Unconditional Leadership: How Well do you Lead?

m_King chess pawnGuest post by Tal Shnall.

As a leader or a manager, do you sometimes find yourself having a strong opinion about someone you personally supervise? Do you have an employee on your team who is underperforming and also, the relationship between you and that employee has not been very effective?

Susie’s promotion

I work as the Guest Services Manager and Trainer at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson, Texas. Several months ago, Susie was promoted to become the hotel overnight manager. She was a superstar on the graveyard shift at a very busy hotel. She was part of a team that was not very stable at times, and she maintained resiliency throughout a year of on-going challenges with the team she was on.

Susie always performed well in her role as the hotel night auditor and the guest relations representative. We could always rely on her ability to effectively manage her tasks on a nightly basis with taking care of late night guests arriving at the hotel.

Leaders are made in crisis. Challenges test us. Click To Tweet

m_maxresdefaultAs she got promoted a few months ago, we gave her the opportunity to lead two people on her shift. As a hotel management team, we felt it was time for her to get into a leadership role and open a new door to her experience by coaching and inspiring two people that needed mentoring.

Susie’s challenge

Over the last few weeks, Susie was very unhappy about James, one of the night auditors working on her team. Every evening as we conduct our briefing, I noticed she was very adamant about James’s poor performance. Susie complained and complained and criticized him to m_computer teacherthe point of saying she can’t work with him moving forward.

I took the time recently to speak with Susie on shifting her perspective. The situation she is encountering with James is a perfect leadership opportunity for her to shine. Leaders are made in crisis. Challenges test us.

The question is always: how are we viewing the situation at hand that can help the person we are leading? If all leaders and managers had successful teams, they would have never been leaders.

When you become a leader, success is about others. Click To Tweet

The situation Susie is facing reminds me of the quote about leadership by Jack Welch, the former GE Executive: “Before you become a leader, success is all about yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about others.”


How well do you lead?

The success of each person on the team is a reflection of how well we lead the team to victory. We all know that not everyone is performing on the same level as the next person, but as leaders, we need to keep in mind the importance of our relationships with our employees. I call this unconditional leadership. As a leader, just like a parent, you try to avoid having strong assumptions about the people you care about. When you are truly caring and leading, you are not complaining or criticizing, but you are thinking of ways to help and care for the person you lead.

Susie needed to reflect on the team and on James particularly. She felt tested, but it was more of an opportunity to roll up the leadership sleeves. Susie took the time to prepare a training and coaching checklist to review areas of where James needed to become more effective.

Great leaders try to understand people and help them succeed. Click To Tweet

m_lion pawnThat’s what great leaders do. They try to understand people and work to help them succeed. I am not suggesting that poor performance should be handled without accountability and counseling, but also to do whatever it takes to become a coach and a mentor when times are challenging.

Become a positive influence

What’s the reward? You are becoming a person of positive influence in your organization even when you don’t have the best players on the team. Inspire up and lead unconditionally.

m_beach runIn my personal example, years ago when I became a manager for the first time, I inherited a mediocre team. I had to leave my biases and opinions out the door and look at each person as an A-player even when they were not. I needed to change my perspective to accentuate the positive of each person on my team by building on what they had instead of what they didn’t have. And… that lifted the team!

Tal Shnall is a Guest Services Manager and Trainer at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson, Texas. His background consists of customer service operations in the hotel industry for almost 15 years and working for companies like Marriott, Hilton, and Starwood hotels. Tal is passionate about leadership development and making a positive difference in the lives of others. Connect with Tal on Twitter @tshnall and his leadership/teamwork blog leadershipcafe.org He is also the producer and host on Lead with Giants TV.

Please help me spread positivity by tweeting, liking, and commenting!

Marcella Bremer is an author and culture & change consultant. She co-founded this blog and ocai-online.com.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Renata Lopes

    Great post!
    I agree with everything that you have stated above. but there’s a question that I would like to ask? would you believe that you perform better as a leader when you have adapted to a specific leadership type that you feel more comfortable with and you perform better when using that leadership style. There are several leadership styles that individuals can adapt to/ born with however there are pros and cons when using them therefore if you don’t adapt to a style that matches you how will you know if you are leading well?!
    Additionally, Leadership style is very important and sometimes this is what is missing in order for your company to be successful so, therefore, choosing the best leadership style is beneficial both ways!

    1. Marcella Bremer

      I think you have to balance between your natural strengths and style as a leader, and what is needed in the situation. You’re at your best when you are authentic, but it’s beneficial to add to your repertory of leadership skills and approaches. Practice them and learn until these styles feel more natural. A situational leader can adjust to the situation: what do employees need, what is needed for the organization to reach its goals?

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