“Why treat your teammates like customers?”: Lessons from Bob

First: sorry (again) for the long hiatus; I’ve officially completed my MBA after finishing my last semester completing four classes and experiencing my first peak season in the e-commerce industry…I survived, (i.e. I’m making a T-shirt for myself with that slogan)! I will thoroughly miss my time in the classroom and I anticipate the knowledge and mindset I gained from the program will set guide me through some incredible adventures, both professionally and personally. So excited to see what I’m going to do with all this extra free time!!

So, now onto the main event: industry and leadership discussion. This blog’s intention was to provide coaching and leadership perspective for the heavily crippled and stagnant American manufacturing industry in order for management teams to pull their company out of business suicide. I hope to continue to provide valuable insight and fresh (perhaps unorthodox) ideas for this and other industries by applying out-of-context philosophies to help solve old problems in business productivity and achieving success. In laymen’s terms: throw some random sh*t on the wall and see if it sticks.

Though that last statement is a bit slapstick, when my team (in any context) is able to overcome an obstacle by applying old solutions from completely different, yet somehow similar situations the resulting feeling is intoxicating: elated, triumphant, bad*ss, (MBA stands for more than just Masters in Business Admin, if you get my drift). Recently, I’ve seen a lot of this out-of-context application practice with my (relatively) new counterpart at work, whom we’ll call Bob. Bob is a great balance to my more direct and fiery leadership approach: he’s laid-back, hard to anger, patient, and above all listens without perceived judgment. He’s the guy everyone wants to talk to when I’ve pissed them off and he then relates the situations to me in an constructive take-away for me to learn from, so…

God bless Bob.

Bob has achieved this great persona from years in the retail industry where the main mission is to please the customer. In our current line of work, Bob sees our associates as the main customer to please so they will inevitable work more efficiently. His devotion to listening to and giving everyone the time and resources they need to grow, adapt, and become successful at work is heart-warming and inspirational. He’ll admit, it’s the harder strategy, but it’s the strategy with the longest-lasting results.

What Bob does that truly resonates with me in the context of desired leadership is that he treats everyone with equal respect; whether it’s our boss’s boss’s boss or someone we’ve had to talk to ummteenth million times about wearing their gloves while they work, he talks to them as if they’re a human being. He looks them in the eye, he only speaks after he has confirmed that he understands what the person is asking of him, and he genuinely smiles because he’s happy to help them. Merriam-Webster would describe this “belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others” as altruism; this is also a key part of servant leadership.

By having a healthy commitment to building up your team, including yourself, by starting off with a strong, altruistic foundation, you’ll be able to create a community within your business that will breed pride and respect in their work that few safety and quality programs can ever hope to match. So just give a smile once in a while 🙂

Let me know about a teammate, leader, or even associate you know that has this same altruistic quality on my Twitter page @KaitCook18, #altruism.

Picture credit: http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/the-benefits-of-altruism/


  1. Nunya Beezness · · Reply

    Thoughtful perspective on a leadership style different from your own. Often we can’t appreciate the effectiveness of behavior that contrasts from our own. Good for you to recognize and even embrace that difference and to apply it to life in general.


    1. Thanks for reading and responding, Nunya (clever pseudonym BTW)! My philosophy is that we do not have separate business and personal lives, rather the way we approach both should be similar and not mutually exclusive because of what both entails: interactions and exchanges to better the whole. Your comment is right on the money with that philosophy, so I’m glad it’s being communicated 🙂


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