Tell them what you want,
reward them for giving it to you,
and get out of the way.
That’s my strategy in a nutshell.
--- Gordon Bethune, former CEO, Continental Airlines
In today’s economy, we employ ‘knowledge workers.’ They control the means of production – their knowledge. They become valuable by occupying a specialized niche of knowledge and developing it further than anyone else. You can’t do the same work your employees – the knowledge workers – can do any more than the art gallery owner can paint a masterpiece, or the NFL manager can run a football through a strong defense, or the hospital CEO can perform a heart transplant. Those tasks are the specialized functions of the artist, the running back and the surgeon. Yet you have to lead these people. Your role is to inspire them to achieve spectacular results, to standardize and measure those results, to let them know the score (e.g. who has brought in what results) and to reward those who have scored high. Write down a few ways of interacting with your team members that will bring out the unique creativity of each individual and inspire them to apply their ingenuity toward achieving your collective goals.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).