When ID Plans CEO Jeff Landry announced the prizes for the company’s new wellness program, there was one reward he was particularly excited about.
Each month, he would personally deliver a trophy to the winning employee and take them out to eat at the restaurant of their choice.
That may not sound like much, but with team members across the country, there was a good chance that the person who won might not be local to the company’s headquarters in Tampa. But that didn’t matter to Landry – he was committed to his plan and ready to make good on his promise, no matter where it might take him.
And where it took him first was Columbus, Ohio.
Judy Congrove, Project Specialist Manager at ID Plans, was excited to learn that she’d won the first wellness challenge, but she told Landry and his wife, Pam, that they didn’t need to make the trip.
“I didn’t feel it was necessary for them to come have lunch with me since I live so far away, but they insisted on it,” said Congrove, who has worked with ID Plans for more than three years. “We had a wonderful day chatting about old times, and It made me feel really special.”
For Landry, who cofounded ID Plans in 1999, going back on a promise he’d made to his team was never an option. He’s a firm believer in the idea that if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of you, and that if you say you’re going to do something, you do it. In this installment of Conversations from the Corner Office, we spoke with Landry about the different ways he shows employees he values them and how it’s paid off in his organization.
We often hear stories about horrible bosses and how they don’t respect their employees. Did you ever have any of these experiences?
JL – Fortunately, most everyone I’ve worked for has been friendly. I maybe had one or two along the way who weren’t, but my experiences have overall been positive.
Is that what shaped the way you would manage your own team?
JL – When we started the company, we were very small. You had to interact with everyone because you didn’t really have a choice. That being said, I’ve always had the type of personality where I find it easier to have mutual respect and try to make connections with people. Some leaders may call the concept of mutual respect soft or weak, but for us, it’s been very effective.
How do you practice that?
JL – I like to make people feel comfortable and I try to be open and approachable. With the team at headquarters, I walk around the office each morning and shake everyone’s hand and ask how they’re doing. Just by asking questions, people can see that you care about their lives and what’s going on with them. I find that to be very important.
What do you think makes a good supervisor?
JL – A good supervisor is someone who is a coach, someone who listens, and someone who keeps the success of their team members at the front of their mind.
What does that look like at ID Plans?
JL – We’ve developed a company culture that supports connections, and you coach and mentor the people who report to you to do the same thing for their employees. One of the things we do is weekly one-on-one meetings between supervisors and employees. That’s their time to share what’s going on with them both at work and personally.
What message does that send?
JL – It says I care, and that I want to listen to what my team has to say. These meetings are structured to be positive interactions and to make sure the employee is happy and feels they’re the right fit for their role. It builds a bridge of openness and caring – it’s not just about managing people.
Finally, what are some things a good leader should keep in mind not to do?
JL – Don’t be arrogant. Don’t let your title go to your head and make you think you’re better than others. And remember that everyone has the ability to have a good idea. I think of it like this – you might be the smartest person in the room, but are you smarter than everyone else put together? Probably not. The bottom line is we’re all looking for security and happiness, and that’s something that I always try to take into consideration. It’s not just about me – it’s about the other person as well.
What does your manager do to make you feel appreciated? What would you like to see incorporated in your workplace? Leave your comments below.
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