The Value of One

How One United Employee Fought To Retain a Teammate

Jennifer Boubel
Former United Airlines Employee


United makes John Maxwell leadership training available to all middle management personnel. So, his leadership principles saturate our corporate ethos to a large degree. But recently, I experienced one of John's principles first hand.

I attended a training luncheon and asked John a question about layoffs that United was expecting to have. "How would you prepare for a conversation with a really good employee,” I asked, “if you were going to have to let that person know their job had been eliminated?”

“IT’S NOT ABOUT LEADING A TASK, IT’S ABOUT INFLUENCING A PERSON.”

His reply really stuck with me. "If they are really great employees, I keep them. I would do everything I could do in order to keep them.”

Leadership, I learned, is about people. It's a very personal endeavor that has tremendous impact on an organization. United, and the entire airline industry, tends to be "metric" driven. Things need to be on time and in the right place. It's easy for upper-management to get dialed into the business of metrics and hitting those metrics on time. It’s also easy for organizations to create a competitive environment for its employees.

But John's response that day reminded me that behind every metric stands a person and every person is a potential leader. The John Maxwell Company teaches that it’s really about serving one another and putting people first.

When you begin viewing everyone in the organization as a leader it changes the ethos. Your perspective shifts. People matter.

It's great when you can look at the person with whom you're doing your job and know that they have a purpose as a leader and that you matter to them.

Establishing community within an organization is key. United had this but The John Maxwell Company leadership training, helped us go deeper with each other personally. This experience reinforced John's mantra: "Teamwork makes the dream work."

“Leadership, I learned, is about people. It's a very personal endeavor that has a tremendous impact on organization.”

 

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