Keep It Simple…Make It Powerful

For someone who`s not big into shopping for clothes, doing so during the holidays is … well, you can imagine.

In order to avoid the large, crazy masses, I wandered into a smaller clothing store and was greeted immediately by Mary, a woman who clearly loves her job. I was there to buy a black dress shirt, but she somehow got me excited about all these other pants, blouses and even jewelry, which I`ve never understood how to match up. Considering how hard Mary was working to help me understand fashion and find something I really liked, I thought this store must take very good care of its employees.

Mary helped me find several items I really liked, but I was running late for an event and had to leave before I could finish my shopping spree. “Mary,” I said, “You`re awesome, and I appreciate you very much. Give me your business card, and I`ll come back to see you.”

She responded, “Tell my manager that. I`m only as good as my last sale. They treat me poorly here, and I`m thinking about quitting.”

I was dumbfounded. On my way out, I found her manager and shared with her how much I appreciated Mary`s high-quality service.

“Yeah, yeah,” she said. “What are you buying?”

I held back from drop-kicking her and, instead, said, “I don`t have time right now but I`ll come back.”

“You can always return items you don`t want,” she said. Of course, Mary had already informed me of this policy, which nearly every clothing company offers!

I left there wondering if Mary`s manager has any idea just how much more Mary – who is passionate and driven despite poor leadership – would produce if she felt appreciated, and how many more sales she`d make with a shift in focus. Instead of demanding sales, powerful leaders focus on appreciating their employees and customers. Imagine how much more inspired Mary would be if her manager simply said, “You`re doing an excellent job, and I appreciate you.” And imagine how much more inspired I would be to buy from that store with a simple, “Thank you. We do attract awesome people.” I really liked the clothes, but more than that, I loved Mary`s passion for fashion – something I lack severely and a good reason to come back to this store.

Leadership is about inspiring, not about manipulating. It`s about appreciating, not forcing. It`s about guiding, not demanding. It`s that simple!