[March 7, 2019] Respected leaders are those who are seen as fair and willing to share the hardships of others. Eat with your teammates is good, practical advice for all leaders who want to be judged as authentic, respected leaders.
We’ve all seen it happen. A retail company undergoes downsizing, or a family experiences a death, or a neighborhood is damaged by some natural disaster. When the going gets tough, people must rely on others to achieve something important. When there is a strong social connection, this becomes easy.
During World War II, U.S. Army General Omar Bradley was said to be “The Soldier’s General.”1 He was modest, industrious, above reproach, and a skilled tactician. The bond General Bradley had with “his” men was well-known and, according to his autobiography, was the main reason for his achievements as a military officer.
If a group or team is under stress and there is a weak bond, there are risks of failure that tend to creep into the team’s capabilities. Like the old saying about Mr. Murphy; “If anything can go wrong, it will.” There is a Murphy’s Law corollary that says that this will also happen at the most inopportune time.
Senior leaders are subject these rules as any person. You don’t often need to go far to see them put this good habit into their schedule. They not eat with all their teammates, but they do those things that bring themselves into frequent contact with them. What this means is to share their hardships, their defeats, and their victories as well.2
Being a great leader means eating with your teammates.