Psst – You Want to Know a Secret?

Secret Story

Anybody looking? Can anyone hear us? Good, then let me tell you a secret. Here it is . . . There Are No Secrets!

That’s right. There are NO secrets to good leadership. There have been thousands of books written on “the secret”.

But if it were such a secret, wouldn’t you think that there would be only maybe one or two books?

Google This

Do a little experiment with me. Open up your Google Search (or other search engine) and type in, ‘secrets to leadership book’ . . . don’t forget to come back to this article.  At the time I wrote this I came up with 17,900,000 results. That doesn’t seem like much of a secret to me.

Since there aren’t any secrets, how do know you’re doing it right? There are two words that you need to keep in mind at all times – Common and Sense.  There’s nothing mysterious about it and it’s nothing that you need to “study” for years – it’s not rocket science. In fact, the best leaders are those who have had practical, hands-on experiences.

In Roger Fulton’s book, Common Sense Leadership, he includes the following selections:

  • Leaders know and understand their people. They treat them with dignity and respect.
  • Leaders recognize good work as quickly as they recognize poor work.
  • The best leaders become cooler when the heat is turned up. Crisis is the true test of a person’s leadership ability.

The employer generally gets the employees he deserves. ~Sir Walter Gilbey

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated. ~William James

Sound Familiar?

Don’t some of things sound familiar? Maybe not word for word, but the concepts are there:

  • Treat everyone as me
  • Attention to detail
  • Focus on strengths, not weaknesses
  • Recognize employee’s

In Straight A Leadership: Alignment, Action, Accountability, by Quint Studer, he provides us with five common sense practices that give you striking results.

  1. Get rid of low performers“Too many of us give low performers a pass.  The low performer is an anchor holding everyone else back.”
  2. Accentuate the positive – Just sit and listen sometime and you’ll hear people griping about their workloads, difficult clients, and annoying co-workers.  Studer says to “hone the fine art of managing up.” People don’t realize how damaging that constant talk can be to the organization, their co-workers, and themselves.  Help employees understand what can happen when this negativity is allowed to continue.
  3. Make a real connection with employees – every day – Just like a doctor makes “rounds”, “’rounding’ helps you communicate openly with your employees, allowing you to regularly find out what is going well and what isn’t going well for them at the company.”
  4. Say thanks – WOW . . . what a concept.  Send written notes to employee’s who do an excellent job.  “Thank-you notes don’t just happen,” Studer says.  “If they aren’t hardwired into an organization, they don’t get written. And a thank-you note is just too powerful a tool not to use. People love receiving thank-you notes. They cherish them.”
  5. Don’t just recruit employees, re-recruit them – 25 percent of employees who leave positions do so in the first 90 days of employment.  Studers’ research showed that if you schedule two one-on-one meetings, the first at 30 days and the second at 90 days, “new employee turnover is reduced by 66 percent”.

Using Common Sense

With common sense, remember that everyone matters. If you believe someone DOESN’T matter, think about this for a second – would you be hiring for that position if it WEREN’T needed? . . . of course not.  You’re not going to pay someone just to fill a chair.


Never underestimate the emotional impact you have as a leader. Take an interest in your employee’s and treat them the way you’d want to be treated.  They’re needed for your success and the success of your organization.

“ARE” You Experienced?

Take a cue from Disney – provide AREAppreciation, Recognition, Encouragement. As Lee Cockerell, former Executive VP of Operations at Walt Disney World has said – “everyone needs ARE-and not just when times are hard.” By providing ARE, Lee says the message is simple and profound: “You matter, and I know it.  We couldn’t do it without you.”

The way you think about and treat your employees is your key to successful leadership. Summed up you can call it what? Common – Sense.

Do you provide ARE?  What types of simple “thank you’s” can you come up with?  Do you have a connection with your employee’s? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
EmailLinkedInFacebookTwitterBlog | (727) 568-5433

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L2L Contributing Author

1 Comment

  1. marsh buice on April 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Andy, nice article. I work in the automotive industry which is def a sink or swim mentality. When we broke a used car record i handwrote thank you notes and gave them a 25$ gift card for each of the 20 guys. It wasnt much monetarily but it meant the world to them that they were a part of the success.