December 6, 2004

Excerpts: Herb's Hints - Part III

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 2:08 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

1: Surround Yourself with People Who Challenge You
The last thing a leader needs is someone who always says yes to his or her ideas. Encourage people to challenge you openly, in public, and any way they want to; but if you have to challenge one of your employees, do the opposite. Do it in private so you dont embarrass them or dissuade others from challenging you. The worst kind of a leader is one who dresses someone down in front of everyone to set an example for all to see. Thats just bad form, and its not good management style, for a CEO or any executive.
At Dial weve got a section on our employee survey titled Fear and Retribution, where people answer questions about whether or not they feel empowered to contribute and grow in the organization without fear of being criticized. The answers are important, because its just another way we can make sure our environment remains transparent. We want to measure how employees feelabout how open their environment is, and we want to encourage innovation without people having to worry about criticism. But its not as easy as it sounds. You wont see much creativity unless you search out employees who anticipate and think differently than you do. If all you hire are people who are just like you, you wont get much in the way of ideas that are different from, or better than, your own.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.