Unconditional Leadership


As a leader or a manager, do you sometimes find yourself having a strong opinion about someone you personally supervise?

Do you have an employee on your team that is underperforming and in addition, the relationship between you and that employee has not been very effective?

Susie was promoted several months ago to become the hotel overnight manager. She was a superstar on the graveyard shift at a very busy hotel. She was part of a team that was not very stable at times and she maintained resiliency throughout a year of on-going challenges with the team she was on.

Susie always performed well in her role as the hotel night auditor and the guest relations representative. We could always rely on her ability to effectively manage hers tasks on a nightly basis with taking care of late night guests arriving to the hotel.

As she got promoted few months ago, we gave her the opportunity to lead two people on her shift. As a hotel management team, we felt it was time for her to get into a leadership role and open a new door to her experience by coaching and inspiring two people that needed mentoring.

Over the last few weeks, Susie was very unhappy about James. One of the night auditors working on her team. Every evening as we conduct our briefing, I noticed she was very adamant about James’s poor performance.

Susie complained and complained and criticized him to the point of saying she can’t work with him moving forward.

I took the time recently to speak with Susie on shifting her perspective. The situation she is encountering with James is a perfect leadership opportunity for her to shine.

Leaders are made in crisis. Challenges test us.

The questions is always, how are we viewing the situation at hand that can help the person we are leading?

If all leaders and managers had successful teams, they would have never been leaders.

The situation Susie is facing reminds me of a Jack Welch, the former GE Executive quote about leadership-“Before you become a leader, success is all about yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about others.”

The success of each person on the team, is a reflection on how well we lead the team to victory. We all know that not everyone is performing on the same level as the next person, but as leaders we need to keep in mind the importance of the relationships we have with our employees.

I call it unconditional leadership. As a leader, just like a parent, you try to avoid from having a strong assumptions about the people you care about.

When you are truly caring and leading, you are not complaining or criticizing, but you are thinking of ways to help and care the person you lead.

That’s what great leaders do. They try to understand people and work to help them succeed. I am not suggesting that a poor performance should be handled without accountability and counseling, but also to do whatever it takes to become a coach and a mentor when times are challenging.

What’s the reward? You are becoming a person of positive influence in your organization even when you don’t have the best players on the team. Inspire up and lead unconditionally.



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