Maya Angelou was a renaissance woman – a prolific poet, activist, actress and professor. She died this month at the age of 86.
There is a quote from her that I’ve always taken to heart: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is a powerful quote that I wish everyone in a leadership role knew by heart. It’s been my experience that the truly great leaders create a great experience for the people they lead every day. Bad leaders, to put it bluntly, don’t.
An infographic in Inc.com shared some startling survey data:
- Seventy-five percent of employees describe their boss as the worst and most stressful part of their job.
- Sixty-five percent of employees would take a new boss over a pay raise.
- Fifty percent of employees who don’t feel valued by their boss plan to look for another job.
- Thirty-three percent of employees with bad bosses confess to not putting in maximum effort.
- Twenty-nine percent took sick days when they were not ill.
- Bad leaders are also bad for your health. Employees who have poor relationships with their bosses are 30 percent more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease.
The leaders described in the Inc.com survey either don’t care about their employees, or take pleasure in creating a climate based on fear and intimidation. This kind of leadership experience erodes the relationship between leaders and employees.
When leaders create a negative leadership experience, employees won’t give 100 per cent effort. They will withhold their best ideas. They won’t roll up their sleeves to get important work done.
I was meeting with a client recently in the retail industry that had identified a need to improve the customer experience as a key strategic priority. When asked for their ideas, the leaders of this company focused on things like improved merchandising in stores, and greater use of social media.
However, they never considered how the way they were leading their people could ultimately impact the customer experience. In a meeting with them, I told them bluntly that they needed to connect the dots between leadership and customer experience. In other words, you can’t create a great customer experience when employees have a lousy leadership experience.
Once I had uttered this phrase, it immediately became evident to many in the room that this was a truism of the retail industry. The good news was they went on at length to discuss how they could improve the leadership experience within their company.
The great leaders I’ve worked with know how to make employees feel safe, inspired, supported and connected. When you work for a great leader, you feel compelled to unleash discretionary effort. You will do anything to help this leader succeed and in turn, help your organization succeed.
So what kind of leader are you? How do you make your employees feel every day? Will they remember you as a bad leader or a great one?
This week’s gut check question asks: What kind of leadership experience are you creating for your employees?
Share your #greatdeeds for employees @VinceMolinaro
About the Author
Vince Molinaro is the Global Managing Director of Strategic Solutions at Lee Hecht Harrison. He is also the author of The Leadership Contract – a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Vince has spent more than 20 years as an adviser to boards and senior executives looking to improve leadership in their organizations.Follow on Twitter More Content by Vince Molinaro