Meeting the Emerging Leader
Eliza was an emerging leader when she joined the organization. She was just out of school and looking for an opportunity to make a difference in his life. After the hiring process and some organizational specific training, she began her first work assignment in the network architecture section. On her first day of work, Eliza met Ty, her immediate supervisor. Ty, an enduring leader in the organization, greeted her, introduced her to her coworkers, and provided a work center tour.
After the introductions and the work center tour were complete, he had Eliza come to his office to talk about organizational work expectations and to establish an individual growth and development plan.
“Eliza, why did you join our organization?” Eliza asked. She thought that maybe this was a trick question so she took a few moments before he responded. “I joined because of the reputation of the organization and I wanted to make a difference in my life.” Eliza finally said.
Ty was pleased to hear the good reputation was the reason Eliza joined. Everyone involved in the organization worked hard to keep improving the organization to make it a great place to work. “It is good to hear that our organization has a good reputation as a place to work. However, I am more interested in what you mean by you want to make a difference in your life. What kind of difference do you want to make?”
No one asked her this question before so it caught her off guard. “To be honest I want to be a leader in the organization in order to make a difference!” Eliza stated emphatically.
Ty liked her confidence but wanted know her definition of a leader. He asked her another probing question, “Tell me in your own words your definition of what or whom is a leader?”
Eliza stopped and realized she did not have a good answer to the question. Knowing that he wanted an answer in her own words she stated what she thought about leaders. “A leader is the boss that everyone follows because the leader runs the organization. That is why I want to be a leader.”
“Eliza, a leader does not need to be a boss for people to follow them. In addition, you do not need to be a boss to make a difference in the organization. I have a different view of what a leader is and does in an organization that I would like for you to think about.” Ty said.
“The definition that I use is from the author James McGregor Burns from his book Leadership. He describes leadership and the leader in the following way: “Leadership is leaders acting – as well as caring, inspiring and persuading others to act – shared goals that represent the values – the wants and needs, the aspirations and expectations – of themselves and the people they represent. And the genius of leadership lies in the manner in which leaders care about, visualize, and act on their own and their followers’ values and motivations.”
“This is what I think a leader is and what I believe is my role as the leader of this section. I am responsible and accountable to know who I am as a leader, know my people I lead every day, and know the organization that I am part of.” Ty paused to let his words sink in.
As he looked over at Eliza, she looked a bit overwhelmed at all the information coming at her on her first day. “I have an idea that might help you to understand what I mean. Let me take you to visit another leader in the organization.” Eliza said with a smile.
Eliza answered him gradually, “Ok, that might help me get a better understanding of what I need to focus on to be a leader.” Ty picked up the phone and made a quick call. As he put the phone down, he said, “Let’s Go”.
After a walking tour of the organization that helped Eliza understand where everything was located, they ended up at the office of the leader Ty wanted Eliza to meet. Ty stared at the office name on the door — J.T Llewellyn, Chief, Training Officer.
“Why are we here?” Eliza asked Ty.
“I think you need to understand a little more about being a leader, leadership, and what the organization believes about developing leaders,” he said. Ty knocked on the door and from inside a voice said, “Come on in”.
As they entered into the office, Mr. Llewellyn met them almost immediately. “Ty, it is good to see you and I take it this is your new employee Eliza.”
“Good to meet you Mr. Llewellyn.” Eliza said as she shook his hand.
“Welcome to the organization Eliza, but please call me Jake.” he said. “Please, let’s move over to the table to begin our discussion.”
“Jake, I had an opportunity to talk to Eliza about organizational expectations and some of her goals but would like to further our discussion with you about being a leader and leadership.” Ty said as she updated Jake.
“I would be happy to talk about my favorite subject!” Jake said as he reached for his notebook and the computer monitor remote. “There are three things I feel that a leader needs to know to be successful in this organization.” Jake focused Eliza’s attention to the large screen on the wall and to what it displayed.
Eliza listened attentively as Jake went on to further describe the three leadership keys.
“A leader, understands how they operate, how they make decisions, and how to treat people, understands what takes to lead other people. A leader is one who takes care of people and takes the time to invest in their development and growth builds a successful team and creates an environment that people want to work in. And finally, a leader is one who understands that mission, vision, strategic priorities of an organization understands what it takes to get the job done to improve the organization.” Jake said as he finished his discussion.
Eliza soaked in all the information and then finally said worrisomely, “This is a lot of information to take in on the first day. I hope I can remember it all.”
Ty added to the discussion, “Eliza, part of our responsibility as leaders is to grow and develop you as an emerging leader in our organization. We will continue to mentor, coach and teach you as you progress in the organization. We build leaders here not just employees. The organization has a motto for each of its leaders, from the most junior employee to the CEO—Inspire or Retire! That is for another meeting. Jake thanks for your time.”
“No problem; that is my job. Eliza, welcome to the team.” Jake said as Eliza and Ty headed for the door.
As they walked, back to the office, Eliza felt quite overwhelmed with all the information but she also felt he made the right choice in joining the organization. She was looking forward to the next time they would all meet.
How does your organization welcome new employees? In your organization, what role does the supervisor play in the new employees first day? Is your organization making new employees feel a part of the team on their first day? How do you as a leader welcome a new employee to your workcenter?
Why is welcoming a new employee so important? A new employee decides on the first day if they made the right choice of joining an organization and first impressions count. Perception is reality to someone who sees your organization for the first time. As a leader in the organization, it is your responsibility, to the new employee and the organization, to make the person feel a part of the organizational team and a part of your team.
As the leader and supervisor, you need to set your people up for success by establishing a working relationship that is built on respect and dignity. This lets the employee know right away that you see them as part of the team. This also starts the trust relationship between the leader and the follower. As the leader, you help emerging and enduring leaders become a synergistic team by building relationships built on trust, respect, and integrity.
F(X) Leadership Insight
You are the face of the Organization to a new employee
You are responsible and accountable to your organization for the new employee’s impression of the first day
First Impressions count
Perception is Reality