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Minggu, 19 Juni 2011

Available and Accessible Leadership

An editorial in the prominent daily business periodical, The Wall Street Journal, mentioned a surprising trend being practiced by some busy executives. According to the report, they are hiring a "chief of staff." This consists of someone to deal directly with personnel, freeing top executives to handle broader, more corporate-level responsibilities.
It seems interesting that at a time when many CEOs already are significantly isolated from their staffs, they now have resorted to appointing another gatekeeper – one more layer of insulation between them and their employees. Obviously, this makes it increasingly challenging for staff to gain direct access to their superiors. This also leads to greater frustration among those who believe their needs are not being heard and their contributions to their companies are not being recognized.
Time management is critical, and I suspect this is one reason for this recent tactic. However, truly effective leadership is about "serving" one’s people, not avoiding them. When we regard having to deal with people as a problem, rather than a privilege, our priorities are seriously misaligned.
There are many resources to consult regarding the importance of leaders staying in close contact with those they lead, but some of the best examples are found in the Bible. For instance, in the New Testament we read, "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Mark 10:13-14).
Anyone familiar with the biblical account of Jesus’ life knows He had a very clear mission and a very short time for its fulfillment. Yet He always found time for people that were clamoring for His attention, as we see in the passage above. If the Son of God was willing to be accessible to children, who were virtually regarded as non-persons during that time, should we not also remain available to our staffs?

Here are some other principles from the Bible:

1. Monitor the pulse of your staff regularly.

How will you know if major problems are arising if you choose not to communicate consistently and closely with your employees? Being oblivious to significant concerns can put your organization in jeopardy. “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds…the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field…” (Proverbs 27:23-27).

2. Provide clear direction by understanding your team.

When people believe their leaders know them and seek their best interests, they are inspired to do their very best work. “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order” (Proverbs 28:2).

3. Offer the same attention and concern you would like to receive.

When we have pressing needs, we like to be able to communicate them to others who can be of assistance. As leaders, we should be just as responsive to the people that report to us. “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).

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