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Leadership Lessons from Robert California

For fans of The Office, you already know. But for those who don’t watch this show, for whatever reason, Robert California is the new CEO of Sabre’, and works half the time out of the Scranton Branch.

With the recent premiere, and our first episode with the new boss, he had a great leadership principle that played itself out in the episode.

Essentially, a list was found that he had made that had about half the employees on one side and the other half on the other. At the end of the episode it was discovered that these were who he thought were winners and losers, and he let them know who the Losers were and who the Winners were.

It concluded with Robert California challenging them: “Losers, prove me wrong. Winners, prove me right.”

I love it. Because ultimately, he understands what his people need to hear, and this is a great Leadership principle.

Anyone in a leadership position can think of someone they lead who is not doing a good enough job. The value of a great Leader is to know what this person needs to hear.

Some people, no matter how great of a job they are doing, need to hear that they are under performing, because that will spark a fire beneath them to improve and be better. Sometimes, these very people can be told they are doing a great job and lose the fire to keep working hard and harder. So though they are doing alright, what they need to hear is “You can do better.”

The inverse is that some people, no matter how poorly they are doing, need to hear that they are doing a great job. Because hearing they are doing a great job, because that is what will motivate them to do better. At the same time, telling them flat out that they are doing a poor job could very likely lead them to give up and not ever try and improve, to establish the mindset “I’m not doing good, and I can never do good.”

Unfortunately, it can be easy for some to read this, agree with it, and then go tell someone doing a great job that they are a “loser.” But the point of this principle is not that you always tell people one of these things or the other. The point is that you, as a leader, know those you lead well enough to know what they need to hear.

For me, in youth ministry, it applies to a few things. I can think of a few of my adult leaders that can be doing better, but if I told them they need to do better, they would take it in the way of being discouraged. But there are others that need to improve that if I said they are doing great, they would grow content with where they are. Because I need to know what each one of them needs to hear, and say what THEY need to hear. It’s not a one size fits all approach.

Even further, I can think of ways this applies to students I teach in their spiritual lives. I think it’s a natural transition with this principle from the adult volunteers to students. Maybe you see it, maybe you don’t.

So what do you think? Can you see the value in today’s Leadership Principle from Robert California?

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Leadership Lessons from Robert Califo...

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