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Leadership Lessons: Remember Everyone is Important


After a busy spate at work which lasted months, followed by a glorious week off in Toronto, I have finally gotten around to re-starting the next book on my leadership list: ‘Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney’ by Lee Cockerell. Lee Cockerell managed Walt Disney World resort operations for over ten years. He has won many leadership awards and crafted Disney’s ‘Great Leader Strategies’. “It’s not the magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic.” On a resort the size of San Francisco, with a staff complement of 40,000, Lee achieved one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry and created magic.

I have just finished Chapter 3 where Cockerell explores the first leadership principle – inclusion. Lee’s most important leadership lesson is not about driving for excellence or being a stickler for operational efficiency. He focuses on making people so comfortable that they always do their best. Disney’s concept of inclusion is summed up by the acronym RAVE: Respect, Appreciate and Value Everyone.

Here are the 13 key principles for creating an inclusive environment:

1. Make sure everyone matters and that everyone knows it
2. Know your team
3. Let your team get to know you
4. Greet people sincerely
5. Reach out to everyone on your team
6. Make yourself available
7. Listen to understand
8. Communicate clearly, directly and honestly
9. Stand up for the excluded
10. Forget about the chain of command
11. Don’t micromanage
12. Design your culture
13. Treat your people the way you would want your customers to be treated

In principle 13, Lee goes on to elaborate that customers want four basic things:
– Make me feel special
– Treat me as an individual
– Respect me
– Be knowledgeable

Employees, in turn also want four things:

– Make me feel special
– Treat me as an individual
– Respect me
– Make me knowledgeable

How many of us can name bosses who have routinely done these four things? I can think of leaders who ticked two of the boxes regularly and three occasionally. All four? Only on extremely rare occasions. I know that as a leader, I have failed miserably in accomplishing this. How often do I make my direct reports and line staff feel special? How often do I treat them as individuals and not just department members or someone filling a role? Do I ensure that my team members each feel respected by me? Do I make my people knowledgeable?

I am only on Chapter 3 of this book, but I feel challenged already, and inspired to begin today to become a better leader. I hope you do too!

 

About Joya Martin

I am an award-winning business leader and experienced accounting professional living in the gorgeous Caribbean. I'm inspired by books, photography, art, beauty, nature, freedom, learning and love. My passion is continuous learning, growth and improvement. I believe in people. Here you will find the tools, tips and motivation you need to help you achieve happiness and success beyond your wildest dreams.

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10 Responses to Leadership Lessons: Remember Everyone is Important

  1. Michelle
    August 8, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Joya, thanks for reinforcing what I attempt to practice each day.

    • September 2, 2012 at 8:53 PM

      Thanks for commenting, Michelle! It’s good to know there are great people-focused leaders out there.

  2. sonia
    August 8, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Good one Joya. This is soul searching for leaders

    • September 2, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Sonia! Leadership is a continual learning process. Thank goodness for that.

  3. Dave
    August 8, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    keep up the good work

  4. August 8, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Joya thanks for highlighting some of the key points of transformational leadership where employees are not just seen as commodities or work horses, but as thinking, feeling individuals who all have valuable contributions to make. Great post.

    • September 2, 2012 at 8:54 PM

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting, Koren! I know leadership is near and dear to your heart.

  5. Joyanne
    August 8, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Great post Joya! Learning to be a leader is work constantly “in progress”. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • August 8, 2012 at 7:29 PM

      Thanks, Joyanne! A journey it is indeed… Thanks so much for your comment!

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