049 – Managers, Your People Are Not Your Number One Responsibility
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While it sounds really nice to say that your people are your number one responsibility… it’s actually not true. Now, before you shoot me, I do believe that your people are extremely important! In fact, without taking good care of your people, it’s going to be very difficult to build a successful career or business. But they are not your number one responsibility. In fact, if you cannot fulfill your number one responsibility then you can’t take care of your people.
On today’s show:
- I’ll explain what your REAL number one responsibility is
- I’ll share with you why I don’t fully agree with Simon Sinek
- I’ll tell you why I believe it’s advantageous to be an entrepreneur… or at least act like one.
- Your number one responsibility as a manager is to produce results
- Failing to recognize this responsibility leads to Tyrant Leaders and Victim Leaders
- There are two dangers that come with putting results first:
- Performance at the cost of your employees
- Lack of results because of the fear of the costs of driving performance
- There are two ways to properly fulfill your number one responsibility
- Get clear on what’s expected (your results and your team results)
- Strike a balance between driving results and caring for people (Through Effective Communication and Quality Relationships)
Why I don’t fully agree with Simon Sinek:
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of a bold statement considering that Simon Sinek is one of the top leadership experts and thinkers of our day, but I recently came across a quote of his that I’m not 100% on board with.
Here’s the quote:
“Leaders are not responsible for the results. Leaders are responsible for the people who are responsible for the results” – Simon Sinek
Maybe you’ve seen this before or been one of the thousands of people to ‘like’ this quote on various social media platforms.
And while I don’t think you are wrong for supporting this type of statement, I think that we, as managers and leaders, need to be careful of its message.
The intent here is for leaders to recognize how important it is to care for the people who are on their team. It’s intended to help you recognize that without engaging your employees and building an effective, productive, happy, valued team… you won’t be able to consistently achieve the business results that you are ultimately responsible for.
And that’s the topic for today’s podcast episode… What are you ultimately responsible for? Results.
But wait a minute… didn’t Simon Sinek say that leaders are NOT responsible for the results?
That’s why I don’t fully agree with Simon Sinek.
I agree with the intent of his message about caring for your employees but I fear that there is a temptation for managers and leaders to further separate their performance from their employees.
In today’s episode (click the player above to listen), I talk about two dangers of pursuing results first.
One of those dangers is that when a manager sees a statement like “leaders are responsible for the people who are responsible for the results”, they sometimes miss the point and focus ONLY on driving performance.
This shows up in a couple of ways:
It shows up most obviously in a tyrant leader who pushes his employees way too hard in an attempt to meet performance standards. That manager typically has a loud voice, a short temper and often stays in his office while shouting (or emailing) orders from across the office or production floor.
But this also shows up discretely.
On first glance, everything might look normal on this manager’s team. But behind closed doors and out for lunch with co-workers, this manager is complaining about her employees. Complaining about the budget, or the people, or the circumstances, or the customers… doing whatever she can to place the blame for a lack of results on someone or something else.
This manager is a victim and this manager believes that she is responsible for her team members’ results… but doesn’t feel like she has control over them.
And guess what?
Similar to the Tyrant Leader, the Victim Leader also keeps her distance.
However, instead of distancing herself physically from her employees, she distances herself from the accountability for her team’s results.
So how do you avoid these dangers?
And how do you actually fulfill your number one responsibility?
Well, you can CLICK HERE and listen to the complete episode, but I’ll summarize the main points right here… and it all starts with developing an entrepreneurial mindset.
Your Monday Morning Management Tip:
Act like an entrepreneur.
Whether you own a business or not, put on your entrepreneurship hat and look at your life and career as a business – a business that will either succeed or fail based on the results produced.
This means that you need to take accountability for performance.
If you are a business owner, it doesn’t matter who is responsible for producing results… ultimately it’s you – the business owner. The business owner recognizes how important his or her employees are and also understands the dangers of trying to escape that accountability.
…because a lack of results in this case results is the failure of the business.
So why not treat your career, your professional life, and your responsibilities as a manager… like a business?
And once you’ve got that down, it’s time to get practical and fulfill your number one responsibility.
Step 1: Get clear on what’s expected (your results and your team results)
Step 2: Strike a balance between driving results and caring for people (through effective communication and quality relationships)
…and I’ll be going in depth on these 2 steps next Monday!
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