When an employee is a problem means that there’s a very deep issue behind the company. It’s a leadership problem.
In this occasion, we will talk about something that I’m very passionate about because I have always believed that there’s a better way to lead your teammates.
Through my life, I have seen bosses treat their employees as slaves or as an excuse for their own failures. They love to blame others.
As I saw that attitude I decided to make some tests because I believed that there must be a better way to treat your employees without giving the impression of weak leadership.
It starts with you
If an entrepreneur is a poor leader or lacks people skills, employees can be liabilities, not assets.29p (Robert Kiyosaki)
This is something that Gary Vaynerchuk also share very frequently so we are going to go deeper into the meaning of what Robert is saying. It has to be with our own character as entrepreneurs.
Before I continue with the long explanation I want to make sure that you understand what liability and an asset is. It’s actually pretty easy to understand. Think of an asset as everything that puts money into your pocket meanwhile a liability is everything that removes money from your pocket. That simple. Now, let’s continue.
When you build a company you become the only responsible for anything that happens within. It means that you can no longer blame others. Especially your employees because it was you who hire them. If an employee doesn’t perform correctly then you have the power to fire them. Since it’s up to you, you are the only one to blame.
It’s important to understand this and to remember it every single day when you interact with your employees. We act like victims when in reality we are Elites which means that we have accepted all the responsibility of our business and the people involved.
Garyvee gets lots of messages of people who complain about their employees. I don’t know if you know Gary already but I will tell you that complaining is one of the things Gary hate the most. He also hates entitlement and negativity. Hence, he always talks about taking responsibility which is very important for a business owner.
In order to get deeper into this topic, I want to share with you what I have tested and experienced. I’ve tested this when I was working for a company and also leading my teammates.
Most bosses are not responsible leaders. They might be responsible with their own stuff but that’s different than the responsibility that a leader has. As leaders, we must also be responsible for the people under our coverage. In other words, our responsibility extends as leaders.
For example, you become responsible also for the mistakes of your own employees. That means to pay the consequences without trying to kill your employees in the process. Actually, you have to do the opposite of attacking your employees, you should inspire them so they can exceed their capacities. Your employees must feel supported by you, knowing that mistakes happen.
Through my tests, I discovered something very interesting but before I share it with you, you need to know the context.
At the time I was working as a video production director. On many occasions, one of the teammates made mistakes which is something that happened time by time. The CEO got really mad when something of that happened. When he came asking for the responsible I told him “it’s my mistake, it will not happen again”.
The CEO knew that it wasn’t me but that’s exactly what gave me authority. Hence, he calmed down and went back to his own things.
I found it very interesting because when you take responsibility for the things that aren’t your responsibility, you get authority and control.
Once you take your time to think about it, it makes a lot of sense. The CEO couldn’t throw trash at me because it was not my fault so he could only trust in me that I would fix it.
I also know that not all bosses or CEOs are like that. A lot of them are shitty leaders so they will through shit at you even though you are not the one to blame.
Even if you have a shitty boss I recommend you to don’t follow their example. You must break that toxic chain of bad leadership. Even if the situation is hard, you have other options but being an asshole shouldn’t be one for you. This situation is preparing you as a leader.
A leader that receives the attacks of the world and keeps being kind with their peers is very valuable in our society. The teammates will appreciate him, especially if they know how the boss is.
I’m telling you that this is the best thing you can do because the time will come when you will have your own company and your own employees. At that time, your people management skills will become very useful and being a responsible leader will pay off.
I also wanted to share the perspective of the employee. In my experience, the teammate tends to be more sincere and open with me. I was able to know their personal issues. This allowed me to be more empathetic with them so I could provide a better work environment for them. It makes them more productive and happy at work.
You develop a stronger relationship with your employees which has a lot of benefits. For example, you get more trust, support, loyalty, and so on. That is very valuable as a human and social level.
Employees that are liabilities
I love what Jack Ma (Alibaba co-founder) said one time which I’m going to quote with my own words: “I’m not smart but I’m good founding smart people and making them work together”.
Between the main qualities you must have as an entrepreneur is to manage people. That’s not easy and can be very stressful. You can try organizing a family trip and then you will see how hard it is.
Everyone is different in many ways. Therefore, when you try to make them work in harmony toward the same vision, it becomes very challenging.
Having a responsible leadership can be useful to inspire them all which can also help into a harmonized work environment.
Up until this point, it’s pretty clear that if your employees are making you lose time or resources, it means that you need to improve your people skills.
Keep in mind that the mistake of one in your team is also your mistake. Since you are one team you should act as one person. Therefore the mistakes are shared with everyone.
That’s the beauty of having well-organized teamwork. It even becomes your new family.
As the leader, you should promote the integration of the teammates not only at the professional level but also at the personal level. That’s what produces a better synergy in the workflow.
That’s how you build a strong family.
Leaders that don’t lead
I want to make it clear that you can have success even if you are an awful leader. In my case, I prefer to be successful by being a great leader. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter what you choose, you can still be successful. What you need to consider is how you want to be remembered?
There are a lot of successful cases from awful leaders like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. They’re not responsible leaders because they lead focusing only on their goals without considering the people who support them.
Some may argue that they achieved what they achieved because of their way to press their employees. The truth is that there’s no way of knowing what could have happened. What we do know at this time is that there are a lot of other great examples of successful people who chose to be responsible leaders. They not only focus on a goal but they also focus on the people who are helping them to achieve that goal.
That’s exactly the mission of Garyvee. He wants to show to the new generations of entrepreneurs that they can be kind and also be successful. He’s a living proof that you don’t need to be an asshole to get what you want.
For example, Robert Herjavec is a great example of a kind person who is also very bold in business. He has a strong character and doesn’t allow anyone to go over him. It may sound weird but He’s also proof that you can be sweet and yet be very bold.
I haven’t been able to meet him but his good reputation precedes him.
For what I know, he’s not exactly the best responsible leader but he definitely is better than many others like Kevin O’Leary who based their leadership in goals and results.
As you can notice, there are many successful entrepreneurs in both cases. That’s why I say that it’s not a factor for success. Although, it is a factor for branding and legacy.
Today you hear a lot of Steve Jobs work but at the same time, you can hear a lot of his bad reputation as a leader. He provided results but his bad attitude was also the reason why he was replaced as CEO of Apple. At least, that’s what I have noticed.
By the way, don’t expect that everyone will love you by being a responsible leader. That doesn’t happen. In the entrepreneurial highway, there are always opposition and people who don’t like you.
In some cases, it’s justified because in life we make mistakes and some people can get harmed but that’s not the most common case. The ones who harm you usually are people who are parasites, critics and problematic.
The world is filled with people like that so there is a high chance you will encounter that type of person and that’s normal. You should be prepared. You need to fight back with kindness, boldness, and determination.
One time I heard Tony Robbins telling a story of a woman who gave him a lot of problems. If you don’t know Tony, he is an awesome public speaker and he has an annual event which is very popular and highly recommended worldwide. I recommend you to watch his documentary which is streaming on Netflix. It’s mind-blowing. Anyway, there was a woman who was talking shit about him and the event, weeks before the event. She was supposed to come to the event but when Tony heard what she was saying, He told the staff to prohibit her access to the event and also to give her money back. At the time of the event, she appeared and made a scandal out of it. Tony himself had to come out and confront her with such grace and determination that she had to calm down. Tony’s attitude is outstanding.
We are all going to experience the same type of situation because we can’t avoid encountering that type of person. They have character flaws that we can’t fix but we can manage them. That’s part of the people skills that you should have.
I want to conclude this message with something I have learned through my mentors: Our role as leaders is to serve our employees and not the other way around.
We tend to believe that our employees are going to work for us but that’s not precisely true. When you hire other people they become your most valuable clients and you have to provide a high-quality service for them. That service is what we are calling responsible leadership.
As you can notice, being a shitty boss is the easiest option you can take. I know you are an Elite, otherwise, you would be bored by these topics. Hence, I know that you will choose to lead with responsibility.
If you are reading this and at the same time you care about your employees, means that you have the potential to be a great leader.
Bosses only care about themselves and their business. Leaders care about that too but also about the people involved. The leaders have greater overall control of the situations because they have accepted more responsibility.
If you didn’t know, the only way you can take control over a situation is by taking the responsibility. If you start blaming others then you are giving them the responsibility and control. In this way, you become a prisoner of your own mediocre mindset.
That’s all I wanted to share with you for this topic but now it is time for you to apply it or it will be a waste of time for both.
Start by getting to know your teammates at a personal level. Ask for their family, dreams, goals, and so on. You need to develop empathy which is the most important thing for good leadership.
I’ve met a lot of people who are very demanding without caring about others wellbeing. There are bosses who complain about their employees without knowing that they have been robbed, they have lost a family member or that they are suffering from depression.
Bosses don’t give a shit about other people’s problems. They only care about their goals. I have seen a lot of cases like that where the bosses are assholes.
I’m far from being a good leader but it’s my goal and it should be yours too.
That’s the whole message but the teaching isn’t over yet. We can continue through my [Instagram] account, just say hi.
By the way, this post was sponsored by Ulysses which is the writing app that I use for all the posts on this website and also for the books I’m publishing. I send those books for free to the Elite community. If you want to be part of this community then add your email to the [Newsletter].
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See you in the next post.