A famous poem, “Desiderata,” which was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann, offers wonderful parallels for leadership and relationships in business.
Three lines from Desiderata:
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others…
Exercise caution in your business affairs…
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings…
I first heard it in 1971 when it was No. 8 on Billboard. Well-known broadcaster Les Crane, who was a talk-show host on KLAC Radio in Los Angeles, recorded it.
It was the “Best Spoken Grammy” that year.
As a young broadcaster, I was intrigued for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, I was fascinated by the spiritual approach by Mr. Crane, who was famous for his controversial shtick on radio and TV. He was provocative and entertaining.
Secondly, the previous year I was deeply touched by the thoughtfulness of his boss, David Croninger, the president of Metromedia Radio. Metromedia was a huge media conglomerate.
Along with NBC’s legendary news anchor, Chet Huntley, Mr. Croninger was a speaker at my college graduation, the University of Tulsa.
Inspiring career advice
Both were accessible to students afterward – a true blessing as we were graduating in the most turbulent of times. The nation was mired in a recession with unemployment approaching 9 percent and the Vietnam War was tearing the country apart.
Amid this, my peers and I were apprehensive but anxious to launch our careers.
Accompanied by an NBC PR person, Mr. Huntley graciously gave me excellent advice regarding my broadcasting career. As a DJ, I had worked my way through college on radio stations, but I was still a porous sponge in wanting career counsel before returning to my home state of California. He explained to me how to make a transition from being a DJ to radio news to TV news.
Mr. Croninger, who as Mr. Crane’s boss, gave me a shot of confidence. I’ll never forget his timely compliment: “You are impeccably dressed.”
Yes, I was self-conscious that day while wearing a striped tie with a navy blazer and gray slacks. So their feedback was heady stuff for me as an impressionable young college grad. I thought it was a professional appearance for broadcasting, but I wasn’t sure.
It gave me a shot of confidence to know my instincts were right, so I appreciated his comment as I was about to call on Los Angeles radio and TV stations for employment. I also enjoyed hearing his comments regarding Mr. Crane, as his employer.
That was heady stuff as both broadcasters were inspirational for my career. My fervent desire was to be hired by motivating leaders like Messrs. Croninger and Huntley.
So the memory of Mr. Crane’s rendition of Desiderata along with the gracious sharing of wisdom by Messrs Huntley and Crane prompt me to ask this question about your leadership values: Do you have a heart as an employer?
To see if your business has a heart, ponder these 12 questions:
- Do you set a good example?
- How often do you use the phrases – please and thank you?
- Do you compensate your employees adequately and fairly?
- Are you kind and precise in giving criticism and direction?
- Do you hire and fire fairly?
- Do you train employees on an ongoing basis for personal and career development?
- Do you maintain a safe, fun working environment?
- How about job security?
- Do you communicate regularly with employees about the company?
- Do you listen to criticism?
- Do you solicit ideas?
- How do you motivate your staff?
From the Coach’s Corner, here are employer resource links:
Human Resources – Power Your Brand with Employee Empowerment — Are you investing in marketing, but not getting the anticipated return on your investment? If you’re disappointed by your ROI, remember marketing may or may not be the problem. Why? Consider there are two basic reasons for poor profits — again, that’s profits not revenue.
18 Leadership Strategies for Employee Respect — Eighteen strategies to profit from good labor relations, and to leverage the perspective of employees – your company’s human capital.
Listening Skills to Improve Your Relationships and Business Performance — What counts in communication? Listening skills for discernment and trust. Discerning people are the most successful and listening skills are important for discernment. So if you’re in management but don’t listen, you’re not discerning in human resources and not viewed as trustworthy. As a result, you’ll harm employees’ morale and risk losing them.
As Trustworthy Leaders, Great Bosses Have 5 Traits — Trust, or lack of it, is an obstacle to leadership. It’s a mega issue in America. It’s reached crisis proportions. Published polls show Americans distrust their political leaders, journalists and CEOs. So it’s obvious there are countless missed opportunities in politics, the news media and business. A Stanford professor provides solutions.
HR Management: 3 Values to Deliver Top Customer Service — The three values needed to achieve top customer service are easy-to-understand but arduous to achieve. But if your human resources program adopts and implements these values, you’ll achieve enviable organizational effectiveness – a high performance culture – for strong revenue. One key indicator is whether your employees are proud of your organization.
“The worst mistake a boss can make is not to say ‘well done’.”