“If you want to find out about people, give them a little power. It will reveal everything.” This advice from the book, Leadership with a Twist of Yoga, is an example of the practical and philosophical guidance you receive in our team lead training program.
New managers in tech leadership positions often don’t feel
understood. Still you are being listened to and watched. Use that influence to
further your goals as much as possible.
Imagine this: Two hospitals. Two emergency rooms. A medical
doctor works at both, dividing his time between the two. At one, the work is
extremely demanding. The doctor is given a huge case load and very little rest.
At the other emergency room, the work is less arduous. The pay is the same at
both. Yet, in selecting shifts, the doctor chooses the hospital where the work
is the most strenuous.
What would make a doctor choose a hospital where he has to
work harder? A hospital emergency room is a perpetual motion machine. On the
first day that it opens for business, an emergency room unlocks its doors and
never shuts them again. It is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,
fifty-two weeks a year. The workday has no beginning and no end because all
day, every day, there is a constant rollover of staff and patients.
The doctor that I’m talking about works at two emergency
rooms in a large city. He says, “People do this kind of work because they want
to be of service to humanity, but the pressure can be overwhelming.” Why on
earth would an experienced professional like this physician choose the hospital
with the most pressure? The one that is the most demanding?
The doctor says, “We have an administrator who is a kindred
spirit and a genius. She’s a former nurse who sees her job as primarily to give
respect and empathy for the difficulties that others face. Her service is to
make it possible for others to serve. She cares for those who care.” Instead of
focusing on getting her staff to do what she needs done, this remarkable
manager focuses on giving them her support. She runs the ER like it is a living
organism. She nourishes everyone who works there. When people arrive at work,
they are recognized and acknowledged. No one goes unnoticed. All are kept in
the loop. Her point of view is that her staff is outstanding, therefore she
receives outstanding results.
The doctor says, “Her attitude is really contagious. Abuse
of sick leave does not exist there. The work at the other hospital is less
demanding, but when I’m selecting shifts, I have a definite preference for the
hospital where this nurse has created a work culture that is so exceptional.”
What is this manager’s secret? Why would professional people
choose to work with her, even though the job is easier somewhere else?
Connection is key. Daily she communicates with everyone so they all feel
connected to her and to each other. This manager is willing to receive the
opinions of her staff with an open mind. This is greatly appreciated, so her
staff gives back. They are loyal, dependable and helpful to her. They feel
connected to her so they give her their best.
Understanding and shared bonds is another reason for this
manager’s success. As a former nurse, she knows the pressure that the medical
personnel endure. Many managers make decisions without understanding what those
decisions actually mean to the staff.
True understanding is not intellectual. It’s warm and it’s
personal. A big part of yoga is service to others. This administrator knows
that and she created an atmosphere where they would want to serve, even in a
difficult work environment.
Policies cannot cover every contingency. Sometimes a policy
can be absurd or even dangerous. A know-it-all attitude will prevent a manager
from knowing the staff’s real needs. The big, bad boss resorts to manipulating
and intimidating people.
When you are connected to your co-workers, you don’t have to
coerce them. The nurse/manager at the emergency room has created a situation
where she can actually influence her staff when she needs to. People follow,
assist, and rally around those with whom they feel a connection.