Most managers and supervisors are promoted from within and are not provided the basics of producing results through others. When I was a telephone technician, I installed and repaired phones. I was held to a level of accountability and was able to meet these expectations with MY hands.

When I was promoted, I was held to the same level of accountability but had to achieve this through the hands of OTHERS. Our responsibility as a leader can be summed up in this letter:

Dear Boss,

“I am your team member. I separate your company, organization, government agency or crew from any other. You will either grow and improve with me or maintain and go out of business with me. My family and I are counting on you to grow and improve.

You have the ability to make reporting to work challenging and enjoyable or a living hell. You will either be “For Me”, “Against Me” or “For Yourself”. If you are “For Me”, I will walk through walls for you. If not, I will do just enough to get by or I will leave unless I am one of the five percent that are high performers even in the absence of leadership. I am every level of management and non-management.

It is your job, your responsibility to improve, develop and help me be successful. It is NOT my job to make you successful but my success will certainly contribute to your success. If we are to grow and improve together, three things must exist and increase:

• Education- You must insure I have the tools and training to be successful.

• Engagement – Talk to me. Don’t assume I know your expectations. This is NOT once a year through a rubber stamped review or through an e-mail or memo. Explain the company culture, your expectations of me, my progress, praise me, correct me and help me be successful. Let me know what my role is in the success of the business.

• Accountability – If I don’t meet the standards, improve my performance or change my behavior, hold me totally accountable. You have many tools in that Leadership Tool Kit of yours. You have performance improvement plans, different levels of discipline and if all else fails, terminations. For our sakes, be consistent and use them. If you go months and years without using these tools, either your expectations are too low or YOU are not held accountable.

You probably have responsibility for a six or seven figure annual payroll. Producing documentation of team member improvement should be a basic requirement of leadership. Nothing written, nothing changed. If you are unable to meet the basic responsibilities of leadership, get training, get assistance or get out. Jobs are at stake.”

Your Team Member

“Every Manager, Supervisor and Leader should have the opportunity through training and knowledge to live up to this letter. We are looking for leaders that share that belief. 

Greg L. Gilbert

Greg L. Gilbert Management Consulting Inc