There are certain myths that leaders are faced with and it’s important to recognize them, and talk about them, and tilt your head to look at them in a different light. Myth #1: The customer comes first.
The customer does not come first. That’s right. I know, I know, this goes against everything you have been taught and trained regarding customer service. But, the fact is, the most important people to your organization – are the employees. At the very least, as leaders, you must put your employees on a level playing field with your customers. The reason is simple, if your employees are happy, then so are your customers.
Leaders don’t accomplish anything on their own. You may have great plans and ideas, but those don’t accomplish anything either. Your success as a leader is dependent on your employees. Much more so than the customers that they serve. I have seen many leaders fail because of the way they approach their teams. They act as though their employees are there to simply do what they’re told, follow policies, and have no thought or input into the work environment.
I make it a point as a leader to recruit, attract, and retain the best and brightest people I can find. Then I ensure that they understand how important they are to our vision or strategies. I include them in decision-making processes, and do my best to create an environment where they are free to create and test crazy ideas and visions of grandeur that I haven’t even dreamed of.
When we put our customers first, we in turn put our employees second, right? Think about it. We tell them that all the time. The customer comes first. Which naturally means, they must come second. We also tell employees that the customer is always right (even when we know sometimes they are wrong). In doing so, we send a powerful message that stifles creativity and ingenuity – which are two key ingredients to accomplishing great things.
Does this mean that we shouldn’t emphasize customer service and providing world-class experiences for them? No, just the opposite, we should make this a point of emphasis for our employees. They should be coached, trained and constantly reminded of how important the customer is, because they are! But our employees should be placed on that same pedestal right next to the customers they serve.
If you want high performing teams, then create environments where the best and brightest minds want to work, and in return they will create experiences that your customers will want to keep coming back to.
The most important people to you as a leader are your employees. Make sure you treat them that way.