The Lincoln Memorial Turns 100
This month, as we celebrate Lincoln’s birthday, let’s turn the spotlight on the Lincoln Memorial, which is turning 100 this year. Our good friends at the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia have dug up the story of the original 1922 dedication program, and what a story that is! The lessons for today are startling.
So, with permission from the Lincoln Group of D.C., we reprint this article, written by Wendy Swanson.
The iconic Lincoln Memorial turns 100 years old this year, and the Lincoln Group of D.C. is hard at work, planning a major centennial commemoration. The Lincoln Group is partnering with the National Park Service (NPS) to present a highly visible and memorable event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The event will take place on the morning of Sunday, May 22, 2022.
As a starting point for planning this year’s centennial commemoration, we looked back in time to study the original ceremony, and use that event as a blueprint of sorts for designing a program for today. We soon saw certain aspects of Lincoln’s legacy—so important in recent times—were not prominent themes (if included at all) in the original festivities.
The focus of the Memorial was Lincoln’s saving the Union. Mention of the Emancipation Proclamation and Thirteenth Amendment were intentionally left out of the design because of ongoing segregation. Dr. Robert Moton, the African American director of Tuskegee Institute, was invited to speak at the dedication, but his remarks, critical of segregation and voter suppression laws, were censored. Additionally, Moton was required to stand off-stage before and after his speech, separated from the other speakers—including Chief Justice William Taft, President Warren Harding, and Vice President Calvin Coolidge.
The Memorial rose from the still swampy area west of the Washington Monument. Washington politics complicated the process of proposing, approving, designing, and building the marble structure most of us have come to revere. A commission, tasked with its design, bumped up against the powerful speaker of the house, while wrangling among the artists, design disagreements, and structural logistics led to inflated costs. Interruptions during “the war to end all wars,” i.e., World War I, added to the woes, protracting the Memorial’s construction for nine years.
What was it like to attend that ceremony? Who was there? What did they say and what didn’t they say? Herein, we offer a portrait of the event.
The official program for the original dedication had a straightforward agenda:
If we were transported back in time to that day in 1922, those who know their history would not necessarily be surprised, but might still find the segregated nature of the event jarring. This, after all, was the era of Jim Crow. (Remember, themes such as emancipation and voting rights were left out of the design of the memorial because of the culture of the day, i.e., segregation.) African Americans, who arrived early to honor Father Abraham, and with hopes of gaining a prime viewing spot near the front of the crowd, were not only disappointed, but rudely led to a “colored section” far from the main activity. Meanwhile, a group of Confederate veterans, dressed in their gray uniforms, received seats of honor alongside their counterparts in blue, the Union veterans. The themes of reunion and saving the union were clearly visible.
The Speakers: Two of the main speakers at the event, William Howard Taft and the U.S. President (in 1922, that official was Warren G. Harding) were predicable; we would consider them “givens” for this particular type of event. After all, Taft, the president who signed the bill to create the Lincoln Memorial, also served as the chairman of the Lincoln Memorial Commission. He also was the nation’s Chief Justice. He had the honor at the ceremony of presenting the Memorial to Harding, the U.S. President, as a gift to the nation. Harding, in turn, was there to accept this offering on behalf of the county.
The dedication’s third major speaker was Dr. Robert R. Moton, selected to give the keynote address, and the only African American with a primary role in the program. Moton had become president of Tuskegee Institute following the death of its founder and first president, Dr. Booker T. Washington. A civil rights activist, he had written President Harding a letter offering suggestions on improving race relations and was a presidential advisor on this subject. Moton, a nationally well-known African American leader, was conservative in nature, and the Memorial Commission’s “careful” choice to “represent his race” by giving the keynote address. However, he was not given equal treatment.
The Speeches: Moton was not given free rein to speak on all the issues he considered pertinent. Prior to the dedication, he was asked to submit his speech for review. After doing so, he received the following correspondence from Chief Justice Taft, acting in his capacity as chairman of the Lincoln Memorial Commission. That telegram, dated May 23, 1922, insisted on revisions to the proposed draft:
Organizers of the event censored significant content of the proposed speech as too radical, and demanded a milder version. Sections of the address considered to be “problematic”—and, which were deleted—referenced the failure of the federal government to protect the rights of African Americans. In one deleted section, Moton referred to Lincoln’s mention in the Gettysburg Address of “great unfinished work” and the need to ensure that “government of the people, for the people and by the people should not perish from the earth.” After quoting Lincoln, Moton added:
This language on race relations and social justice did not appear in Moton’s keynote address given on May 30, 1922. In fact, a significant portion of the final section of his original speech was revised.
Some may wonder why Moton, working under such restrictions, proceeded with presenting his keynote address. He undoubtedly considered when, and if, he would again have the opportunity to address such a large assemblage (crowd estimates were at 50,000 or more, with additional listeners via radio broadcasts). Although he made cuts, as required, Moton made certain points clear. He talked of reconciliation, but he also called on the nation to complete its “unfinished work.” He observed that from the day of Lincoln’s tragic death, “the noblest minds and hearts, both North and South, were bent to the healing of the breach and the spiritual restoration of the Union.” He expressed his desire that the memorial’s dedication would mark the nation’s renewed commitment “to fulfill to the last letter the task imposed on it by the martyred dead—that it highly resolve that the humblest of citizen of whatever color or creed, shall enjoy that equal opportunity and unhampered freedom for which the immortal Lincoln gave ‘the last full measure of devotion.’” Moton closed by quoting Lincoln’s second inaugural address, adding his own belief:
The audience stood in applause as the band played “America.”
Much has been written about Moton’s censored speech. For those who wish to further explore the revisions made to his original speech, the Library of Congress provides a side-by-side comparison of the two versions of the address. The speech not delivered is also contained in The Lincoln Anthology, edited by Harold Holzer, published by Library Classics of the United States, New York, 2009.
The speeches of Taft and Harding repeated the original focus of the memorial as a symbol of the unification of the previously divided nation. To Taft, the monument signified “the restoration of brotherly love of the two sections” previously divided, e.g., North and South. Thus, he found the site selected for the memorial, on the Potomac, “the boundary between those two sections, peculiarly appropriate.” In fact, according to the Chief Justice, Lincoln was “as dear to the hearts of the South as to those of the North.” Harding offered remarks that dovetailed those of his predecessor—“how it would soften [Lincoln’s] anguish to know the South long since came to realize that vain assassin robbed it of its most sincere and potent friend.”
Harding started his remarks by accepting, on behalf of the government, the monument to the savior of the republic. Again, the focus was unification with no reference to what we, today, consider a major part of Lincoln’s legacy as the Great Emancipator. Harding essentially considered emancipation as a “means to the end”:
Robert Todd Lincoln (Photo credit: Library of Congress) An important attendee at the dedication, though he was not a speaker, was Robert Todd Lincoln, the only surviving son of the martyred president. He was a special guest at the ceremony, one who received a standing ovation upon taking his seat. During the construction of the memorial, he often had his driver go by the site to observe the progress being made on this tribute to his father. He once even received permission to visit the site during ongoing construction. The dedication was his last public appearance at age 79.
The Reaction: The story was reported in various ways, a mixed bag, depending on the source and its political persuasion. Some readers may have wondered if this was “a tale of two ceremonies,” rather than a single event.
Many mainstream white newspapers gave little ink to Moton’s speech. One Washington Post article didn’t mention his name, while another in the same publication deemed the address “a triumph and unqualified assertion of American racial progress.” The reaction of The Chicago Defender, an African American publication, was to advise readers that “no memorial dedication had occurred.” A thumbnail sketch of the coverage offered by two publications—one stressing the nation’s inequities, the other national unity—is provided. Two quite different accounts.
The Chicago Whip, financed by African American businessmen and leaders, ran an article entitled “‘Distinguished Guests’ Find Themselves Roped Off in Pen, Many Leave In Disgust.” This piece focused on the Jim Crow atmosphere of the event, including how twenty-one descendants of slaves found themselves roped off in a small enclosure, away from the rest of the audience. When shown into the enclosure, they were accosted by a white marine acting as guard and told to "sit down, and that damn quick.” Complaints to the commander of the guard failed to result in his removal. All those seated in the “Jim-crowed” section had been given tickets marked "Section S, Platform.” After several protests, they were denied seats elsewhere. They left the enclosure in disgust, a commotion observed by Dr. Moton, who received loud applause in response to his speech. President Harding’s acceptance of the memorial on behalf of the nation emphasized the fact that “the emancipation of the slaves was merely an incident in Lincoln's prosecution of the Civil War, and that if he could have avoided the war; he never would have freed the slaves.”
The Washington Herald’s article, when describing the dignitaries in attendance, also acknowledged the presence of “those who fought in the war under his banner and those who fought against it; sprightly soldiers of the present day, who have just emerged from the greatest conflict known to man; members of the race he freed.” A spirit of unity was displayed by the cheering crowd:
The quotes cited for Taft and Harding in the article, of course, centered on the theme of national unity. The Herald did acknowledge Dr. Moton’s participation in the ceremony. However, the description given of his talk failed to mention the most powerful part of this message—that concerning Lincoln’s “unfinished task” and the need for justice for all.
And for those who follow after… Near the end of his address, President Harding offered the following insight, one which envisioned the transformation to come for the Lincoln Memorial and its meaning for the country and all peoples: “This memorial, matchless tribute that it is, is less for Abraham Lincoln than for those of us today, and for those who follow after.”
As the crowds dispersed following the ceremony, the military band played “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
History marches on … and as it does, the meaning of our national symbols transform. Such has been the case of the Lincoln Memorial. That same patriotic hymn, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” played to dispersing crowds following the dedication ceremony, became a cornerstone of the iconic concert performed by Marion Anderson seventeen years later. Barred from performing at the Daughters of the American Revolution Hall because of her race, she relocated her concert to a larger venue—the steps of the Lincoln Memorial—and for a larger integrated audience. That day, the Lincoln Memorial truly became a symbol for racial justice. From that time on, the meaning of the Memorial has continued to evolve as a symbol and rallying point for patriotic and social justice causes. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech from its steps. Participants in women’s marches have rallied there. From this location, Presidents-elect often share their thoughts with the nation on the evening before their inauguration. Today the Lincoln Memorial is one of the nation’s most sacred patriotic sites—one symbolizing not only unity, but racial and social justice. There too—whether individually or collectively—we can rededicate ourselves to Lincoln’s still “unfinished work,” as we celebrate our Sixteenth President as The Great Emancipator as well as the Savior of the Nation.
Other sources for this article: The National Park Service sites offer background on the Memorial, its history, and the dedication, including the dedication day’s speakers and newspaper coverage. Boundary Stones, WETA’s local history website article “The Dedication of the Lincoln Memorial” (https://boundarystones.weta.org/2018/04/18/dedication-lincoln-memorial). “Lincoln Memorial: A Temple of Tolerance,” Harold Holzer; at HistoryNet.
Without question, our business world is in the middle of a disruptive, unpredictable time in history. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live and work in ways industry professionals predict will redefine “normal” several times before settling. It begs the question: how do we effectively lead through this period of chaos? According to Jeff Wong, Global Chief Innovation Officer at Ernest & Young (EY), the answer is to identify and empower the hidden “transformers” we already have on our teams.
Joining EY in 2015, Wong quickly built a team of forward-thinking employees he called transformers that created GigNow, a global talent marketplace that added more than 16,000 short-term and 1,300 full-time jobs around the world. Under his leadership, these transformers also built an automation center—reducing the time employees spent on repetitive, mundane tasks by 2.1 million hours its first fiscal year in operation—and created new positions and projects to repurpose and reinvest those saved hours back into the company. When asked what made his team so effective in the notoriously fast-changing and chaotic tech word, Wong was quick to respond: mindset. “When CEOs encourage an innovative mindset that embraces agility, resilience, and flexibility, they can set the stage for unprecedented results.” But, how do we, as leaders, identify our own transformers, and effectively capitalize on this forward-thinking approach? Wong has a method:
Once you have identified your hidden innovators, Wong says it’s time to empower them to help your company move forward. Put them together as a think tank; give them control over a new project; task them with creating a change-plan for an existing project; give them leadership and responsibility over a lesser-performing team. The possibilities are endless. “Empowering employees and enabling them to find deeper meaning in their work starts with building a culture of transformers,” Wong says. The business world is changing around us at a break-neck pace. Fortunately, we already have what we need to keep up.
Do you want to find the hidden transformers on your team? Do you need traction or buy-in for new business ideas? Let us share more leadership lessons from insightful leaders in an online workshop. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking real-life examples with your individual workplace issues.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
Are your teams inspired to give their best? Have you developed methods which have helped you on your leadership journey? Please share your ideas and stories below!
Life Lessons from Everett
As I move into this first holiday season without Everett, I find myself grateful for the deep imprint his life left on me and on everyone around him. From his siblings, children and grandchildren, to our work family here at Tigrett Corp., to people he encountered in our Gettysburg community, not a day goes by where someone does not share with me a story of how Everett touched someone’s life. A teacher through-and-through, Everett believed we learn best through colorful role models to emulate. What better way to honor his memory than to share some leadership lessons from his life?
Always Be Curious. Everywhere we went, Everett asked questions. He would strike up conversations with people in grocery store lines and restaurants, while taking walks around our neighborhood, and with students in leadership classes we taught over the years. While I would stand quietly, content to wait in silence for our turn at the register or a class to begin, Everett would use the time to learn more about the people around him. Many times, we would enter a restaurant, give our names to the maître d’, and Everett would ask how business was going. Instead of simply nodding at the response and pushing to get to our table, Everett would encourage the person to share, and would pepper the conversation with questions designed to coax out more of the story. Fascinating tales would roll out in front of us, and by the time dessert arrived, we had not only made a new friend, but we’d learned something we didn’t know before. Everett believed everyone has something valuable to teach, and his genuine curiosity and desire to learn more about the people he encountered opened doors to new ideas and sparked learning journeys we might not have otherwise encountered.
Listen Completely. When Everett and I would attend a cocktail reception or business function, we usually split up and tried to meet as many people as possible. I would charge around the room looking for some spark of interest but would quickly grow bored and gravitate toward the buffet, rather than conversation. When I eventually met up with Everett, I would find him surrounded by a group of people, all talking animatedly, while he stood in their center, nodding, smiling and listening. I remember asking myself how our experiences with people could be so wildly different. How did Everett put people so at ease, and inspire such openness? I watched, and found that he began by asking a question, then looking the person straight in the eye while the new friend answered. Everett didn’t fidget or look over his shoulder. He didn’t graze on hors d’ oeuvres or sip wine. He gave the speaker his entire focus, and in return, the new friend responded with enthusiasm.
People matter more. As a banker and commercial lender, Everett had always encouraged people to share their stories—their successes and difficulties, their dreams and goals—as he guided them toward financing decisions. Rather than looking simply at numbers, Everett took the time to consider and explain how each financial possibility would impact the business and the people attached to it so the business owners could make the best decision, whether or not it was the most profitable for the bank. When Everett had to turn down a loan request, he didn’t simply send the business owners on their way, but he spent a considerable amount of time talking with them—explaining, with patience and kindness, why a loan was not the best idea, and guiding them toward what they might do, instead. His people-over-profit approach made a difference, and years later, customers still returned to the bank to seek him out and thank him for helping them know it was not the right time for a loan, and for caring enough to guide them in a new direction.
Everett touched many lives. As 2021 draws to a close, and 2022 peeks over the horizon, I can see a year marked with memories and with joy over the profound and lasting ways Everett improved everyone around him. Change is hard. As I read over the words of this letter, though, I can’t help but smile. Everett is still teaching me how to be a leader. And, I am still listening.
Everett was passionate about our leadership training business, and he derived so much pleasure in seeing people “turned on” by history and inspiring role models. No words can express our sadness at his loss, or our gratitude for the years we had together. We will honor his memory by continuing the work he began, and by standing behind his belief that everyone has the capacity to be a great leader.
As a tribute to Everett and his love of education and history, we have set up a memorial fund for a section of the new history museum of the Adams County Historical Society. We plan to name the World War II section of the museum in his honor.
If you would like to honor Everett with a donation, you may contact the historical society online (www.achs-pa.org) and specify that your gift is in memory of Everett Ladd; or you may also write to the society at: Adams County Historical Society, 368 Springs Avenue, Gettysburg, PA 17325.
From all of us at Tigrett Leadership Academy – thank you for making us part of your team! We wish you the happiest holiday season and the most productive new year!
Show and Tell
Storytelling is a powerful, generative leadership tool. In a season of information overload, it has the power to cut through the noise, motivating change when other approaches have failed. But how do we, as leaders, harness its power?
History remembers Madam C. J. Walker as the first self-made woman millionaire in America. Marketing her line of homemade haircare products for Black women, Walker built a business empire, first selling door-to-door, then empowering a legion of Black “Beauty Culturalists” to sell her products. Though her rise from impoverished washerwoman to wealthy businesswoman was paved with hard work, her approach was straightforward and simple: she told her story. Here are two lessons we can learn:
Leadership storytelling can take many forms. Whether you seek to inspire your team by sharing how you overcame a particular struggle, or you need to generate trust and buy-in by sharing how a new business practice has benefitted others, harnessing the power of storytelling can help you achieve your goal.
Do you want to know what motivates and inspires your employees? Do you need buy-in for new business ideas or practices? Let us share more leadership lessons from insightful leaders in an online workshop. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking real-life examples with your individual workplace issues.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
Are your teams inspired to give their best? Have you developed methods which have helped you on your leadership journey? Please share your ideas and stories, below!
The Power of Purpose
Few leaders would argue the importance of knowing your target demographics and the psychographics that drive their decisions. But do you know this information about the people you lead?
A third-generation CEO of H&M, Karl-Johan Persson took the reins of his grandfather’s corporation in July 2009 and immediately began work on a company-wide sustainability program. By early 2010, H&M had drastically reduced its use of traditionally sourced cotton, and by 2011, debuted its “Conscious Collection,” which consisted of fashions made with 100% organic cotton and other sustainable materials. Soon after, Persson spearheaded an international program, offering customers 15% off their purchases when they brought in old clothes—from any manufacturer—to be recycled or donated to charity.
Public reaction was positive. Interestingly, employee reaction was positive, as well. Team leaders reported their sales staff’s passionately directing customers to the sustainably sourced options in the store, and often overheard cashiers prompting buyers to bring an item to recycle the next time they shopped with H&M. Persson, it seemed, had tapped into something his employees cared deeply about, and it improved their job performance. Profits soared.
In the home office, Persson was working with his leadership teams to expand H&M’s sustainability program when Rana Plaza, a garment factory in Bangledesh, collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people. Even though no H&M clothing was manufactured by the factory, Persson immediately facilitated conversations between clothing manufacturers and government officials to create greater oversight of the Bangledesh garment industry. Again, employee support was immediate and emphatic.
Deciding that true sustainability had to ensure fair treatment of all people touched by the manufacturing process, and encouraged that his employee base shared this vision, Persson worked with his leadership teams to take next steps—beginning with Cambodian factories that manufactured H&M clothes. Within months, Persson flew to Cambodia to discuss working conditions and fair wages with government officials. Through his extensive network, he helped bring labor unions and decision makers together, and the resulting negotiation produced an increase in wages 21% higher than the Cambodian garment workers had initially requested.
Employee response was explosive. U.S. job satisfaction surveys, which had hovered near the 59% typical with U.S. companies, soared to 76%. H&M’s salesforce believed in the mission of the company, and without any change to their working conditions, reported greater happiness and motivation to do their best work. There is a lot we can learn from this.
Knowing what motivates those we lead is an incredibly important part of leadership strategy. Whether we use the information to shape future projects that involve an entire department, or to make individual assignments on a case-by-case basis, understanding the target demographic for the job, and the psychographics that motivate the employee are key.
Do you want to know what motivates your employees? Do you want to help your teams approach their work with excitement? Let us share more leadership lessons from insightful leaders in an online workshop. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking real-life examples with your individual workplace issues.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
Are your teams motivated to give their best? Have you developed methods which have helped you on your leadership journey? Please share your ideas and stories, below.
Clearing the Bottleneck
Organizational speed is crucial during times of change. The ability to innovate or pivot quickly in volatile environments can often make the difference between success or failure. Many leaders, however, are unwitting bottlenecks to this potential when business process requires the majority of decisions go through them. But how do we make the switch from decision making to decision enabling? The answer, and our historical inspiration, might surprise you.
Most of the world remembers Albert Einstein as the brilliant German-born theoretical physicist known for developing the theory of relativity. In fact, his mass-energy equivalence formula, E=mc2, is considered the world’s most famous equation. What’s less known about Einstein is that, in addition to his work within the scientific community, he had a brief career as a rather unconventional college professor. Shortly after publishing several papers on relativity physics, Einstein was invited to lecture at the University of Bern in Switzerland. His reception, however, was lukewarm. “Einstein was never an inspired teacher,” biographer Walter Isaacson summarized bluntly. His first lecture was attended by only two people—both friends from his former job in the patent office—and his second lecture had to be cancelled after only one student enrolled.
Einstein, however, didn’t give up. He began offering to work with students on his own time, slowly shifting his approach from the traditional lecture format to a more informal, mentoring style of teaching. By the time he was hired to teach theoretical physics at Zurich University, nearly 6 months after his cancelled lecture at Bern, he had completely abandoned the traditional classroom structure. His new students, having experienced only polished professors and strict, nearly sterile classroom etiquette, didn’t know what to make of Einstein’s teaching style.
“When he took his chair in shabby attire with trousers too short for him, we were skeptical,” said student Hans Tanner, who attended most classes Einstein taught at Zurich. As the semester went on, however, the students grew to appreciate his more casual and accessible approach. While other professors taught finished, linear concepts, Einstein thoroughly explained his thought process—including his mistakes—so his students could understand how each of his ideas moved from germination, through development, and into final decision. He often paused to ensure every student understood not only the concepts presented, but also the process behind his decisions, and he encouraged them to interrupt his teaching whenever they didn’t—an unprecedented classroom behavior at that time.
As the university discouraged casual interaction between professors and students, Einstein began holding weekly “office hours” at the nearby Café Terrasse, where students could sit with him to discuss physics and mathematics and ask him any questions they had not voiced during class. Often he brought newly published, theoretical papers and invited his students to deconstruct the concepts with him, challenging them to find mistakes before he could. More importantly, Einstein encouraged his students to trust their knowledge, take chances, and practice making scientific decisions on their own.
While Einstein’s peers never approved of his accessible, mentor-style approach to teaching, and though his skill as a formal lecturer never improved, his students were among the most confident and high producing at Zurich University. By providing a substantial level of guidance during the early teaching phases, making himself accessible, then challenging his students to act on what they learned, he empowered a young group of scientists to make decisions on their own, rather than constantly looking to him for guidance.
There is a lot we can learn from his approach. While there will always be decisions that must pass through leadership, there are many day-to-day decisions we can delegate successfully, if only we provide the right training and support. Einstein often told his class, “The main thing is the content, not the mathematics,” as he believed they could learn more by focusing on the decision-making process than the decision, itself. As we strive to redefine “business as usual” in the wake of this global pandemic, organizational speed could not be more important. Making the leadership shift from decision making to decision enabling might just be the fuel we need.
Are you looking for ways to speed up your business process? Would you like to equip your teams to make more decisions on their own? Let us share more leadership lessons from insightful leaders in an online workshop. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking real-life examples with your individual workplace issues.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
Are your teams able to make quick decisions without oversight? Have you developed methods which have helped you on your leadership journey? Please share your ideas and stories, below.
Rules of Engagement
Studies suggest autonomy is the single greatest predictor of employee engagement within a company. But how do we, as leaders, balance our employees’ desire for freedom with our need for predictable, measured results? Lynn Jurich, CEO and co-founder of SunRun, the nation’s largest provider of residential solar energy services, knows something about this struggle. Having founded SunRun in 2007 with business school classmate Edward Fenster, Jurich made most of the managerial decisions herself. However, when SunRun doubled, then tripled in size, Jurich quickly realized she needed a method that allowed her to pass these decisions off to others without sacrificing the outcome. Today, Jurich follows a tried-and-true, four step plan we can all learn from: “Hire very good people, always hold them to a high standard, provide them a lot of context, and make sure they have what they need to succeed.”
Are you an empowering leader? Are you looking for ways to inspire your teams toward greater autonomy? Let us share more leadership lessons from empowering leaders in an online workshop. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking real-life examples with your individual workplace issues.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
Are you able to inspire your teams toward action? Have you developed methods which have helped you on your leadership journey? Please share your ideas and stories, below.
The Subtle Art of Listening
The Forgotten Art of Asking
As 2021 progresses, business leaders have a nearly unprecedented opportunity to define new normal in the workspace. Bu, disruptive leadership during a time of upheaval offers its own unique challenge: how do you lead your employees toward change during change?
After nearly 30 years in different positions within USAA, the San Antonio-based financial services giant, Wayne Peacock took control of the helm as CEO on February 1, 2020—just 19 days before a global pandemic began systematically changing our world. Yet, even amidst this uncertain, and at times frightening, backdrop, 89% of USAA’s employees reported high job satisfaction in 2020. It begs the question: how? Looking closely at Peacock’s leadership during this pivotal year, an important trend emerges: he asked two simple questions, again and again:
When employee concerns turned from preparedness to connectedness, Peacock worked with the communications team to initiate a program dubbed the “watercooler,” designed to help leaders nurture the social connections within their teams. To lead by example, Peacock began dropping into different departmental meetings, asking questions about his employees’ lives, and sharing from his personal life, as well.
As we slowly move toward a post-pandemic reality, our priorities are shifting. The “come to us” way of doing business is giving way to a “go to them” mindset, and leaders who embrace this new approach with a human focused leadership style will be the ones successfully leading their teams in this new reality. The process, however, doesn’t have to be complicated. Ask simple questions: “What do you need? What can we do better?” and truly listen to the answers. “Lead from the front,” Peacock encourages. “Together, we can take care of each other, and do it better than anyone else.”
Are you looking for ways to lead your team during this time of unprecedented change? Let us share more leadership lessons from empowering leaders in an online workshop. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking real-life examples with your individual workplace issues.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
What have you done to help your teams acclimate to this new normal? Do you have a process that’s working? Do you have questions for other leaders? Please join the conversation, below!