To be honest, I had a sense of impending redundancy when the Coronavirus recommendations came into play. I joined Acceler8 L&D Consultancy at the end of January, so I reasoned that as the last in, I’d probably be the first out, when business levels inevitably drop. This gave me a heavy heart, because I felt like I’d finally found an organisation whose values I align to and who live and breathe great leadership (as well as designing and delivering truly innovative programmes for others). Finally, a company that walks it’s talk, what a breath of fresh air!
As it turns out, this was an error in my thinking, which on reflection is a learned response to previously working for organisations who put their profit before their people. We all have our sad stories i.e. the time we worked our ass off for an organisation, only to be made redundant without a second thought. I know some of you are experiencing this now and my heart goes out to you. It’s a sad day when you realise that all your blood, sweat and tears count for nothing in the eyes of your leadership team. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
So, I braced myself for incoming news of potential redundancy, but my new bosses couldn’t have been clearer - they will do all they can to retain my services, because they consider me a valued member of the team. We are all working from home now, with regular Team’s meetings where we update on current projects, but also share how we feel. This forum to share the overwhelm, coupled with ongoing, clear communication about our future, has helped to take most of the fear out of this terrible situation. It’s clear to me that Chris and David at Acceler8 care about their employees and don’t put profits before their people, this is truly Servant Leadership at its best.
When I use the term Servant Leadership, I’m talking about the leadership theory developed by Robert Greenleaf, who argues that this type of leader gets results for their business by growing their people and taking care of their emotional wellbeing. This type of leadership is not about senior managers motivating and influencing their teams, but rather about collaboration, trust, empathy and ethics. Essentially, the key difference is a desire to serve others rather than attaining power. The idea is that if leaders focus on the needs of their people, they will reciprocate with increased productivity and engagement and more cohesive team working. In other words, they will go above and beyond the call of duty. I certainly feel like this about Acceler8 and no, I’m not angling for a pay rise!
According to Larry Spears, who developed the ten characteristics from Greenleaf’s theory, Servant Leaders demonstrate these ten characteristics. This is good to know, because the next time you find yourself at an interview, you might want to question around their leadership’s management style. Do their leaders exhibit listening skills, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualisation, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of others and to building community?
In the words of the (some say) great prophet, Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changing”, and the employers who don’t do right by their employees at this time of crisis, are going to struggle to recruit the best people when this is all over. Let’s face it, employees have long memories when it comes to being treated badly by an employer and with social media, these days word gets around quickly. If you’re someone, who’s a victim of this approach, please know that there is a new breed of employers out there, who put their employees first.
True leadership is an art form to be perfected through learning, which can be refined to include a more compassionate and collaborative approach? For any companies out there, who want to evolve their leadership team, this hiatus might be the perfect time to get in touch. We’re doing remarkable things in this area, which we’d love to share with you.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.