Never let your hubris get the best of you

Column by JAY PERRY

As Einstein is attributed to have said, “Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.” He didn’t really say it, but I believe he believed it.

Leaders fall into the trap of continuing to do the same thing because they have achieved successes in the past that can give them confidence that they have figured out the superior way of being. This is a sense of hubris that is immediately squashed by reality. Today, that reality is the cost of labour and shortage of workers available. Einstein did say, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” He was preaching humility. We must have humility if we wish to be great in our leadership. Humility allows us to examine “the way we have always done it” and stop protecting the status quo. Leaders must develop humility above all else. This is what allows them to accept the notion that maybe there is a better way. They must listen to messages from near and far, weigh the potential and be brave to change when they see that potential.

Listen to what workers are saying. In a recent BDC newsletter, an article outlined how money isn’t the only thing workers want. Of course, it is important that you pay people in accordance to their worth. What else is important is that you engage with them, provide opportunity for growth and development and create a culture that has people wanting to be on your team. One of the more progressive clients has provided the opportunity for their people to move around between jobs that interest them in their career development. Another forward-thinking client is in the midst of a career path strategy that will advertise careers not just jobs. This move makes sense because good people are hard to find, so when you find one—hang on to them! Create a desire to want to stay with you because they see the opportunity.

If you pay attention to the reasons workers give for leaving an employer, more times than any other they cite a toxic environment as the motivator. It is no longer enough to provide a clean, safe workspace. People want more satisfaction from a place they are spending almost a third of their time. They want to belong to an organization that has a cause—beyond just money—can see them as an individual and supports their ambitions. That requires leaders thinking differently than we have been.

I have met employees that have had degrees and certifications paid for by their employers. I still hear things like, “what if I pay for the education and they leave?” This kind of small thinking is what will sink the ship. Not seeing the need to invest in better equipment or better education is a death knell.

Get to know your people and what they prize, then start delivering it! That’s the way you can stay the one who’s driving!


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