I am always reminded that as a leader I am supposed to see and focus to the big picture or the vision of the organization. The one on top of leadership should not waste his time doing menial works but delegate these to his subordinates.
Rather than typing special orders and memorandum which can be done by the secretary, the CEO might as well spend time reading two-page briefing materials
on the status of each department and evaluate these with respect to the standard success indicators. Information intake is crucial in making decisions that would have wide and big repercussions.
With a systems-thinking approach, the CEO analyzes the relationships of different actors contributing to the success of the organization. Sadly there’s a tendency for him to forget the welfare of the actors themselves. He sometimes isolate himself to his office thinking and strategizing how to increase profits and keep employees, or generate income for the needed equipment of the school. There’s a danger for him to lose personal touch with his people.
Dr. Sarangani, the Executive Vice-President of the MSU System, next in rank to President, shared to me his story during his Chancellorship in Gensan while on our way to the CHED for a Board Meeting. “MSU-Gensan has a very deep spot in my heart,” he once said. In his short stay in Gensan he made friends and “enemies” alike. His critics were those who were not contented with his performance vis-a-vis the promotion of some faculty members. After about two years, he was summoned to MSU-Marawi to act as the EVP. Since then he never left that position. He will retire this coming September in his 65th birthday.
What impressed me in our conversation was his ability to connect to people at a personal level. One time, after many years he went back to Gensan to attend a Commencement Exercises as guest. Sitting with him was the then Chancellor Muslim (now the President). In a light manner, he challenged and asked the Chancellor what are the names of those security guards standing at the far back of the gym. The chancellor knew not. He then named them one by one. Even till now, he could still recall the names of the janitors and those staffs working in Cashier and Registrar Department. He even remembered their stories.
Keep your personal touch. One man will appreciate you for what you’ve done to the organization, but the other one will admire you on how you let him felt when you talked to him and attended to his need. After you leave, the organization will forget you eventually, but not your friends whom you valued during your stay.
Keeping your personal touch requires genuine intent to get to know people, their families, and their respective stories. Every person is special and every conversation is an emotional one. A busy CEO will always have time to talk with the security guard about his family, or attend birthday celebration of his secretary’s daughter.
As a leader, I realize, we are not just there to take care of the organization but above all to care genuinely of the people within. So keep in touch with your people. Start by knowing the name of your security guard.