Growing up with the guidance of a good mom is a gift that keeps on giving. A significant percentage of us were fortunate to have grown up with a good mom, who taught and demanded good manners. Not so for all leaders, team members, and colleagues. Some who know better default to jerk under the pressures of deadlines, commitments, distractions and dysfunctions. What’s a leader to do in an era where bad manners and incivility sometimes seem to have been normalized?
My solution? Be the “No Compromise” consistent example of expectations. Leaders set and maintain the standard. Framed Value Statement lists hanging on the wall are simply bad art if leaders don’t persistently demonstrate the behaviors that make those values real. The boss who is seen picking-up a piece of trash in the parking lot makes a greater impact than the boss who raises hell because there is a piece of paper in the parking lot. Please and thank you are timeless courtesies. Respecting the dignity of all is a prerequisite of a good leader.
I had an excellent discussion recently with a guy who runs multiple electronics manufacturing facilities across the country. He was an exceptionally proud owner of the values. There was one that I had never seen before in a company values statement yet it was apparent through him in our discussion. Humility. I’ve thought about that since and had a hard look in the mirror. Lack of humility has contributed to some mistakes for me. How about you?
I had previous client who was a CEO who did something that my mom would have commended. He stopped having the janitors clean the restrooms in the admin offices. People, leaders included, do not follow a very basic mom lesson: clean-up after yourself. After this CEO made this rule, each user started to follow a posted clean-up instructions after each use. As a result, the restrooms were as clean at the end of the day as they were at 6am. (Sidenote: When I was 16, I had a small crew and a janitorial route cleaning offices, stores, and industrial sites. This experience gave me humility and money to support a passion for cars. A fact that may surprise is that women’s restrooms were always more of a dirty mess than men’s.)
While my mom lived the example of good manners, she was also tireless in re-teaching the basics of being a decent person. She got tough when necessary and there were consequences for poor behavior. She was consistent in that while there was tough love when necessary, love was always the operative word. Fresh cookies and milk were a solid antidote to a tough day. What’s your antidote for a team member with a tough day?
And a final message from mom: “Your water glass is always on the right above your knife.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who have done and are doing the hard work to send responsible, compassionate, contributing citizens out into the world. To learn more about Route Two and our approach to better business through improving leadership, visit our website today!
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.com.