The TriNet Extreme Leadership Series: The Kinder, Gentler Extreme Leader
Posted on August 24, 2012 by Matt Meigs in Best Practices, Entrepreneurs, Leadership
Is there a connection between having a sincere personal interest in the welfare of the people you work with and your potential to become an extreme leader? Leadership expert, bestselling author, and TriNet Extreme Leadership Video Series host Steve Farber has evidence that there is. In The Story Inventory, the tenth program in the series, Farber supports his assertion by describing the leadership style of, “One of the finest extreme leaders I’ve ever met.”
Farber begins The Story Inventory by explaining that the principals of extreme leadership aren’t things he simply pulled out of a hat one day. They are instead based on his observations of some of the greatest leaders in the U.S and indeed the world. As he says, “These are the people that do extraordinary things and have a tremendous reputation in their own organizations.”
Focusing on one leader in particular, an executive named Dick who started in the motor pool of one of the largest banking firms in the country and moved up the ladder to become a vice president in the organization. Farber tells how he had an opportunity to observe Dick and his group at Dick’s worksite and was struck by how much his people enjoyed working with him. As Farber describes it, “His employees LOVED him. No question about it…they loved him. They described him as one of the greatest leaders they’d ever met.”
Farber discovered that the reason Dick’s employees were so enthusiastic about him was because he didn’t simply know them from a purely business standpoint. He also took the time to learn about their personal lives outside of the company environment. Farber had the opportunity to observe Dick in one of the banking firm’s older facilities that Dick hadn’t visited for a period of time and describes how, as the employees came over to say “Hi” to him, “Dick would then turn to me and tell me a story about that person—tell me some significant event in that person’s life.”
It turns out that Dick’s personal connection to the people he worked with resulted in more than goodwill. “This guy got tremendous results,” observes Farber, explaining that when he was promoted to vice president, Dick’s first assignment was to oversee the downsizing of a department of over 1500 employees down to 175 employees over a 12-month period. One positive—and surprising—outcome of the difficult assignment was that, as the downsizing progressed, employee surveys revealed that satisfaction rates actually went up from a pre-downsizing score in the 70s to a score in the high 80s during the downsizing period. When Farber asked how Dick accounted for the increased satisfaction he replied that “There were two things “number one, I kept everyone involved, and number two, I continued to let them know that I cared every freaking day.”
All of the videos in the TriNet Extreme Leadership Series—an exclusive program for TriNet client companies—can be accessed through our online portal, HR Passport®. Trinet.com visitors are welcome to get a sampling of the program or to contact us for additional information.
Learn more at: extremeleadership.com.