My family and I moved to New York about 6 years ago. It was not an easy transition as most of my husband’s family lives in Michigan and most of mine lives in the south. Additionally, along with a higher cost of living, we also experienced for the first time what it was like to leave your children with someone you don’t really know. Oftentimes, even though we thought we had found the right person to watch our children, we would still cancel our plans because we just couldn’t bear the possibility of not making the right decision for our children’s care. We always went with our gut.
Our children are our most precious possession and we would do anything to protect their wellbeing and safety, solidify their future by providing opportunities for growth, and bring happiness and joy to their lives. Sometimes achieving that goal comes with sacrifice, selflessness, and sleepless nights — all without much explicit appreciation. But we don’t think twice of the things we do to ensure that our children enjoy the lives that they deserve and have opportunities for success.
Employees should be the most valuable and precious asset of an organization. But all too often they are not treated as such. Most senior leaders in organizations are not losing sleep because their employees may be being led by an ill-equipped manager. Most organizational leaders aren’t willing to make many sacrifices to ensure that their employees are thriving, growing, and developing with a positive outlook for their future.
Imagine a babysitter arrives to care for your child and this is their first time babysitting or they did not come to you from references you trust. What do you do?
There are two options:
1. Cancel your plans immediately and not attempt to make plans for another night out until you find someone who meets all your requirements. This severely limits your social activities and also means that you are spending extra time and energy searching for the perfect candidate.
2. Accept that at some point, everyone has to have a “first job,” and welcome the opportunity to help this individual develop their skills by doing everything you can to ensure they are successful. You take the time and effort necessary to explain in detail all your expectations for behavior, tasks, and communication. You’d identify deal breakers and help them identify tools resources to successfully complete their job, like instructions, phone numbers, and a tour of your living spaces. You invite them to reach out if they need support, and you invite questions and opportunities for clarification of expectations.
Which option do you think is the best option for your sanity and for overall social health of your family?
Undoubtedly, it’s option 2.
Your children are not the only people in your life who benefit from an organized, supportive approach to management. Your employees also deserve an environment that sets up managers to succeed by communicating clear expectations and providing adequate tools and resources to get the job done well.
When organizations hire and promote unprepared leaders without the aptitude or attitude to lead, they fail to protect the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Those employees fail to thrive and work with constant uncertainty, disengagement, chaos, and stress. It is obvious to everyone that this environment is toxic not only to the individual employees but also to the organization as a whole. The impact of an undeveloped leader on an organization has the potential to be catastrophic: a toxic environment can cause your best employees to jump ship, your customers to seek other options, and can threaten the longevity of your organization.
So why do organizations fail to prepare their leaders?
1. They don’t plan ahead.
2. They assume that expectations are understood by default.
3. They don’t provide adequate support to ensure success.
Your organization can take the following steps to prepare leaders to take proper care of your employees:
1. Develop a comprehensive leadership plan that spells out in great detail every expectation you have of your leaders.
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Provide clarification and identify appropriate feedback channels to make sure that expectations are understood.
3. Provide tools and resources to your leaders and employees to allow them to seek help and develop their leadership skills.
Most importantly, don’t fail to remember that your employees are your most valuable asset. They deserve to be treated as such and left in the hands of the most competent leaders.