It's critical to be mindful that the people you lead come from all different faiths and backgrounds. I think as leaders we need to be reminded of this because we can forget and think ourselves above others.
A great way to ruin a relationship is by ignorantly attacking what someone else believes. Here's an example of how not to do it:
I'm going to bet that Brandon Flowers has forgiven Richard Dawkins by now. What if they worked together? What if Richard was Brandon's manager?
After this uncomfortable exchange do you think Brandon would look forward to coming to work and collaborating with Richard? Do you think he's going to enjoy sharing his ideas in meetings with him?
Here's some advice: Don't be a bonehead.
I wish managers would actually take the opportunity to lead and not focus on who's right and who's wrong. Imagine if their focus was on building bridges, coming together, and focusing on common ideas, interests, and beliefs. This is how one moves people forward in a position of leadership.
The point is not to focus on what divides us, but rather what brings us together. Management must not think themselves above their employees. Focus should be on leading and seeking that higher ground so they can lift others up. At the heart of what they do must be service - giving, serving, coaching, and providing an example of how they want their people to lead, follow, and work. People will follow your example over what you say.
I challenge you to be openminded of what other people believe, or don't believe for that matter. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have this right and we should never take it for granted. Besides, listening to what others believe does not mean you have to believe it too. Take the next opportunity you get to share what you believe with someone, find out what values you share and what principles you agree on.
Chances are you have more in common than you thought.
I loved my five-year stint with Costco! I worked hard and got paid very well. I bought my first home at just 22 when I was still in college. Costco even provided me with the opportunity to earn scholarships. The benefits were generous, my coworkers were nice, the year-end parties were fun, and hey...I even met my wife at Costco!
In my undergrad thesis entitled, "Countering Conventional Wisdom," I detailed Costco's struggle with investors on Wall Street who complained that the big box retailer pays its employees too much. It was through my research into Costco, and Jim Sinegal, that I truly came to appreciate the no-frills warehouse chain. Costco's business philosophy has impacted the way I work with people.
Costco rewards hard work. If you work really, really hard then Costco will pay you really, really well. Costco employees EARN their paychecks. The culture is all about hard work, if you don't pull your weight then you're gone - nothing personal. The only warehouses with unions are the ones that were acquired with Price Club back in the 1980's. Employees don't need unions because Costco treats it's employees fairly. I mean, they give employees a free turkey every year for Christmas!
Politics aside, it doesn't matter who the president is, Costco is great because of it's dedicated workforce and diligent leadership at the warehouse level and at the helm in Issaquah.
Because of the company that Jim built I was able to work my way out of poverty, buy a home, pay for advanced degrees, afford a family, and now give back to my community. Thanks for the opportunity Costco!
It's so important to try new things because that's how you make discoveries about yourself. I'm approaching 30 and I'm still finding out new things about my personality, likes, and dislikes that I never realized. Not too long ago I learned I needed to find a career teaching because of my drive to learn new information each day - not just teaching via lecture, but rather through hands-on experience - now I have the great fortune of teaching through experience in 4-H.
I've found some useful (and free) assessment tools that have helped me uncover strengths and weaknesses I was not even aware of. Check 'em out:
Discover Your Personality
Choose the Right Career Path
How Does Your Relationship Potential Stack Up?
Just How Smart are You?
Do You Have Skills?
Other Ways to Learn More About Yourself
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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