Byron's Babbles

Treating Each Person Situationally

Last week at the SMART Factory League 2022 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, one of our speakers said that flexibility is not efficient. He said this to remind us that we need to be flexible, but sometimes we avoid it because it is not efficient. We discussed this in the context of employees as well. Loving our employees looks different for each employee. Today’s employees want high level challenges and the ability to have choices in the paths they take. Our people we serve need agency and the ability to be core players in their future.

This highlights the fact that leadership is not one-size-fits all. Everyone cannot be treated exactly the same. As Randy Conley pointed out in Simple Truth #40: “There’s Nothing So Unequal As The Equal Treatment Of Unequals (Anonymous)” in Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways To Be A Servant Leader and Build Trust, Making Common Sense Common Practice, Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley, “Of course, certain rules, policies, and legalities require everyone to be treated the same – but when it comes to the matter of leading individuals, you need to treat each person situationally” (p. 105). One example might be the need for a flexible schedule. Giving those we serve the latitude to approach objectives in their own ways can enable them to unleash their creativity. Any creative person can tell you that inspiration strikes at the strangest times.

If we are situational in our leadership, it means embracing change and new challenges. It also means using them as opportunities to create new and improved systems and processes; it’s not just being able to change, but also being willing to, and maybe even excited about it. This is really about personalization, which will make us more effective employers. It means we need to create environments where those we serve can stay open and creative, always keep their skill set up to date, and learn how to balance personal needs with the needs of co-workers and the organization overall.

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