Bob Chapman is the CEO of the $1.7 bill manufacturing company Barry-Wehmiller, and with this book, he aspires to change the traditional yet ineffective way employees are treated in most companies. The book’s authors introduced a new leadership approach back in the ’90s, but this approach was not met with much praise since the readers’ initial reaction was a mere shock simply because it opposed all the methods employers used up until that moment.
In the capitalist society we live in, it’s not rare to see employers and managers focused on turning a profit only. Such working environments never consider their employees’ needs and contributions. However, even more frequently seen are the companies with ostensibly good leadership strategies – meaning that they only hide behind a mask of respectful treatment. Therefore, Bob Chapman tried to create a great environment for people to thrive, and in his book, he offered some straightforward steps to transform the whole workplace.
A successful company means content staff and a reliable relationship between employees. To achieve that, as simple as it sounds, employers need to treat their staff as a family – they go through everything together, value each other, care for each other’s needs, and maybe most important of all – help their team members trust them.
The new ground-breaking approach this book explores was created to significantly improve work ethics, employees’ loyalty, productivity, and overall performance. It all boils down to the idea that employees should never be treated as simple means to achieve a goal or turn a profit. Giving up on that traditional method, the authors state that a company should function as a family, where everybody matters.
An important example shows this approach in a practical manner. When the Great Recession tremendously affected the global economy and almost every workplace, layoffs and revenue cuts were as common as ever. However, Barry-Wehmiller took a different approach and tackled the issue by treating their employees empathically. The result was astonishing – the company recorded the highest employee morale than ever before.
So, how do you gain your team members’ trust? You give them enough freedom to make their own decisions to achieve the common good. People naturally love feeling appreciated, so if they wake up every morning and feel enthusiastic about going to work or feel fulfilled at the end of the day, you, as a team leader, have already accomplished the main objective. It’s marvellous what a slight shift in your employees’ attitude can do for your professional gain.
This book follows Bob Chapman through his experience in trying to find his true calling. It portrays what it’s like to apply his approach in practice – with all the challenges and trial and error processes. The book is very practical and informative. I would recommend it to a wide range of potential readers – from a seasoned employer who struggles to harmonise their team and boost creativity to a young and inexperienced manager who tries to click with their subordinates. Treating people respectfully and equally is at the bottom line of any successful relationship. When people feel appreciated, they are automatically motivated to try their best.
By BOB CHAPMAN and RAJ SISODIA, published 2015