June 9, 2017

Bob Chapman, chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller and author of Everybody Matters, says that if we’re going create positive change in this world we need to move from me-centric management to we-centric leadership.

Chapman spoke to a room full of CEOs and coaches at the recent Gazelles International ScaleUp conference I attended in San Antonio, TX. According to Chapman, seven out of eight people are disengaged in their jobs, and spillover into personal lives leads to unhappy and high-stress people, marriages and families. He also reminded us of the Mayo Clinic report that states “a supervisor is more important to a worker’s health than their primary care physician.”

When we stop just managing and start really leading, we give people the chance to go home each night and have a more meaningful life.

Management measures by money, power and position; leadership measures by engagement and growth. Chapman explains that leaders must add value for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. A people-centric culture converts managers into leaders who cultivate meaning and purpose in their teams. Good leaders understand “the great joy and grave responsibility” they have to find and develop value in each employee.

Managers talk whereas leaders listen. One of the key changes Chapman implemented at Barry-Wehmiller was communication training in their leadership development. His employees have described this training as life-changing, not because they learned more about how to talk, but rather they learned how to listen. When we listen, we validate the other person’s worth. Good leaders are good listeners.

Management is “the manipulation of others for your success,” but leadership “is the stewardship of the people’s lives who are entrusted to you every day,” says Chapman. He encourages leaders to create an environment where people can discover, develop, share and be recognized for their gifts. Celebrate the goodness in people so they can go home each night knowing they matter.

Chapman notes that humans have a powerful need to feel like we matter, and that we have purpose and value in our lives. Ultimately, he says, it boils down to a single premise. As humans, we all want to prove to our mothers that we turned out ok.