The Other Side of Me
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

This morning as I was driving to work I heard this question: “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?” What a great and probing question. As leaders, we are so focused on what needs to be done and achieving goals and objectives that we often lose focus on what leadership really is, helping people grow and develop so they can reach their full potential. Former Boeing and Ford CEO, Allan Mullaly said, “Leadership is never about you, it must be about them.”

Leadership is simply the ability to influence other people. Truth is, there are many ways to influence people. In one of the trainings I lead I reference the following:

  • Force – They have no choice in the decision
  • Intimidation – It’s my way or the highway
  • Manipulation – There are winners and losers
  • Position – They do it because they have to (I am the boss)

Each of the above leaves the other person feeling controlled. Using these methods, we can expect to get the bare minimum from our employees—just enough to “keep them out of trouble.” We are getting compliance with our demands and not much more.

So back to the question I heard, “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?” Am I a leader that people want to follow? Am I helping people do better work? Am I looking for teachable moments and leading my team on a path of self-discovery? Does my team feel that I value them? Maybe I need to start with honestly asking, do I really value them? Do I try to see things through their eyes? Do I even care what it’s like to be on the other side of me?

I know this post is pretty rough. I have had to ask myself some tough questions about my leadership. As I look back on over 35 years in manufacturing, I need to be honest with myself and you, there were times when I was a real jerk. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be that way. Take the time to ask others what it’s like to be on the other side of you. Allow people to express themselves in 360-degree evaluations or similar anonymous feedback methods. The only thing worse than hearing the truth is not hearing it and remaining a jerk. Not only are you risking the potential of your team, but you are also putting yourself in the position to potentially lose your best people.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, please join Marisa and me on Episode 110 of The Next Page podcast.

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