With the ever-changing tides of business, public perception is now more important than ever and the leadership of companies seems to always have a spotlight on it. We sat down with a guest from close to home to talk about what makes good leadership and how the public view of business has shifted over recent history.
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About Our Guest:
Todd Hendricks Jr.
President - Pioneer Industrial Systems
Todd Hendricks Jr. is the current president of Pioneer Industrial Systems, a robotics and automation company based out of the Toledo, Ohio Area. The company specializes in custom design and engineering and is currently in the process of getting the patent for a revolutionary way to handle road maintenance, particularly on freeways.
The company is not just a great source for innovation and state of the art machine, though. They are also forerunners in best business practices and great leadership. That’s exactly what we brought Todd on to discuss; business leadership in today’s world.
The View of Business Leadership
What is your perception when you hear business mentioned in the news? What was it before you got into the business and started learning how truly vast and all-encompassing it is?
If you’re a sustainability advocate, whether for the planet, people, or animals, then “business,” particularly “big business,” takes on a negative connotation. As a young child in science class or any other class for that matter, you might have associated business with pictures of distant smokestacks, factories, and obscure men wearing ties and a fancy watch while carrying a briefcase.
(Sorry if you just frowned and looked down at your favorite tie and hard-earned watch. They are classic staples and something to be proud of!)
Movies also paint successful business people as being too busy, distracted, and so caught up in running their business that they lose their family in the process. Ouch.
These are stereotypes. The most successful business professionals strive for balance in everything and the achievement of that balance is what often leads to their success and happiness long term.
So, why have such negative connotations around business and business leaders continued to circulate?
The truth is that these beliefs are not entirely baseless. There have been quite a few poor examples of business leaders come to light, even recently. Negative news that stirs up controversy is what spreads, so it’s only natural that when bad things happen we all hear about it.
Ever wonder why people get so hung up on murder mysteries, hauntings, and scary movies? Psychology Today has an entire article on “Negativity Bias” and why bad news and bad emotions have a more lasting impression on our brain. No wonder people remember the bad over the good or why we pay more attention to 3 bad reviews than we do 300 good ones.
So how do you, as a business leader or potential business leader, change that?
How to Reshape Public Opinion
With all of this predisposition to holding onto the bad, how do we make people think about our businesses in a good light?
Start by looking at your leadership. As Todd said, leadership is paramount in the business world right now. Good leadership is like having good sails. Add some holes and things will begin to deteriorate from there.
Look at servant leadership. Todd believes there is no good leadership without servant leadership and we have to agree.
Good leadership isn’t a genetic trait. It can be learned and the best leaders had to start somewhere. When you step into a leadership position, it’s no longer just about you and your goals. It’s about the company, the team, and marrying the two together for the better of both.
All that you’ve learned and continued to learn should be given back to your team to help them succeed and push further, be greater than when they started. The best leaders strive to teach their team members to surpass them.
Leadership sets the pace for the rest of their team and in turn, impacts the rest of the company’s image overall.
You can’t change how the general public views all business, but you can create a positive beacon with your business and be an example for others. The more businesses that begin to get it, the more the ones doing it bad become the odd ones out.
You’ll always have those who don’t get it quite right or chose to do the wrong thing, but you don’t have to be among them. You can give your team a guiding beacon by choosing and training great leadership and then you can influence others to follow. The great thing is that you won’t be the first. There are so many wonderful examples out there that you have a plentiful amount of resources to help you.
Already have fantastic leadership? Show it! Highlight your great leaders, whether they’re informal leadership positions or not, on your website and social pages and show the world what they’re accomplishing.
Want More Tips?
If you want more in-depth tips on building great leadership, listen or watch the episode linked above! Todd does a dive into how things like communication and honesty impact how effective your leadership and we wouldn’t want you to miss it!