A Leader's Day
People often ask business leaders where they focus the majority of their time and attention to move their organizations forward. When asked, my answer has been consistent; I focus on our people. People matter to me – a lot. Showing my team I care about them, both personally and professionally, is a priority. These are four things I try to do every day to show the people in my organization I value, appreciate and support them.
1. Spend as much personal time with people as you can. Show them you truly care about their happiness and success.
We want our employees to have a long and thriving career, either with WinterWyman, or as a step in their path. I take great pride helping individuals achieve their ultimate career goals, and I know the investment in our people, benefits our company as a whole. Everyone wins.
By getting to know the people who work for WinterWyman, I can understand where they want to go and how I can help them get there. If our business closed tomorrow, I need to know our folks will prosper and be desirable to other employers. If they decide to stay for the long term, I want them to continue learning, growing and being successful. Our company succeeds when we invest in the development of our people.
2. Help people explore their talents by eliminating the hurdles that get in their way.
A leader’s role is to make everyone’s job easier not more difficult. When I see someone struggling, or am approached with a concern, I look at their work holistically. How can we eliminate some responsibilities, burdens or distractions that are preventing them from blossoming? Sometimes it’s just a matter of a few adjustments. I work with my teams to eliminate barriers and create opportunities.
3. Help bring out creativity in those who aspire to be creative and innovative.
People want to be creative, take important risks and think differently. Sometimes the only thing holding them back is a fear of failing. To encourage innovation, I offer a safe place to fail and a culture that says, “The only way to get better is to try new things; mistakes are expected.” The key is to make sure mistakes are used for learning. I try to use my influence to let people know that honest effort to improve themselves, their teams or the company – even if met with failure – is good.
4. Listen – Listen – Listen.
As a leader, it’s so important to foster open and honest dialogue. To do this successfully, I need to ask a question, and then I step back and really take the time to listen.
I encourage the sharing of ideas, let folks know I respect a good debate and try to make everyone comfortable by providing a culture of openness. As a leader, I’m not afraid of being quiet and letting a group discussion develop organically. If I jump in too soon, I risk shutting down the conversation and drawing the attention to me.
Leaders don’t need to be the smartest people in the room, and they don’t need to have all the answers. But, they do need to be strong listeners and facilitators. The ideas don’t need to be mine, but I do need to play a role in coaxing them out.
As a leader who makes people a priority, every day is different, exciting and met with new challenges. I wouldn’t have it any other way.