I had an interesting conversation the other day with an MD of a recruitment company and at one point he asked me ‘why do you try to improve leadership? It seems such an impossible task…’
I pressed him to say more and he said that from his experience there is a huge turnover of staff in many of the companies just because people don’t like their boss. They go in search of a better one. Of course that is great news for recruitment companies so on the one hand, ‘stop developing leaders!’
The challenge for people looking for work is to find a company genuinely interested in people and the sad fact is that in the current climate, established companies, even with poor managers and leaders, find success. So why should they change?
This is disheartening for leaders who actually care about people. From a financial point of view, why bother when they can earn good living by treating people poorly and having a 6 monthly staff turnover?
So I asked him, ‘why do you bother?’
Of course I knew the answer to this question. It is more ethical and he genuinely believes that people have a right to be treated properly. It is also great for business if people are engaged in what they do and they give more than the bare minimum.
My thought is that how we behave is a choice. We can choose to throw litter out of car windows on the motorway or not leave public toilets as we would like to find them (sorry that is a personal moan!) and we can use phrases like ‘I am keeping someone else in a job as some kind of justification!!’
But really we know it is not right. And treating people badly just because you can is not right either. Our management and leadership styles tend to develop from people who we have worked for and what we see is rewarded. But we have a choice...
As John Maxwell says, ‘Talent is a gift but character is a choice.
(Originally posted on Linked In July 2015