First there was the scourge of political correctness. Then came the No Asshole Rule, Emotional Intelligence and Conscious Capitalism. Now we’re supposed to Lead with Dignity by raising our “dignity consciousness.”
Meanwhile leaders are supposed to be likable, positive and grateful. They’re supposed to avoid conflict, not to mention saying or doing anything that might be construed as offensive or unwelcome or end up getting busted by the hate speech / me too police.
Give me a freaking break.
Want to know where all that nonsense comes from? Academics. Bureaucrats. Hollywood. Europe. Certainly not from anyone who’s ever actually built a business or had to compete for a customer in the real business world.
Maybe John Mackey is an exception, but look what happened when he wrote his dumb book and took his eye off the ball? Whole Foods ended up going south and getting subsumed by the biggest baddest predator in the corporate jungle, Amazon. And let me tell you, Jeff Bezos doesn’t give a flying you-know-what about any of that spineless snowflake crap.
Business leaders should focus on one thing: doing their job better than anyone else. To be specific, building the business by exceeding their business goals. That’s why they call it business: We do business, we don’t do leadership BS.
Engineering should strive to design great products. Marketing should create brand awareness and loyalty. Sales should focus on winning customers and generating revenue. Finance should make sure there’s always money in the bank. And everyone should care about the customer experience.
Don’t get me wrong. Hiring and retaining talent is also the job of every business leader, every executive and every manager. But you don’t accomplish that with new age nonsense.
You accomplish that by searching for the very best talent that fits your company culture, and by offering a challenging work environment where employees are well incentivized, recognized and promoted for doing their best work.
That’s what makes employees happy, engaged and productive. That also happens to be what generates results like revenues, profits and shareholder value. And that’s what makes all your stakeholders happy. And yes, it really is that simple. Hard, but simple.
So put down the loony leadership book and get to work.