As a manager, sometimes the linear focus can be on problems, solutions and results. Getting employees to perform to the utmost of their ability while driving forward the company’s agenda can be challenging. From project management to employee motivation and retention, workplace leaders are often tasked with finding a balance between facilitating results and being likeable in the process. No one wants to follow a leader they don’t respect and admire, but leaders can’t cross the line of being too friendly or diminishing boundaries.
The question remains: What truly is the key in leading people?
Inc. contributor Jeff Haden addresses this question, highlighting an experience he had addressing an audience of company leaders and entrepreneurs. He writes:
Throwaway question? Absolutely. I knew no one would answer.
That was the point.
They would sit and stare and then I would supply an intentionally against-the-grain answer sure to spark some heat and conversation. (A little contrived, sure, but hey, I was dying.)
So I asked the question and then paused to read the room. Some people looked down. Some looked away. As I expected, no one was going to answer. Cool.
I was about to speak when a voice broke the silence.
“I think I know,” a man sitting in the back corner said, somewhat hesitantly.