Humility is the Foundation of Success
When officiating a wedding ceremony, there’s not a single thing about you. Your anecdotes, experiences, and your collected wisdom all take a backseat to serve the needs of the couple being married. You’re there to guide the couple through their vows in a manner that fits their desires for the service. All that matters is the experience you help create for them in one of the most important moments of their lives.
While leaders draw upon their wisdom and, in challenging moments, showcase their resolve, much of their work demands a humbleness that shifts the focus to those surrounding the leader. Your role is to set the stage for these individuals to use their gifts and energy to achieve something they care about that also matters to the firm and customers.
Too many in positions of authority make this about them and act as if everyone is there to do their bidding.
It’s all about what you can do for them.
As mentioned above, participating as an officiant in the wedding was an honor. For everyone leading and managing, you are well served by adopting this perspective. It is indeed an honor to serve as a leader.
Personalizing the Experience is a Difference-Maker
In too many workplace situations, there’s little connection between the individual in the leadership role and those doing the work. The relationship is transactional, and the leader puts forth little effort to get to know people, their strengths and interests, and hopes for their futures. That’s a problem. People know whether you care about them. This caring promotes trust, and trust is the basis of everything.
In officiating a wedding, it’s essential to learn as much as possible about the participants to make this experience theirs. Frankly, I’ve attended more than a few ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, where the person officiating is unaware of the individuals other than their names and some quickly shared anecdotes. Everyone knows when this knowledge is superficial and it devalues the ceremony.
For my preparation as an officiant, I worked with the couple together and then separately to understand their hopes and thoughts for each other and their adventures ahead. I was genuinely curious and I asked a lot of questions intended to help me understand what mattered in this situation. Kudos to the couple as they navigated some questions fathers/fathers-in-law don’t typically ask.
It was my sole job to create an experience that was uniquely theirs.
Why not make the work experience for each team member uniquely theirs? It starts with caring enough to get to know them and what matters to them now and for their futures. Do this in your one-on-ones and informal moments that lend themselves to engaging on a personal and not just transactional level.
It Has to Come from the Heart
In my mind, I didn’t deliver a perfect ceremony. It was a new experience, and in hindsight, I would have handled a few elements of it slightly differently. Yet, no one can take away that every single word, every smile and every gesture came from my heart. I was fully present and very aware of the gravity of the moment in the course of their lives. They knew it, and the attendees knew it.
OK, I imagine it’s a stretch to suggest that your work as a manager lends itself to the same emotional power and impact as that of helping your son or daughter get married. Yet, your time with your team members profoundly affects their careers and lives. What you do for your people today, how you help, guide, coach, and support them ripples through their lifetimes.
Your work today creates their backstories tomorrow.
Lead from the heart, and their hearts and minds will follow.
The Bottom-Line for Now:
We write and talk about succeeding as managers and leaders in this world. We spend a lot of money on training. Your humility, commitment to creating a personal experience for everyone, and your authenticity in leading from the heart may be most of what you need to succeed in your important role.