by Chip R. Bell
Dear Long-Distance Leader. If you will provide a partnership-like relationship with me, it will free you up from having to “snoopervise” me. Here are my aspirations for how we might work together in the future.
I will work harder, longer, and with greater zeal when I am convinced my work matters. I am not a human form of a capital asset; I need a purpose. My laptop does what it is programmed to do, but I have a soul and a heart that cries out for relevance. I not only need to know where I fit and what I am working to accomplish, I need to know the link between my toil and the progress of the organization for which I toil. Give me a sense of purpose; I promise I will give you superior productivity.
I need your complete trust. When I am micromanaged, I feel devalued. If I make mistakes, and I very likely will, I need your wisdom, encouragement and coaching. A scolding, guilt trip, or belittling only makes me angry. Please don’t tell me about how I am empowered; it sounds like a conditional bargain. If you do not trust me to make smart decisions because you are uncertain of my competence to do so, please train me. I promise you if I am uncaged, I will soar and make you look good.
I am not out here alone on some outpost. I need meaningful connections with the mother ship. I need opportunities, even if online, to communicate with others for ideas, suggestions, and friendship. I need a forum for my curiosity. I need you to keep me updated on changes, not just assigned my tasks and left alone. Communication is a critical part of all healthy partnerships, especially when I am “far from home.” I promise to keep you in my communications loop since I know our connection must be two-way.
My work no longer fits the conventions of the office or plant with its norms that govern work style. I can take a break when I want and even work in my pajama bottoms. My dog never barked in the background at the office. It all means I am now working in the pasture, not in the pen. With a taste of unfettered control, I have grown aware of subtle muzzles I never noticed before. My work is no longer driven by the content of my in-box, but by my allegiance to our collective goals. I promise to use my freedom with respect and responsibility. I will not go rogue on you.
Be patient with me as my inner discipline replaces external discipline. Please know that I am fully aware freedom must be exercised with accountability and fidelity to those I serve, including teammates, customers, and you. I promise to be a great team player by keeping my focus on our charge and delivering my best.
About the Author
Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several best-selling books. Global Gurus in 2020 ranked him for the sixth year in a row in the top three keynote speakers in the world on customer service. His newest book is the best-selling Inside Your Customer’s Imagination. He can be reached at www.chipbell.com.