Why We Long for Leaders Who Actually Care

Employee connection with leader

Do the people around you know that you are for them? Do they know whether you care about them, want them to be able to do their individual best, and will advocate for them? Having this assurance promotes a feeling of connection. It goes a long way in establishing trust and an environment of psychological safety. But if they don’t know with certainty that you are for them, they may feel you are indifferent to them (which is disconnecting) or assume, rightly or wrongly, that you are against them (which is very disconnecting). 

Is There a Place for Love in Leadership?

The Container Store's We Love Our Employees Day in 2014

“A company is stronger if bound by love than by fear,” the late Herb Kelleher, co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Southwest Airlines, once said. When Kip Tindell, retired co-founder and Chairman of The Container Store, first heard Kelleher’s bold declaration more than 40 years ago he was, in his own words, “completely taken by it.” In Tindell’s book, Uncontainable, he describes how he and his leadership team went on to shape The Container Store’s “employee first” culture in ways that reflect love. He credits the company’s culture for its success.    

Beware the Brutally Honest Workplace

People yelling at each other in brutally honest workplace

An old fad is making a comeback: the “brutally honest workplace.” From my vantage point, interacting with your colleagues using “radical candor” or “radical transparency” is a subtle—and sometimes not so subtle—form of verbal assault that seems to be spreading, given the success of firms like Bridgewater Associates, and contributing to the rise of incivility and insensitivity today. Proponents of this approach sometimes say that offering constructive criticism should come from a caring mindset but, from what I’ve seen, it merely gives the arrogant and the bullies permission to verbally attack others in the name of honesty. Fortunately, research shows the foolishness of this approach (in fact, even mild expressions of rudeness have been shown to impair team performance).

Last year when I was teaching a Connection Culture workshop in Amsterdam, Carmina Glazenborg from Bentley Systems in Amstelveen, The Netherlands, shared with the group her experience working as an intern at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Listen to Ms. Glazenborg’s story by clicking on the video above. (more…)

To Avoid Micromanagement, Minimize Unnecessary Rules and Excessive Controls

Micromanaged employees like puppets on a string

Unnecessary rules and excessive controls devalue people by making them feel that they are not trusted or respected. A leader who micromanages his people will not engage or energize them.

Micromanaged employees are more likely to feel disconnected because it is a universal human need to have a reasonable degree of autonomy or freedom to do our work. When people have autonomy, they have a greater sense of control and experience personal growth as they develop new skills and expertise.