i was asked the question, “do your employees work for you or do you work for your employees?” a few days ago as the district manager (for the santa monica store) was getting to know me. “well…” i said and paused, thinking about it. kind of both, i thought to myself…before i answered. not really sure where this question is going, is another thought that popped into my head. “it’s not a trick question…really. and i feel like i already know by what you’ve told me thus far.” really? i was thinking, because i had no clue what i was supposed to say…or how she was baiting my hook, if i were to sound truly southern.
“well, i think some of both,” i began my reply. “they work for me for sure. i lead by example, by word, and by action. i plan for the day with them in mind, asking them to do that which suits them best–either to their strengths or to challenge them in an opportunity area. i’m in control…and i tend to take charge, but not in a domineering or overbearing way. it’s just natural.”
she added a little more to what i said, agreeing that she could see it going both ways. but she was going with the working for your people…which i now get.
so i’ve thought about it a little more.
and i’ve thought about it while i’ve been at work the past 4 hours today.
working for my people…
allowing margit to be in control, when i’m on my break…giving her all the resources, the information, the confidence i can in order for her to succeed at the task. i am empowering her.
putting austin on the sales floor, when he’s used to be in the stock room…telling him how to greet and approach the customer, doing it with him, and allowing him to do it himself knowing that i am behind him the whole way.
asking margie to handle the cash wrap today, giving her all control there.
in just these simple delegations, i have empowered each and every one of them to go beyond what they normally do…to step up to the next level.
and all the while,
i am available,
i am cheering them on,
i am letting them handle it,
i am serving them however i can,
i am giving them power, authority, confidence,
i am working for them…
while they are working for me.