the blog Synergy

Monday, March 13, 2006

Leadership & Learning

From a profile on Jay Goltz in Inc Magazine (bold for my emphasis)

Education aside, Goltz says he has matured as a boss. "I'm proud that when we moved to this facility, I didn't do much," he says. "I was barely here, because we were moving three companies at the same time. We have a new truck that we bought for the move. One of our employees, Armando, and his wife were backing it up over there." He points toward an indoor loading dock. "He hit a beam, and it came down and crushed the roof of the truck. When I arrived, Armando was beside himself. He said, 'I'm so sorry. I'll pay for it.' His wife was freaked out, crying. All I can say is, I'm glad I'm older now. I knew I had to come right out and say it was okay. They'd been putting in 14-hour days and now this. You can imagine what they were thinking: 'Omigod, we totaled the boss's new truck.' Before, I wouldn't have yelled, but I would have looked disgusted. I've learned that one of my biggest responsibilities is letting people off the hook in situations like that. I told both of them, 'Don't worry. I could have done it myself.'

"That has a big impact. There were a lot of other employees standing there. They see how you behave. You could be doing bonus plans, holding rallies, having parties to build morale. Then you scream at someone and throw it all away. Did I scream when I was younger? Yes. I didn't understand the role of the boss. I had to learn the difference between a mistake, which I can live with, and haphazard conduct. Backing into a pole is a mistake. A crooked label is careless."

Via Phil who pointed this out on Mary Schmidt's blog.

I wrote previously on what a great leader needed to be. The quote from Inc. above gives us confirmation in a leaders own words of what he/she also needs to do; that is, they need to learn.
The Ho'ohana Community previously spent some time looking at "life long learning" so we can come at this in a number of ways.
As Team Synergy continues to develop the conversation around leadership, I think we will find consensus that leadership requires the ability to learn.
Bottom line: did you learn something today?
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  • At 6:45 PM, Blogger Rosa Say said…

    What a great story; thank you for posting it Steve!

    Here's another mention of mistakes that I got in an email today: I am speaking for an MBA Class this week which is using my Managing with Aloha as a textbook this term, and their professor asked them to send me their questions ahead of time.

    "How do you deal with a supervisor who doesn’t provide employees with proper guidance and training but gets upset when mistakes are made performing tasks? I have already confronted her about this but she hasn’t done anything as far as training and guidance. Now if I make mistakes, it’s considered to be ok, but what I really want is to be trained so I can learn how to do my job correctly."

    Leadership and learning from another viewpoint - that of those wanting to be led and taught!

  • At 9:41 AM, Blogger Steve Sherlock said…

    Rosa, the training and learning desires from those who want it is a great thing. But as I am sure you are aware, it requires the nuturing attention from those who can provide it and encourage it; i.e. the managers.

    Getting some managers to that first step of fostering/nurturing learning, or admitting to a mistake (as in the story) can be a big one, but a necessary one!


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