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High Touch Leadership

In the business of managing people there are so many resources available via the interwebs to help you do just that. To manage your people without getting sued, fired or fined can be defined in some areas as success in of itself. You can find books, webinars and podcasts to tell you how to engage with your team or direct reports, and what you should or shouldn’t know about your employees, hiring, firing, evaluating, promoting and whatever else needs to happen in between. It’s all out there for you – so go get it.

In my experience, and that really comes from the many mistakes I’ve made and working for bad mangers, knowing what kind of leadership style you have can be crucial to your success as a manager, team member and frankly, as a human being.

high touch leadershipThere is a great article about High Touch Leadership by the president of Florida Atlantic University (FIU), Mark Rosenburg. The skill of listening, being engaged and motivating others, is key to the success of any organization, and the growth of FIU is clearly a result of his High Touch Leadership.

The term High Touch was coined in the early 1980s by John Naisbitt in his best-selling book “Megatrends.” Naisbitt pointed out the fallacy of automating every business transaction without human interaction at some point. There is no substitute for “the personal touch.”

Hmm, the “personal touch” – I like that. And, while I have never been that manager who was all up in my team’s biz, I do like that I knew their spouses name, their birthday and maybe a favorite vacation spot, however if I don’t know your cat’s name, don’t judge me.  Meow.

I worked for a guy years ago who only checked in with us minions in the trenches as it was required by his manager. Which meant, if goals were off, revenue was down or there was a complaint from our clients he was on the first flight down to find out what was going on?  At first, it was so petrifying to hear he was coming to town because we knew it was going to be an unpleasant visit.  But that was the ONLY time we saw him. He wasn’t there for the good news or the celebration of any success.  In fact, our performance reviews were done via conference call.  We learned to manage him and thus fewer visits and that’s how we defined success for our office. We all have a bad manager story from our working years, some of which are far worse than mine. I can say I’m a better human being first, because of that experience, and second, a solid manager.

Most of us have since left that company, now keenly aware of what we learned; you’ll be happy to hear our manager has since been promoted and leads a larger group of minions in the field. Nice.

Give your leadership style some thought. I’m certain your employees have.

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carol_mcdanielCarol McDaniel is the Senior Vice President at Kinetix – a Recruitment Process Outsourcing firm.  Carol’s background combines extensive Human Resource consulting, recruiting, marketing and advertising expertise.  With her strong understanding of the many challenges in today’s competitive labor market environment she is considered a subject matter expert in the employer marketing and branding process.  This expertise has proved to play a crucial role in the development of talent management and acquisition strategies for her clients.  Carol is a frequent speaker at HR and SHRM events, national programs and training seminars to focus on the areas of talent acquisition and talent communications. Carol also volunteers her time with the HR Florida State Council and serves on the Executive committee as the the President-Elect.  Read more from Carol here.


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