Leaders Like Bus Drivers

July 7, 2010

I have to take EDSA every day of my life. Crowded most of the time as vehicles travel at the lightning speed of 30 kilometers per hour perhaps many times slower. And when traffic is light, I watch out for those dangerous, reckless and negligent bus drivers who race each other to get to their stops.

Now this got me thinking.

Bus drivers have a vision. They set their goals and have it within their sights. They seem to run over anyone and anything just to reach their goal and in the process could even destroy lives in the process.

Do you know that many leaders in business organizations lead like bus drivers? They have their set goals. In fact they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. All the works that make consultants like me proud. But here is the problem. They run over everyone, including their own employees, crash through their closest and most loyal people in order to achieve their goals. Their slogan in life is: “The end justifies the mean-ness!” Some do this consciously. These are Machiavellian monsters adorned with the charm and grace of a serial killer doing their thing while others are even clueless that they are doing it. Are they successful? Perhaps but their success is not sustainable. What it takes is an inspiring leader who knows he cannot succeed alone. A humble servant-leader whose mission in job is not just to achieve goals but to make his people become better through the process.

No one creates success alone. To win in business, you must win with people. Running over people will only get you so far. To create true and lasting success you must nurture and invest in your people. Here are three essential ways to do this.

Great leaders know they deal with people and people have feelings. Machines do not. The more you are connected with your people the more you learn about them and the more you know them. In my two-day leadership workshop seminar I offer an assessment tool. And 90% of the time the participants are stunned to realize that they have been working with the same people for years yet they do not know them that well.

People hate the feeling of being used. Work in itself is extremely challenging but bearable if you and I are working for a leader we trust simply because we know he or she cares. Work becomes unbearable the moment we know that our leaders behave like jerks using us to accomplish his or her goals only to dispose us like a used piece of tissue. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said it all too well: People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. People are more engaged at work and will work at their highest potential when their leader cares about them.

Great leaders guide their people, work with their people and bear the burdens with them. When things go wrong great leaders carry the blame, owns the problem and accept responsibility. This carries tremendous impact on the people as they are inspired to carry their leaders through as well. Leaders who grab the credit from their people’s labor and blame their own people for mess up jobs are jerks and they are the main reason why good people leave organizations.

Very high on the list of reasons why good people leave is the fact that people feel they are not appreciated. Many leaders do not realize that something as simple as a personally written “thank you” note creates a strong and lasting impact on the recipient’s life.

Leadership is not just about what you do. It’s all about inspiring your people to be at their best, bringing out their best and giving their best and everyone in the organization benefits from it.

Leadership is not just about rules. Author Andy Stanley said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” Rebellion does not necessary mean picket lines and work stoppage; disengagement from their work actually costs more.

Don’t drive your people like those jerks who drive their buses recklessly along EDSA and many of our highways. Inspire them, engage them and invite them on the bus with you and allow everyone to experience an amazing ride.

You know very well… “Do unto others… as if you were the others.”

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Dan

    Truly inspiring! 🙂

  2. lei

    hello francis, i suppose many leaders of organizations already know this, but its sad that they still continue being “reckless drivers.” These are the same reasons why I “retired” from work at 31, working for leaders who are “jerks.” I hope that they will be able to read your posts and be transformed. Thanks..

  3. Lissa

    Eye opener. Straight forward. Marami pong salamat 🙂

  4. sammy ross

    MR FRANCIS VERY GOOD ARTICLE. IN MY ORGANIZATION OUR LEADERS HATE THEIR SUBORDINATEs when they excel they dont regcognize US this is why most of my co-emloyees leave the organization they do not give due regognition they dont inspire us its very frustrationg somtimes if you work hard and excel they dont appreciate you and dont pay much . they tell you just do your job. You know mr Francis. if you do it for the LORD you do your very best. GOD BLESS YOU..

  5. Arnel

    My boss might get mad at me if he sees this. Lol! He’s been training me to become a strict and firm manager just like him. However, there are some aspects to the strictness that he wants that I don’t agree with.

    I was a teacher and will always be a teacher at heart and I try to bring out the best in my team by continuously motivating and encouraging them to do better. I praise them for a good job in public and talk to them about their mistakes in private. They’re people and humiliating them in front of others will never be a good thing.

    I am blessed to have a great team behind me and they have been giving the company good results.

    We should always recognize the efforts given by our people.

    Sir Francis, thank you very much for another great blog. Reading your blogs make me realize that I don’t have to be a jerk of a boss to be able to produce results for my company(even if my boss wants me to be like that). Lol!

  6. Jojo Echeverre

    Sorry no website yet. Anyway, being a Bus driver is not bad. Its a novel profession. But, to neglect the safety of their passenger and others on the road just to “EARN” much is not acceptable. Leaders in Private and Public sector have the same in common, to Profit in expense of others. I don’t loose HOPE. We can still CHANGE. There’s a BRIGHTER TOMORROW. Thank your FRANCIS for INSPIRING US. Continue your MISSION.

  7. Shiela

    Hi Francis, this is true. I’ll be sharing this to my friends and colleagues in facebook. This will very helpful especially for the new leaders in our company. I’m inspired because of this. Thank you very much for this. God Bless you.

  8. joel

    sir just want to ask why there are leaders that are jerks and yet they succeeed. why?

  9. david

    one good thing about these leaders though: they know that they are jerks to begin with.

    however, they are too obstinate, too proud to admit and too old to change their ways even it they are perpetually faced with the reality that their people skills are killing the organization and compromising their relationship with the client.

    these leaders also subscribe to what you stated on your article on The Philippine Star entitled Ignoring the Obvious – the opposite of what you said, that is:

    * they lack Objectivity, are conceited and ignores the reality
    * they believe that for an institution, change doesn’t begin with the leader, people should change, achieve the targets that were pulled out of thin air and achieve these no matter what.
    * they don’t believe in continuous training and education to empower their people. everything to them should be baptism by fire. and they are still expecting great results from that.

    this hits right to the guts of the supposed “leaders” of our organizations. but the sad fact is, they just raise their eyebrows, make snide remarks & don’t care because they are indispensable (through connections / politics).

  10. share anthony co

    very nice blog sir thanks

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