Coach Vermeil’s Secret to Leadership

Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing Coach Dick Vermeil (nominated just two days ago to the Pro Football Hall of Fame) speak on leadership at a wonderful NHS Foundation event in Philadelphia.  I want to share one of his great observations.   It could be be the key to meaningful employee development at your organization:

People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.

— Coach Dick Vermeil

If you train employees, ask yourself: Do the development programs created for your employees reflect only what you want from them, or do they reflect what you want for them — a sense of excitement, fulfillment, mastery, even joy in their work?  Do they show you have been carefully listening to their concerns and frustrations, including the things they don’t want to say on the record?  Do they allow the most effective members of your team to open up and share both their triumphs and their screw-ups with the newest members?  Do they leave no doubt in employees’ minds that their leaders care about them?

Story-telling can be a powerful tool to accomplish this.  It promotes listening, sharing of experiences, group problem-solving — all essential to an atmosphere of caring.

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