Managing people requires that we take into consideration their differences. Some of those you lead will need lots of direction, while others would prefer you leave them alone. Some will want more monetary rewards, while others prefer recognition or challenging assignments.
Customers are much the same way. Providing generic customer service will get you generic customer satisfaction. Paying attention to the differences in people pays off. Here is a great story I found recently that you might want to share. It illustrates very well the importance of understanding the needs of those you lead and adapting accordingly.
Telling frequent stories as a leader can have a powerful affect on others. Click on the following post to understand why: "Why should leaders tell stories?"
The Preacher and the Farmer
An old hill farming crofter trudges several miles through freezing snow to his local and very remote chapel for Sunday service. No-one else is there, aside from the clergyman.
"I'm not sure it's worth proceeding with the service – might we do better to go back to our warm homes and a hot drink?.." asks the clergyman, inviting a mutually helpful reaction from his audience of one.
"Well, I'm just a simple farmer," says the old crofter, "But when I go to feed my herd, and if only one beast turns up, I sure don't leave it hungry."
So the clergyman, feeling somewhat ashamed, delivers his service – all the bells and whistles, hymns and readings, lasting a good couple of hours – finishing proudly with the fresh observation that no matter how small the need, our duty remains. And he thanks the old farmer for the lesson he has learned.
"Was that okay?" asks the clergyman, as the two set off home.
"Well I'm just a simple farmer," says the old crofter, "But when I go to feed my herd, and if only one beast turns up, I sure don't force it to eat what I brought for the whole herd…"
From which we see the extra lesson, that while our duty remains regardless of the level of need, we have the additional responsibility to ensure that we adapt our delivery (of whatever is our stock in trade) according to the requirements of our audience.
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