Opportunities with Roger Parrott
- The Legacy of Kindness with Pamela Ballard
- Who is Your Managing Director? with Peter Demos
- Serving the Veteran Community with Kathy Gallowitz
- The Discipleship Dilemma with Dennis Allen