Followers Follow the Leader

In this episode, Wendy Kane, Director of Sales Leadership Development at Ricoh Americas Corporation, discusses the rationale for investing in leadership training.

Episode Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Leadership Quick Takes from The Center for Leadership Studies. In this episode, Wendy Kane, Director of Sales Leadership Development at Rico Americas Corporation, discusses the rationale for investing in leadership training. For The Center for Leadership Studies, here’s your host, Sam Shriver.

Sam Shriver

So, bottom line, why invest in leadership training?

Wendy Kane

Impact: you lead from the head. You lead from the front. From a leadership standpoint, I think followers follow the leader. You show me a team that is complaining and down in the dumps and doesn’t understand or isn’t willing to follow a particular process or resistant to change, and I’ll show you a leader who is all of those things because followers follow the leader. And I’ll give you a great example of it. April 1 is the beginning of our fiscal year, and we’re in the middle right now of a very large reorganization, which is a fantastic move for us as an organization and very unsettling for nearly everybody in our field sales organization because change is difficult.

So we’re in the process of looking through, and everything I hear gives me more and more feeling that we’re doing the right thing, that this is exactly what we should be doing. We’re increasing focus. We’re simplifying a lot of functional areas, and we’re developing organizations that really can hone in on the key drivers for their own customer base. So, a lot of really great things that are going on. That said, not everybody likes some of the path and the direction, and of course, all of us go to exactly the same place. You hear about the change. The first thought that comes to your mind is, well, what about me? How does that affect me? What’s my impact on this? From a leadership standpoint, now I got to look at, okay, it’s not just about me.

It’s about the team that I have that are going to be looking to me for what my reaction is. The kids, when they fall down, they look at you to see, should I be hurt right now? You say, Brush it off. They get up, and they brush it off. Oh, my gosh, are you all right? Then they act like they should have an amputation done, right? I’m seeing the same thing in our field teams: the leaders that have embraced what we’re doing that find out, why are we doing this? What’s the benefit to the organization? How can I support this, and how do I drive it effectively, have teams whose heads are screwed on straight, who are not concerned or confused, who are really doing the right thing and all marching in the right direction.

The teams that have reps spinning around, or managers who are going, oh, I don’t think this is the right answer. I’m not sure why we’re doing this. This doesn’t make any sense. Well, those are the ones who have a leader who often is wondering the same things themselves. And whether you voice it or you just have that information, those thoughts in your head. As a leader, your team knows, and your team follows you. So why would I do leadership training? Because followers follow the leader. And if the leader isn’t leading in the right direction, the followers may still follow, and your organization bears the impact.

Conclusion

Thank you for listening to Leadership Quick Takes from The Center for Leadership Studies. For additional information on our services and products, please visit situational.com or call 919-335-8763. At The Center for Leadership Studies, we build leaders.