Dear Mr. President: Your presidency so far is a failure. Not necessarily in legislative terms. Not necessarily in terms of a poorly articulated agenda. However, when we look at what is supposed to be your “wheelhouse,” your “strike zone,” business management, you’ve tossed the playbook.
You’ve not made the distinction between a boss and a leader. Let’s discuss it in business terms — a boss directs employees and manages the production in a system of rewards and punishments; a leader uses mentorship and encouragement to get employees to work towards shared goals. [BND] It doesn’t take much consideration to reach the conclusion that productivity is higher for the latter than the former. One piece of advice on bosses/leaders which is well worth a reminder is:
“A good boss elevates everyone around them, provides the resources they need to do their job well and acknowledges them often,” Borba Von Stauffenberg added. “Additionally, a good boss allows each team member to be brilliant by staying out of their way but is willing to get in the trenches with them when needed.”
The next time the president is tempted to launch a Twitter rant or issue threats to members of Congress or to members of his administration he would do well to read the last sentence with great care. There are some other precepts from the business community which call for more consideration in this administration.
A good “boss” or leader communicates a clear vision to employees. Good leadership can be measured by looking at how well the employees understand why they are doing what they are doing. Needless to say, the manager who resorts to threats and badgering may “make the quarterly numbers,” but will fall well short in terms of overall success. An element of this is the establishing of equally clear performance objectives. What did the president want in regard to health insurance reform legislation? Was it outright repeal? Was it repeal with a plan to cut Medicaid? Was it a plan to cut taxes without cutting Medicaid? Answering these questions requires reading Tweet Streams that are constantly changing and range from alternative one to alternative three.
A good boss/leader listens. Listening means the boss gets answers to operational issues and systemic problems from the shop floor. Once received the advice should be acknowledged, credit must be given where it is due, and the employees are recognized as human beings, not merely “human resources.” If your Secretary of State is saying one thing and you are saying something else entirely, then you’re not listening. How much longer can this situation continue before a subordinate decides there is such a paucity of trust and support that further efforts are futile?
There are personal traits which are associated with good business management which aren’t really in evidence in the Oval Office at the moment. One is the capacity to acknowledge faults and weaknesses, and to work to minimize these when it comes to team building for successful operations. A good manager will leave meeting participants feeling that their contributions were appreciated and that they were personally respected. That infamous cabinet session during which members each offered sycophantic accolades to their Dear Leader wasn’t at all reassuring that we’re led by those who feel respected themselves.
Trust, respect, and operational success are never a given when employees and subordinates feel there’s a bus coming around every corner. The following is as good a summation as any:
“Terrible bosses throw their employees under the bus. Good bosses never throw their employees under the bus. Memorable bosses see the bus coming and pull their employees out of the way often without the employee knowing until much, much later… if ever, because memorable bosses never try to take credit.”
Attorney General Sessions may be thinking of this summary at the moment? Additionally, notice that last sentence above, the one about never trying to take credit for all the successes and deflecting blame for any failures. That requires getting one’s ego out of the way. While the boss may be personally responsible for the advancement of the company, he or she should not take things personally. For example, the chaos created when a major supplier goes out of business may cause issues, but that’s no reason to rail at the manager of the procurement department.
Not to put too fine a point to it, but even a cursory examination of articles on good leadership and business management yields a pattern of management practices which are violated on a daily basis by this mis-administration. It’s about time for the board of directors to start speaking of putting some additional pressure on the Boss to review and revise his management practices.