A Lesson In Leadership Unlike Any I Have Ever Seen Before

I know, I know, I know. Some of you may think the title is hyperbolic. Trust me. It’s not. I don’t do hyperbole. I do truth. And if said truth gets misinterpreted as hyperbole, so be it. I can’t control what someone perceives.

Ok, disclaimer out of the way.

Leadership Via LinkedIn Post

I don’t care if you:
-take a lot of vacation days
-freelance or consult on the side
-do laundry, get groceries, exercise, or nap during the workday

so long as you consistently:
-make positive contributions to our team’s culture
-set and achieve ambitious goals
-make decisions that support our business growth

That was it. No setup ala “Let me share a leadership lesson with all of you…” There was no setup required. She just jumped right in, got right to the point, and… the floodgates opened. At last count, there were 400 comments, nearly 300 shares, and over 19,000 reactions to her post.

In reading over some (of the comments), there are far too many to read all, the majority of the comments are positive, very positive. For example:

  • “Wow! What a great leader. Immediately I would know that I am trusted and valued as an employee. Which makes me want to work harder! Are you hiring?”
  • “Jess Forrester, this says so much about both your leadership style and the culture of Quorum! Great information to share with employees and candidates!”
  • “More of this please. Important message.”
  • “It’s refreshing to see a Chief Marketing Officer see her employees as humans not robots.”
  • “It’s a waste of time, resources and energy to worry about how or when the work is getting done. Is it getting done on time? Is it high quality? Great. It’s literally that simple. The most effective teams I’ve managed operated like this. Hire the right people and get out of their way.”

However, there are always two sides to that proverbial coin and some commenters were not so supportive of Jess’ message.

  • “I agree to an extent, but if they constantly take vacations that is a sign that they are overworked, stressed, or do not enjoy their position. If they do laundry, get groceries, exercise, or nap on their own time (lunch time) yes, but if that spills into the time, they are supposed to be working that is not only insubordination but how productive can they actually be. You still have to set standards or else the company will lose.”
  • “Jess, you should care! Someone who does as you are characterizing is not engaged
    It’s important to be a whole part of one’s own life ( family, friends, etc..) but if all your staff behaves that way, there will be a.perception by the internal collective and your clients (who pay for your bills/overhead, including staff salaries) – that you don’t care about what you are providing as a service! ‘Perception of Value.'”

My Thoughts 

If you’re paying attention, and I know you are, based on the title of this post, you don’t know what side I fall on, do you? Go back and reread the title if you don’t believe me.

Just because it’s a lesson unlike any ever seen before does not automatically imply approval. I could fall on the side of the dissenting voices, after all I’ve worked in lots and lots of places, including many corporate roles where the idea that Jess floats out there would be tantamount to heresy.

However, that is not where I fall. If you’ve spent more than 30 seconds with me you KNOW where I fall on all this.

I could go on a massive rant right now as to how I feel a leader should lead, how people should be treated, and on and on and on.

But instead, I will leave you with this, a commenter who pretty much summed up my thoughts to a T.

“As long as the work is getting done according to expectation and beyond, as long team members are readily available to carry the load they are hired to carry – why do we care what else they do??? We need to stop penalizing people for doing their job faster, being able to multitask and/or because they have a life outside of the office. We are not paying for hours; we are paying for deliverables and IP and as long as we are getting that nothing else should matter.”

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