As an attorney, I do my best to educate clients: best practices, the impact of recent cases on their businesses, managing borderline employees, you get the idea. It can be easy to lose sight that I have a relationship with my clients--that is, I'm on a two-way street, and I can learn from them, too.
One client recently lost its President and General Manager. He was the type of leader who was larger than life yet so very approachable. He preached a mantra to his employees that they wholeheartedly embraced . . . because he practiced it, too. Exceed expectations.
Two simple, everyday words that managed to perfectly describe his management and business style. He wanted his employees to provide the best customer service by going beyond what the customer anticipated receiving. He also wanted his employees to be the best co-workers by going beyond what a job description might capture. When it came time to cater to the customer, no one had a job title. It was everyone's responsibility to do whatever was necessary to ensure the customer had an unforgettable, in a positive way, experience. In working to serve the customers, you would find him right beside those who would have fit into a rectangle under him on an organizational chart--not that he would have ever dreamed of illustrating anyone's "position" at the company in such a manner.
Managerial styles are as unique as those who carry them out. Here, though, we have advice that can be tailored to whatever style fits us as individuals.
My client's leader may not be present to guide those employees any longer, but they will never be lost. They know what they are supposed to do--exceed expectations.