I was speaking with a friend, a few days ago, about leadership.
I was thinking about; leaders, and good administrators and good managers…the other day…as I often do.
I was a manager for over twenty-five years.
It was easy to gravitate toward people who shook their heads in agreement with everything that came out of my mouth.
It is challenging to listen to constructive criticism or ideas that differ from your own.
I discovered early in my career…that often those who smiled and heartily agreed with me…were undercutting me when I was not present.
And, those who had differing ideas from mine…and constructive criticism…often had my best interest at heart.
As the Superintendent of Building Services…I had an open door policy. Many managers say that they have this policy…I have seen few that implemented it.
Whether…members of my immediate staff or crew supervisors or Building Service Workers or student custodial staff…all members of the organization and all customers that we served…were equally important to me.
My Motto was that if you put people first…excellent work will follow.
To this day… when I hear of a member of my former staff…being mistreated…it enrages me!
The former motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, said, ‘I really do not care how much you know…until I know how much you care…about me.’
To value another person’s worth…not only as a human being…but as a professional…is compelling.
When I was a member of the University Community, those leaders that projected to me…their admiration and respect and value of my accomplishments…I worked for countless hours…for free!
Southern Illinois University has a rich and elite history.
The reasons for SIU’s enrollment decline are numerous.
Some University Leaders were dismissed, without cause, when they were just beginning to turn the Great Ship around.
There was, for years, a lack of the proper attention paid toward the high school students in Southern Illinois…for recruiting.
Former Chancellor, Don Beggs, told me, when he became Chancellor…that he was shocked to find that there was little to no budget for advertising for the University.
During Chancellor Beggs time…we had over twenty-two thousand students.
The Sate of Illinois…abdicated it’s fiscal responsibility to us…for years.
Yet, there is a uniqueness and an inherent quality of excellence in the DNA of SIU…that must be treasured and protected…at all costs!
If a Leader cares about you…you will feel it in ‘your bones.’
Platitudes and gratuitous statements fall on deaf ears…when they are not backed by the demonstrated…time…and listening….and concern…and listening…that it takes to truly lead a diverse people…who only seek…someone to value them.