Byron's Babbles

Side By Side Leadership

I’m glad I hadn’t written this post reflecting on Simple Truth #7, “When People Are Off Track, Don’t Reprimand Them – Redirect Them”, in Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways To Be A Servant Leader and Build Trust, Making Common Sense Common Practice by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley before a leadership development gathering I facilitated last night because a conversation added value to the book content. We discussed how important it is to show grace, have empathy, and practice compassion. One leader asked, “What happens when the person you are showing grace to just isn’t getting the job done?” A great discussion ensued. Many even shared their stories of being on both sides of that question. Long story short, where we landed was that there has to be grace with accountability. If we really love those we serve this is the right thing to do. So, for example, if a person has had some change that causes him to be a little late to work, then there can be the accountability of, “what’s our goal of when we can get back to being on time?” Or, even better, could there be some adjustment made for that person to work later in the day that would help out someone needing to leave earlier? This is what loving those we serve is all about. We say it can’t be one size fits all for students, why does it have to be one size fits all for adults? I don’t think it does.

This all caused me to reflect even more on what Blanchard called “side-by-side leadership.” He stressed that we are almost always in learning mode and “Punishing a learner is never appropriate…” (p. 23). Ever had that boss that liked to reprimand? You know, the one you only heard from when we made a mistake – in today’s world usually in the form of a text or email. Not real helpful, right? Blanchard said, and I believe this goes right along with our grace with accountability discussion last night that, “When people are clear on the goal and still learning but their performance isn’t up to standard, redirection is far more effective than a reprimand. The aim is to BUILD (emphasis added by me) people up so they will continue to move toward improved performance” (p. 23). So, let’s all get side-by-side with those we serve and build, build, build!

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