Employees come before customers

By Marcel Schwantes via inc.com   Article

Why Do Employees Quit Their Managers? Here’s the No. 1 Reason in a Short Sentence

Hard Fact: Employees Come Before CustomersAnd therein lies the problem for managers still operating in traditional hierarchies, which represents the majority to this day. They have it all backwards.

Blanchard is famous for teaching the concept of an ‘upside down pyramid,’ where leaders serve the employees, who are closest to the customer experience, first. He says:

Great leaders realize that their No. 1 customer is their people. If they take care of their people, train them, and empower them, those people will become fully engaged and gung-ho about what they do. In turn, they will reach out and take care of their second most important customer–the people who buy their products or services–and turn them into raving fans.

Case in point, in my most recent interview, profiling the CEO of The Melting Pot restaurant chain (who rose to the top from his lowly beginnings as a dishwasher), Bob Johnston revealed that the premise for the success behind his global fondue franchise comes down to an unwavering focus on ‘treating our employees well, so they’ll treat our customers well.’ He adds, ‘If you ignore the first part of the equation, you’ll never get to the second.’

But first, employees need to feel like they belong, and trust, not fear, their leaders. This is about the emotional currency that leads to high performance.

In Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last, he talks about the concept of the ‘circle of safety.’ The world is filled with danger, things that are trying to frustrate our lives, reduce our success, or reduce our opportunity for success. The only variables, says Sinek in this TED Talk, are the conditions inside the organization, and that’s where leadership matters, because it’s the leader who sets the tone to make sure there’s trust and cooperation, and that employees’ needs are being met.

He brings the point home: ‘When a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people inside the organization first, to sacrifice their comforts and sacrifice the tangible results, so that the people remain and feel safe and feel like they belong, remarkable things happen.'”


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