Recently certain CEOs of major corporations have made national news for comments made during staff meetings. However, their appearance in the media is for unfortunate reasons. Where most leaders would want to be recognized for their great impact, these leaders were noted for negative comments about their workforce.  They seem to have replaced positive motivation with demands and mistrust. 

A few of the misguided statements made by these leaders include wanting people to work around the clock, doubting whether team members who work remotely are actually working, and criticizing team members for putting their needs above reaching the goal.  The high-handed tone of these comments reveals a lack of humility and compassion for the people they lead. 

During the recession in 2008, many companies made massive layoffs. Other leaders, however, asked everyone to make smaller sacrifices, did not take raises for themselves, and in some cases even took pay cuts.  They demonstrated compassion by protecting families from a total loss of employment.  

Challenging times test the character and strength of a leader. Some shine a light on the team–they find fault with team members for not knowing enough, producing enough or engaging enough.  Others take ownership by uplifting, supporting, and protecting their team.  They understand that people give their best despite challenges in their personal lives.  

Leaders must consider whether issues in the workplace are about the team’s deficits or point to a need for stronger leadership. Leading well requires being actively engaged with the team to understand what obstacles may inhibit them from reaching their potential. Are all team members on board with the mission and their unique contribution to that goal? Do they have the support and accountability needed to do their jobs well? Do they need additional tools or mentoring? A strong leader will pay attention to these aspects even during good economic times.  

Let’s make a difference and inspire success by caring about our team members on a human level. Express gratitude for the gifts people bring to work every day. Allow opportunities to share feedback and troubleshoot issues. Provide challenging and fulfilling work for your team to engage with. Let’s be coaches who guide, encourage, and equip our team.