Of all the leadership qualities outlined in book after book, passion—defined (among other things) as “boundless enthusiasm”—ranks right at the top of my list. At Adecco, I and the people I have the honor of working with have boundless enthusiasm and passion for serving our clients and associates, the employees we place at client companies.
Growing up in Florida, where my dad was a citrus grower, I learned valuable lessons from my parents that still guide me. My dad taught me that how you make people feel is even more important than what you do and say. My mother taught me the importance of patience, respect, and finding value in all people. I learned about sales by selling at the farm’s roadside stand. I learned about leading people from watching my dad: he treats every person with dignity and respect.
My favorite book is Bringing out the Best in People; that book and my own experiences have formulated my five essential guidelines to leading any team or organization:
- Hire the best people—everything begins and ends with people. Hiring the best people is the first step in building and leading a world-class organization.
- Give them the best products and training. Investing in people creates three positive outcomes—getting results today, developing the next generation of leaders, and leaving a valuable legacy. As the saying goes, “…teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Leadership is about inspiring others, helping them to reach their full potential.
- Give them the best support. You show people you care by spending time with them, by being present, and role modeling the behavior you expect. The saying rings true, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say.”
- Hold them accountable; it’s one thing to have a plan, and quite another to execute it. Managing performance is a very important job as a leader.
- Reward the doers. Everyone who works for you wants to feel important. Good leaders always recognize and reward success, which not only gives people a sense of accomplishment, but also lets them know they belong to an organization that cares about them.