Yesterday, I met an apprentice chef, 19 years of age, who shared his story about the workplace challenges he was experiencing. While I understand, I am offering you one side of the story, he shared that his boss regularly accused him of things he had not done, blamed him for things gone wrong, and on top of that, he was reprimanded for going to the bathroom. This particular individual is quietly spoken and unassuming. Acknowledging the catch twenty-two scenario he is in, the apprentice chef shared, “If I could get out of the place, I would.” Unfortunately, he can’t risk his apprenticeship. Because of that, he sat despondently for the rest of the afternoon, trying to resolve a situation that had no acceptable solution for him.
As a leadership consultant, stories like that of the apprentice chef are what I hear about more than I would like to admit. This young man’s story reminds us of the importance of providing employees with a voice to share their insights and a culture of belonging. I recognise that some great leaders understand the importance of their role and work with their staff whether they like them or not.
Leadership is not about our title, how much money we make or the visibility that comes with the position. Leadership is about walking people along the journey in a workplace, not because we have to but because we want to. To do that, we must be self-aware, be entrenched in a growth mindset, and always be committed to hearing the other person’s story without ego and judgment.
Tell us your story. What is your workplace experience?