Your Leadership Is Measured Against This…
Leadership performance is constantly being evaluated by employees today. It’s important that you know how you measure up because it could be that you need to start choosing different actions in order to be more effective. Today I am sharing a story to shed light on a step you can take to elevate your leadership the moment you finish this blog.
Expectations Were Already In Place
I was in San Antonio recently and needed a ride to the airport at 4:30 in the morning. I wasn’t sure if I could get an Uber or Lyft at that time so I went down to the hotel concierge and asked if they had a shuttle available.
The lady was so kind as she explained to me that they didn’t have a shuttle service available at that time, but that she would be happy to arrange a taxi for me. She, too, wasn’t sure if there would be any ride-sharing app employees available. Rather than risk missing my flight, I decided to take her up on the offer to schedule a taxi for me.
As I lay in my hotel bed that night playing through how the morning would go, I had a few questions.
How would I know if the taxi had arrived? When I use a ride-share service, I could look on the app and see where my ride was.
Who would my driver be? I didn’t have any idea if it would be a male or female, what color hair they’d have, or whether or not they had a proven track record for being a safe, friendly driver with a clean car.
For the past several years I have been able to open my phone and read reviews on a driver, see their picture, see exactly what kind of car they drove. I lay in bed looking at the ceiling feeling like there were a lot of unknowns. I guess this is how people must have felt back in the 1900s before ride-sharing apps. What a crazy time that must have been!
Evaluation Is Constant
The next morning, I am up before the sun and ready to head home. I get down to the lobby and walk over to the concierge again. I told them that the employee last night said she would have a taxi for me and asked if they knew anything about that. The employee came from behind the counter and walked me outside where I saw something that felt like a movie – a yellow cab! Now, you may have seen or ridden in many yellow cabs in your life, but this was new to me! I’m sure I have seen these cabs on the road before, but never one pulled up just for me.
My first thought was “Ah, a male driver.” He sat in his car while I put my bag in – which I am totally cool with. It just popped in my head how this was different than what I’d known otherwise. In my experience with Uber or Lyft, the driver pulls up and at least offers to help with my luggage. While I typically decline the help, I appreciate the gesture nonetheless. This taxi driver didn’t offer help, he just waited for me to get in. Cool.
When I got in the car, there is a big, really thick piece of plexiglass between the front and back seats. We live in a COVID world, so I somewhat expected something like that. However, it was the metal grate that the plexiglass was attached to that threw me. Typically with Uber or Lyft, there is no such contraption. It felt a little bit like a police car, honestly.
I’m a pretty curious person. If I want to know something, I just ask. So, naturally, after the usual pleasantries, we’re pulling out of the hotel and I asked him what was up with the metal separation between the front and back seats. In my mind, I wanted to make sure this wasn’t a taxi driver turned serial killer who lures his victims in by thinking they’re innocently taking a cab somewhere. But when they realize they’re about to be killed, he has put up a caged wall so they can’t try to get in the front to wreck the car to try to escape! After he told me about all the drunk people he picks up in the middle of the night, I understood that there was no danger here, just a man trying to protect himself from crazy people.
As we neared the airport, I began wondering how I was going to pay. Did he want cash? I didn’t have cash! Ride-sharing apps let me use my ApplePay. I started to panic internally a bit. I looked all around the front of the car, as far as the cage would let me, and I didn’t see anywhere to swipe a card. All I could see was the numbers rolling higher and higher telling me how much my bill would be. As we’re pulling in, I ask him how I was supposed to pay him. He kindly responded that he uses Square and I’ll be able to swipe my card on his phone. Whew! Dodged a bullet. The unknowns, the anxiety.
I paid. I shut the door behind me. And as I am walking to my gate, I’m thinking about just how nice the driver was. I told him it was my first time in a cab. He talked with me about his family, where he grew up, how much he loved his job, and how he dreamt of retirement with his grandchildren one day. He was wonderful!
But now I am not able to share that with anyone. I can’t log into my app and give him a 5-star review and tell people to use him and ask him about his favorite annual festival back home! I hated that. I liked him. I wanted to give him more business.
From the moment I found out I was going to take a real-life yellow taxi to the airport, I had questions and expectations based on all my past experiences with all the ride-share apps I have used. You may be wondering which I would prefer now. Hands down, I’ll still use the app every time I can. Not because it’s “what I’ve always done,” but because they answer my questions and meet my needs better. I can pick my driver based on other people’s reviews, decide how long I want to wait, choose what type of car I want. Plus paying them is easier, and keeping up with receipts is more convenient, too.
Make Your Leadership More Effective
On the plane home, I thought about human nature. We all do it — we compare the people we interact with, the services we use — to our past experiences. I compared my yellow cab ride to my experiences with Uber and Lyft.
Let’s apply the same line of thinking to work. As you bring on new employees, they are comparing leaders in your organization to leaders they have in the past. They have certain expectations of the leader based on their personal past experience. They may have had a leader that gave feedback more often than you, was more hands-off than you, held their hand more than you, was harder on them than you, and so on.
Here’s the question: do you know their expectations of you so you can make sure they still want to stay with you in the future? If you don’t, you may show up with good intentions, but you can’t compete with their idea of who they deserve to have as a great leader because you don’t know the standard you’re competing against.
Could it be that you could keep great employees longer if you understood more of what they expected from your leadership? It’s absolutely possible. So, today, why don’t you go ask them a question like “Tell me about the best leader you ever had.” You never know, you may get an answer that gives you insight into how to adapt your leadership to win their loyalty.
I’m wishing you huge success!
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