In one fashion or another, I have been involved in training and speaking since – yikes! – 1970. I was a trainer during my active duty in the US Army…a manager of people at two different television stations…a management trainer for that broadcasting company that owned those two stations…an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan for 19 years…and have run my own speaking and training business since 1980. Whew! Some of those roles overlapped, but the simple fact is that I have been helping other people learn and grow for over 40 years. And here’s what I know in one sentence:
People won’t perform well if they don’t feel well.
I don’t just mean “not feeling well” in the sense that they might have an illness. I am referring to the kind of climate we create when we fill the role of manager or leader or boss or supervisor…or parent for that matter. Here’s what New York restaurateur Danny Meyer said in his wonderful book, Setting the Table:
“You may think, as I once did, that I’m primarily in the business of serving good food. Actually, though, food is secondary to something that matters even more. In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships. Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple and that hard.”
I know a lot of what we sometimes call old-line managers will scoff at that notion. I have worked for some of them. They’re tough. They don’t budge. They don’t encourage. And…I couldn’t wait to get away from them and work for and with people who knew that feelings are as important as skills.
I know Meyer is so right and I strive to be that kind of parent and grandparent and spouse and brother AND speaker and trainer and coach every day. And I know he’s especially right about this:
It’s that simple and that hard.