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WE The Poe of The keynote speaker for the conference was due to give his presen-

tation and one could feel the excitement in the air. After all, he is a respected industry leader and an accomplished professional who over- sees a very successful event in his city. (To protect a revered gentleman,  Arriving early and settling into my second-row center seat, I was

armed with my notebook and pen feeling sure I would be taking copi-   -

sentation, minutes into his delivery, I felt myself shrinking in my seat and the enthusiasm and the huge smile on my face began to fade. Mr.   deliver a message about successful leadership and share trade secrets that we could take home to make our events better. Unfortunately, all I could hear coming out of his mouth was the word “I.” Repeatedly, he would say I did this, I did that … you get the picture. This guy said he did all these things – not once did I hear him mention the contribu- tions of his team or say the word “we.” For a while, to squelch my in- ner anger and disbelief of his pompous performance, I made a game of counting all the “I’s” he said. Fifteen minutes into his presentation I stopped counting at 125 “I’s!” Can you really say “I” 125 times in 15 minutes when you are talking about your organization?    his speech would have been if they would have been in the audience. I was quite sure his team put in a lot of hard work and many late nights to ensure their event was a success, for their leader to take all the cred-   and that I, yes “I” would never want to work for or with a guy like him! How could this be? An esteemed industry leader that does not un-

derstand the power of “We vs. I.” His guiding leadership philosophy was not tied to servant leadership, but rather to self-serving leadership.          causing to their organizations, and how this narcissistic behavior is alienating the team and slowing destroying the organization? The unintended consequences of self-serving leaders who focus on the use of “I” instead of “we” are destructive to organizations in many ways: 1. It puts the Team Second: When given the opportunity to highlight accomplishments, it is best for the organization when the

20 Facility Manager Magazine

leader is highlighting the team “we” over the individual “I.” When there are opportunities to talk about our organizations, the conversa-   

 

which may appear as an individual achievement, it is almost certain that others had contributed to this success. Accomplishments, especial- ly organizational ones, should not be diminishing or demoralizing to those who contributed to the task. 

  

ahead by promoting him or herself over the team, others will duplicate these tactics. The net result is an increasingly self-centered organiza- tion with decreasing teamwork. As a matter of survival, teams will work in silos resulting in decreased communications and the reduction of organizational innovation because everyone is fearful their ideas will be swooped up and “management” will take all of the credit. 

most likely to lack motivation. In fact, most employee exit surveys tell  -  Leaving the conference disappointed and somewhat upset by this

experience, I was more motivated and determined to ensuring that my conversational default is set on “we” not “I” when given an opportuni- ty to talk about my organization. Let’s face it, we all live with the reality of boards of directors, share-

holders and stakeholders, and bosses who hold us accountable for prof- it and productivity, while pretending to pay equal homage to things such as employee and customer satisfaction, as measures of success. It  and lose sight of our real role as leaders. Frustration can easily lead to thoughts such as, “I will just do it myself ” or “If I want something done right, I will have to do it myself.” These are copouts and the old, outdated habits of “I”-centered leadership. Robert Greenleaf, the father of servant leadership, described ser-

vant leaders as: “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. The   people develop and perform.”

 

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