Be aware of the influence you have

I was once involved with an organization that had realized some great successes by servicing clients in a highly regulated industry.  Violations of the regulations drew big fines so having expertise in the area was valuable to our clients and profitable for us.  Unfortunately, such an environment can lead an organization to misidentify the reasons for its success.  I witnessed (and I was told I was hired into a senior management role to neutralize this trend)  an atmosphere were intimidation and distrust appeared to be prevalent in employee management. The predictable result was an erosion of morale.

This was very sad for me because our junior staff were usually of the demographic of having recently completed their undergraduate education – they were young and impressionable.  And the impression being left upon many of them I fear is that ‘Wow, this is what the work world is like.’  If left only with such an experience at a young age, it does not bode well at all for the business leaders 20 or 30 years hence.

My point is that as managers and leaders of today, we must always remember that our ontological selves greatly influence those that are in the position of looking up to us.  We can use our influences for better or for worse.  The former requires fortitude and emotional intelligence; the latter requires only apathy (though ego and insecurity are often catalysts).  Unfortunately, many people in management underestimate the enormity of the responsibility bestowed upon them.

I am not naive; I know businesses need to focus on making money.  Focusing on the growth of your people and the bottom line are not dichotomous activities.  In fact, they complement each other beautifully.  Research continues to support this.

It is our choice. We can decide the impact we have on the next generation. The bigger the change we wish to initiate, the longer the time required. Be patient and have faith that you are doing a great thing!

My intent in telling this story is to share my perspective on a particular  experience that I feel might have commonality with the experiences of others.  As always, I welcome you to share your point of view.

Thanks for reading and have a Great Day!

Matt G.

(Author’s note: As I wrote this I was reminded of my very first position of supervisor early in my career.  As I was preparing for the morning arrival of my team, my boss came by and asked, “Are the kids here yet?”.  I was initially offended that my staff was made akin to children.  It felt derogatory to me.  While I will never look upon anyone reporting to me as a child, I can certainly draw the analogy to a manager’s role involving the growth and development of the individual while staying focused on the goals and mission of the organization.)

© 2011 Vonarx Systems, LLC

About Matt Gorman

Life-long learner. Lover of all things music. Avid cyclist.
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