In the spring of 1984, without prior experience, I was hired for my first management position by the absentee owner of a retail business. For two weeks, another candidate with five years of managerial experience and myself conducted business under the owner’s watchful eye.
Questions: Why was I hired without prior experience? Why wasn’t the candidate with more experience and a successful run in his previous employ?
Answer: Sy (the owner), in response to my question “why,” stated; that “after two weeks of watching and conversing with both of you, I saw that I can trust you.”
Stephen Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
It’s More Than Business
I’m sure the term “core values” isn’t unfamiliar to you; it is a foundational component to longevity at home or the workplace. Just as the lifestyles of family members reveal the family’s core values, so do employees reveal the core values of the organization that employs them.
Your character defines you and reveals your core values which drive your behavior. Your values are what you believe in; you and I are only as trustworthy as our morals allow us to be. If our morals are questionable, so is our character.
The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” holds some truth. Unless we open the book and read it, we’ll never know what it’s about, so with people you trust; you’ll buy into them. When you trust an author, you’ll be inclined to buy their books.
The Back Story
Sy understood character and its impact on business. Experience, some observation, and intentionally asking questions guided his decision. He confided in me sometime later how his former manager had been stealing from him (never a good thing, especially for an absentee owner.
Sy lived and worked in Real Estate in Pennsylvania; the store was in New York. He taught me everything he knew and visited the store once a week. The outcome of my few years of experience in that business was a thirty-year relationship with Sy and his family. It all began with character.
Management expert Peter Drucker correctly stated, “There is one qualification the manager cannot acquire but must bring to the task. It is not genius; it is character. By themselves, character and integrity do not accomplish anything. But their absence faults everything else…
Delegate power equitably – know how to delegate responsibility, empower your team, and awaken their own sense of responsibility.
Encourage Collaboration – Urge employees to work together by sharing ideas, tips, and guidance.
Increase Efficiency – To ensure you’re continuing to prioritize productivity.
Boost Innovation – Create an innovative atmosphere and lead by example, showing your employees that mistakes are not shortcomings.” (1)
In Conclusion, Sy taught me that in management, good character is priority-one. I was enabled to turn the business around and make it profitable again. Though they were worded differently, the above principles closely resemble some of what Sy taught me.
It would be another fifteen years before Peter Drucker released “Manage Yourself,” I read it and highly recommend it. Character is King!
(1) Manage Yourself by Peter Drucker
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