Lately, I have been doing a bunch of interviews on my favourite topic—people Leadership. So, over the next few posts, I will share some of the things I firmly believe I personally have had excellent hardcore results with and that I have watched occur with some of my more wary clients.
People Leadership and, more specifically, getting the best from your people is fundamental to me. Unfortunately, most colleges and universities do not have a “how to be a great leader, how to be an amazing boss and how to get your ordinary people to do extraordinary things” course on the curriculum. And while these topics are sometimes covered in ‘personal development’ courses, they generally contain little in the way of practical and workable solutions.
We also know that there are few decent real people leadership mentors in the workplace. I don’t have to tell you that leading people is the most thankless, frustrating, and angst-laden task. Any of us could ever take on.
So, you have every right to wonder why I believe People Leadership is paramount!
We all know we have a health crisis, don’t we? The costs are high, the wait times longer, and the list of items covered ultimately gets shorter every year. Frankly, this is a common plight in most countries — in some form or another.
Do you know that there is a magnetic driver behind our health crisis? It is rarely discussed — in public. Somewhere between 70% and 80% of all illnesses are chronic. Yup. Quite simply, the reason our medical system is overwhelmed today is that its primary function has morphed into mainly care of chronic illnesses.
A chronic illness is defined as one that occurs over a long period of time and also takes a long time to (perhaps) fix. For example, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, obesity, diabetes, COPD and even bad oral health all fall into chronic illnesses. Notice that mental illness is missing from this list. This is because these stats are two years old, and today, the classification of some mental illnesses could very well be chronic. I have no facts on this and leave it up to you to decide for yourself.
Do you know what the main driver is behind these chronic illnesses?
Stress is an artificial phenomenon. Humans were never built for stress. And everyone’s biggest stressor begins in the workplace.
Most of us work 8 -12 hours a day. With the same supervisor and the same group of people. Most of us do nine things brilliantly and one thing poorly on that day. Under most circumstances, we all shrug off our mistakes and carry on. However, we are chewed out or, worse, disciplined for that one error in far too many work environments. And the fact we accomplished nine or more pieces of perfection? That falls into the “that’s what we were hired to do” category. So it gets ignored.
Most of us have ideas for improvement in the specific areas we work in. Yet, for so many, bringing up the topic of improvement means we are immediately berated, shut down, told to stay in our lane, and ordered not to rock the boat. In addition, the incidences of sexism, racism, ageism and workplace bullying — things far too many of us must watch or endure — have not significantly diminished over the last 50–60 years.
Think about this for a minute.
If we work 8–12 hours a day, five out of seven days a week, 48–50 weeks a year for 30 to 40 years, IN THIS KIND OF ENVIRONMENT, how high is our stress level? Is it any wonder the chronic illness statistic is so high? Why are we still surprised that so many people no longer give 100% to their work?
Is it any wonder why people who are not given credit for their brilliant bits, not allowed to speak their mind, or contribute, become ill? Or when not paid sufficient money or benefits, let alone be allowed to try to earn incentives, become so miserable to their family members? Is it such a surprise why we are surprised that those who are banned from participating in decisions become so jaded? I think not.
Human beings were designed for social connection, community, joy and love. We were not designed to be the dumping ground, the mere garbage can or the container holding toxic contaminants for the workplace.
Human beings (aka PEOPLE) were designed to make things better.
Today, there are so many people up in arms about the state of the world. And so many people want to make a difference. One way that I know has a massive positive impact on our world is to be a solid People Leader. It is the best way to reduce medical costs, increase humankind’s longevity, and address and remove the nasty isms in our current world.
And it is also the absolute best way to produce extraordinary results in our enterprises and eliminate most of the existing social inequities. All this goodness means simultaneously, things to change fast. The old way of command and control must die, and the new way of collaboration and respect must be immediately embraced.
In other words, we all need to treat our employees, our colleagues, our customers and our suppliers better. In exactly the same way we treat our spouses and family and friends. Frankly, this can feel outrageously scary.
Next, I will share some ways to become one of the best People Leaders. And honestly, it is not nearly as difficult as you might think.