Note: I recently found this piece in an old journal. I am uncertain of its source or original intention, but felt it could be dedicated to a multitude of different circumstances in our world nowadays.
I pen this letter because your current demeanor nearly guarantees my less than significant participation in your long-term goals. Your stewardship brings me to a place where I no longer feel highly motivated to "…do whatever it takes." It disturbs me that I have allowed you to make me feel like this. As a youth I was instilled with the idealism that one should always perform at their very best.
Your behavior seems to reflect an overall distain for your underlings in general, an opinion you have ostensibly held for quite some time. Most assuredly this is not something particularly new, but my colleagues and I find your attitude of late most distressing. We try to be mindful of the considerable amount of pressure you may be under with the demands of your position, and recent economic changes. We share your pain over these unsettling times. We fail to see, however, why your lack of leadership skills should be a reason for any of us to deem your actions as acceptable.
I am no longer a young man, but I am not yet an old man. I studied under some of the best people in my field. I successfully led other people through similar economic uncertainty. As so many Americans are fans of the game, let me attribute my successes to the following football analogy:
- I acknowledged that there is no "I" in team, that "We" means every one of us, and that my success was based solely on our performance as an integrated unit.
- I surrounded myself with extremely capable people who understood and embraced my responsibilities as the quarterback.
- I allowed, and expected, my team to perform to the best of their individual talents.
- I allowed, and expected, my team to use their own discretion in completion of the task at hand.
- I accepted my team's input into furtherance of advancing the ball.
- I applauded their efforts when we succeeded, in public.
- I encouraged their efforts when we failed, in public.
- I discussed their individual shortcomings, in private.
- I abundantly rewarded my team when we won a game, and sometimes even if we had not.
- I made note to the front office of additional talent exhibited by team members.
In closing, let me address several maxims that seemingly float freely from the mouths of people charged with the motivation of other individuals during tough times:
- We are all in this together
- We can do more with less right now
- We need to tighten our belts
- It is always darkest before the dawn
I can tell you from first-hand experience that any one of these can be a great motivator coming from the right person. People can and will exhibit outstanding levels of performance during the most difficult of times, providing their leaders show the same willingness to do what is necessary. I am reminded of a movie I once saw called "We Were Soldiers." It profiled the Viet Nam exploits of Lt. Col. Hal Moore. After viewing the movie I could not help but feel that if I were there I would have marched into Hell if the man wanted me to.
That is the kind of leadership I want. That is the kind of leadership I need.
I patiently await your reply.