Excerpted with the permission of the author of Love Works – Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders from Chapter 5.2
I have interviewed hundreds of people in my thirty-plus years in business, and I have seen almost every situation imaginable. However, over lunch with Gene, who was being interviewed for a senior leadership position at Herschend Family Entertainment, I saw something new.
Our lunch was going very well. He was working for a larger competitor, and he clearly knew his field of expertise. Not only that, but he seemed to like our direction, growth strategy, and culture. As we talked, however, I couldn’t understand why Gene was interested in joining the HFE team. He already had a great job that paid very well, and joining us would probably require a pay cut and moving his family.
“Gene, you don’t need to sell me any more on your capabilities,” I said. “It’s clear you have the skills and the drive that we need. But why do you want to leave the company you’re with?”
He looked at me, and tears welled up in his eyes. With his voice quivering, he said, “They cut one-third of my team in a mass layoff.” And after a long pause, he continued slowly, “And they didn’t even ask my opinion. They didn’t trust me enough to ask me.” Then he was silent. He could no longer speak without crying.
Gene’s leaders lost his trust because they made a major decision without his input. He was willing to leave his company because of a lack of trust. One of the best ways a leader can demonstrate trust and respect is to listen to and involve team members in the decision that affect them.
The best decisions are always made with, not for, and showing that kind of trust is a true attribute of leading with love.
Joel Manby President and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE) At HFE, the largest family-owned theme park corporation in the U.S., Manby and his team have proven you can get financial results and lead with love, generating a 14% annual return to shareholders while also helping thousands of employees in financial need via the company’s Share It Forward Foundation. 100% of the royalties from the sale of Love Works go to this foundation.
You can find out more about Joel and Love Works at: joelmanby.com
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