Leadership Is Art of Achieving More Than Science of Management Says Possible… Colin Powell

Have you ever wondered why certain companies have extremely loyal band of employees while some do not? Why would employees in some companies bring same passion to work everyday, while employees in other companies continuously look out for opportunities to jump off the train as soon as they can? I was fortunate enough to work for couple of the first type of companies. When I was leaving one such company about 10 years back, I thought about what made me work for that company so passionately and for so long and why I was leaving now? The answer was clear in my mind; I stayed because of the leader of the organization. Many employees, including myself, left the company when the leadership changed.

 

What differentiates the leaders of both these types of companies?

 

The closest parallel I can draw to a very loyal employee base is with the Army personnel. Why would any soldier rush up a hill under heavy machine-gun fire where the odds of survival are so low? I believe that there are three factors that influence a soldier’s loyalty:
 

  • A soldier needs to have tremendous faith in the commander who is asking him to charge. 

  • A soldier needs to believe that, with enough sacrifice, the hill can be conquered. 

  • A soldier needs to believe he has the moral right to win the hill and when he eventually wins the hill, the rewards will be greater than the sacrifices. In most cases, the reward is the greater good like freedom for the people and not just a personal reward for the General or for a single person.

 

In comparison, companies where you see very loyal employee base have the following things in common:

  • A leader with a great vision and a purpose that is so well articulated that, the employees know - why they are doing what they are doing. 

  • A leader that breathes and lives that purpose and constantly works towards turning that into a reality. She constantly creates an impression on the employees that the only difference between winning and losing is the execution and that there is no short cut to success. She practices religiously what she preaches and becomes a role model to the employees. 

  • A leader who attributes the successes to the team and failures to herself.
     

​end with one of my favorite quotes by Colin Powell – “Organization doesn't really accomplish anything. Plans don't accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don't matter much. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting and retaining the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”

 

It is every leader’s duty to attract, retain, and unleash the potential of their loyal employee base.
PS: These thoughts were an outcome of various conversations with a close friend 10 years back over a drink.