Monday, March 15, 2010

Leaders Can Learn, Too

There are some leaders in CEO-land and senior management-land who are exceptional. They build professional environments where all employees are dedicated to their jobs, embrace the company mission, become brand ambassadors, and consistently go above and beyond performance expectations. These leaders communicate to their teams and share information, and their employees are given the tools and the space to do their jobs.

However, there is also another type of leader. Sadly, this type of leader operates behind closed doors. This type of leader creates an environment that is more of a dictatorship rather than a democracy. There may be a team of senior management types, but any authority that they might have is just an illusion – they have no say in major decisions. This type of leader does not allow senior management to lead their own departments, but instead, this type of leader micro-manages every aspect of a company, which eventually, leads to its demise – or limited existence. Employees will become disillusioned over time, and there will be no one to actually work.

However, there is help for the leader who is attitude-challenged and results-challenged. A recent article detailed an interesting experiment conducted by two inspiring CEOs who lead two companies from Fortune’s Best 100 Companies list: Maxine Clark of Build-A-Bear and Kip Tendell of Container Store. The two CEOs traded jobs for a day – I know, it sounds like a movie script – but what they learned was invaluable. Both CEOs stated that their one-day job switch provided them with incredible insights into employee training, customer interaction, and overall customer experience. Just think what would be possible if other leaders could gain this amount of insight in a single day!

Fortune article:

Kip Tendell’s blog post:

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