It was a dinner outing I would never forget. Sitting with my communication colleagues from other world class, global corporations, I was fortunate to be representing one of the “Best Practices” companies (Xerox) at the American Productivity and Quality conference. Everyone had highly applauded our presentation and clamored to go to dinner with us, trying to glean more insight into the method of our success with corporate strategic communications.
It was when I heard, “Oh, you’re an egalitarian” from the gentleman on my left (in a somewhat disparaging tone), that I realized my thinking was different. I fumbled with justification then, but that was years ago. Now, I would say, “Of course! Aren’t you?”
Being an egalitarian means “believing in the equality of all people”. It’s about knowing that every single person in the organization can, and wants, to contribute to its success. From my experience, being egalitarian is the only way to be effective. You must tap into the talent and energy of everyone in your organization. If you don’t, you simply cannot fully execute your strategy and achieve your vision.
I have based my business and life on the belief that, more than anything else, people want to be of value, to contribute. They are hungry for their managers to recognize this fact.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with some of the world’s most recognized corporations, nonprofits and governmental agencies. The common thread among them is managers’ inability to really tap into employee talent … effectively, sustained over time. They lack the insight, the core belief, that helping their people feel valued is the secret to extraordinary growth.
As a result, employees become organizationally indifferent. They turn frustrated, bored and demoralized. They start coming in just for the paycheck. This means missed deadlines, poor customer service and lackluster goal achievement. Managers retreat even more into firefighting mode … juggling a myriad of tasks. Because of this they create an environment of ever-changing priorities. The organization remains in a state of constant flux which exacerbates the organizational indifference.
There are three things a manager must do to alleviate this situation, to tap into the vast resource of intelligent employee power, so that strategies can be fully executed and everyone is fully engaged. These activities are a fundamental focus of egalitarian managers.
- Communicate the vision
- Clarify project expectations
- Empower people to be proactive
These are big items, not so easily accomplished. But when a manager takes the time to do them properly, with sensitivity and skill, the organization thrives like never before.
Being an egalitarian manager means creating an environment of mutual respect … where every individual within an organization, regardless of job, feels as if he or she is an integral part of the achieving the vision.