Leadership – A role model

Recently as I retold a story about an example of a leader actually leading a large organization through tough times, I realized this example embodies a favorite snippet (thanks to Jack / Carol Weber): “In absence of good communications, people will make it up and convince their friends it’s true”.

I worked in a large organization (~2000) and the org and biz were on a roll, growing and projecting growth. I seldom saw or heard the General Manager, but often his 2nd in command. Then, unexpectedly our product’s market collapsed, and our business was threatened closure. The GM started a cruasade to both preserve the business and the careers of the people who worked for him. Immediately, he was in front of the entire organization regularly, telling us what he knew that he COULD tell and be open to both answer questions and updating us on the ideas he is pushing. He set our expectations very well to not over expect immediate success and he worked tirelessly to create a new future. He did create that future; but it meant for a couple of years 90% of the workforce needed to find a new job.

In the end, he created a new and vibrant future for the organization; and, he helped find jobs for almost every single employee if they wanted another one. He demonstrated what great leaders do … first regular, transparent and candid communication, and second, the discipline, persistence and compasion to deliver those futures. He shortly thereafter retired from our company. I would like to believe that he was content delivering his career best and walking away.

He communicated and provided information when rumors could have destroyed both the business and the people … good, strong leader communication will make outstanding results easier – it’s necessary, but not sufficient …

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