When Columbus was exploring the oceans for new worlds, most people believed the world was flat.
If you sailed too far, it was thought that you would sail off the edge of the world to a horrible death. You can imagine how difficult it would be for an explorer to get sailors on his ship. It’s said that sailors would be kidnapped from bars in a drunken state or taken from prisons.
Once you woke up several leagues out to sea, you would be very interested in the fact that someone was watching the horizon. They would expect it would be Columbus that would be watching the horizon and steering the ship. The last thing they’d want would be for him to be below deck helping repair a mast, or checking in on the food supplies. I imagine that was delegated to the first mate or another officer.
Are you a leader?
In today’s democratic age, many shop owners don’t understand this principle of leadership. Many shop owners think that leading by example is working in the bays along with the technicians. They feel they need to be the best technician in the shop. Or sometimes they have to be on the front counter, and review every single estimate before it is presented to a customer.
In any company or organization, the quality of the employees is a reflection of the quality of the leadership. If employee performance is suffering, it is usually the result of poor leadership. One of the main reasons you are unable to get consistent results and performance from your employees is because you are still an employee in your company—or at least you are still acting like an employee!
You may be the owner, but your employees see you as a fellow employee. You see yourself as a fellow employee. It’s difficult to be a leader when you are one of the followers. You just happen to be the follower with the most seniority, or with your name on the building.
How’s your behaviour?
Business owners reflect behaviour back to the employees—reinforcing either the behaviour that they’re looking for, or in many cases, getting more of what they don’t want. Employers don’t do what they know they should do and, as a result, neither do the employees. Do your job, and they will do theirs.
What are some things you know you should do but don’t do on a regular basis? When have you circumvented a system or a procedure? Employees know when you’re behind on your bookkeeping and paying the bills. To them, you are not watching the horizon! When you are aware of poor performance on the part of one employee, but avoid dealing with it, the result causes the other employees to get frustrated.
By becoming responsible for your job, you gain the trust of those around you. Employees will become more responsible when you become more responsible. Responsibility is contagious. The more you practice responsibility, the more those around you take responsibility.