Why All the Effort?
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

I recently received an email from someone asking me to stop sending emails regarding some of my leadership offerings. The person commented that all they are interested in is performance. The first thing I did was make sure that their request to not receive any more of my training emails was granted. Then I started thinking about what they said and why they may have felt the need to say it. What might they have been missing in my emails? Do others have the same concerns? Perhaps I haven’t been clear on why I teach what I teach. So here goes. Let’s see if I can clarify some misunderstandings.

I am an aging factory guy who always wants to increase employee engagement and thereby increase productivity. I want to increase innovation by engaging an employee’s mind, not just their hands. I want to decrease absenteeism and increase retention among teams and organizations. I want MACNY’s members to have teams who value each other and love working together. I want each of our member companies, as well as those organizations that haven’t yet joined MACNY, to be tremendously profitable and successful. For this to happen, we all need to put in a lot of effort.

The email that prompted the response I mentioned earlier was about one of our newest training offerings, A New Type of Diversity. This program helps participants learn about each of the five generations working in our organizations. If we want to have the most productive and engaged team, we need to know how to communicate effectively. As leaders, we need to know how to tap into the unique giftedness each person brings, and the fact is that each of the five generations we are interacting with respond differently. If we treat them all the way we want to be treated we will lose performance, engagement, and just maybe that team member.

The best leaders are those who are servant leaders. They understand that leadership relationships are very personal. A leader touches the heart before they ask for a hand. While some may be more gifted in this area, anyone with a willing heart and open mind can become a servant leader. Ascend to Servant Leadership is a program that walks the participant through a process of building a road map that will help them make the ascent through the five levels of leadership: Position, Permission, Production, People Development, and The Pinnacle where a leader’s influence expands beyond their organization.

All leaders have blind spots. Good leaders have an inner circle, made up of people who love them unconditionally and speak truth into their life. The best leaders make sure that their inner circle is made up of people who bring different perspectives and different life experiences to that leader. I work to cultivate relationships with people who can help me become more aware of my blind spots. People who can help me lead better, interact more effectively, and deliver better performance for my customers. The class that helped me understand this the best, was Inclusive Leadership.

I suppose the titles of those classes might make people uncomfortable. The truth is, that if applied to our leadership, they make our teams and our organizations more productive, innovative, and sustainable in turbulent times. So yes, it is worth all the effort.

Lastly, valuing people is just the right thing to do. When we value the differences and unique gifts each person brings, we make them feel valued and help them live out a life of purpose.

I’m not going to apologize for that.