For years I led my team with a very customer oriented philosophy. Which, by the way, is not a bad idea. I had a say, “The customer is always first. If there’s something wrong with you (team member), then you become first!”
Not a bad way to look at a business. Take care of the people who pay for you, so that you can take care of the people that work for you.
Over the last few years, I changed the way I look at that. I’ve come to realize that it is way more important to take care of the people who take care of you. When you focus on your team, an amazing thing happens…they take care of your customer.
Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-fil-A says that his customer is the 60,000 people who work for the company. Not the person who actually buys the products. That’s why they have the best team members working in the stores who are always ready to take care of you, the consumer.
Having taught leadership for so many years, I understand that this concept is one that most people aren’t used to. How do I know that? It’s something I’ve learned after spending countless hours counseling leaders and owners of all different types of businesses.
Why is this such a common theme? Because, for the most part, we’ve all learned how to lead from those who lead us. If they didn’t take care of their team members, it’s really hard for us to focus on it.
In EntreLeadership Performance Series I share a story of when I asked one of my team members what she thought about how much I focus on taking care of my team members. She quickly responded with –
You spend time with your team, so to us
- You’re a good leader
- It affects our work
- You guide us
- We are loyal to you
- Because we know you care
I have to say, I was stunned. In fact, I took the opportunity to write down what she said right then. Needless to say, it’s never left my memory. That’s why so many leaders get to hear it when I’m teaching.
Take care of your team, and they will not only take care of you, but your customer as well.
Question: Is it to you that your team members come first?