The Global Need for Grateful Leadership in a Fast-Changing and Volatile World

by Roberto Daniel

Perhaps most of you have not noticed, but I happen to be the non-American born Grateful Leader mentioned at Judy´s Grateful Leadership book! So far, so good!

What is more, I am foreigner who was born and lived all my life until now in Brazil, a beautiful country that has been devastated (not literally, but figuratively) by its worst crisis ever, a so-called perfect storm. In a nutshell, this storm has swept away more than 12million jobs (including mine*) since 2014 and made the GDP shrunk 7.5% in just two years, to say the least.

The root cause of all of this lies, in principle, in the greatest political scandal that has led the former president re-elect to her impeachment.

Well, the idea here is not talk about politics and economy, but rather to share some ideas and initiatives applicable during periods in time where the sky is cloudless and blue as well as during serious crises — aiming, at the end of the day, to strengthen employee engagement and to build trust.

In the coming months I will be sharing more details about each of them.

To start, let´s talk about getting to know your team and to be known by its members as well.

After a *1-year forced sabbatical period (aka being unemployed), I was hired to be the General Manager of a privately owned, multi-national auto-parts European company, while knowing I would be facing tough times ahead of me. Indeed, it´s been much harder than even any clairvoyant could have foreseen….

First and foremost, I put a 100-day plan into place having, among other priorities, getting to know in detail both the business and each of my staff members (12 people at that time), key employees and stakeholders, and to make myself be known as well. It was a pretty ambitious plan!

As a good ice-breaker, I scheduled several one-on-ones with my team members, lasting 60 to 90 minutes on average, meetings which consisted basically of informal conversations about his/her family, likes, dislikes, educational, and professional background.

After the 100-days onboarding plan completion, I extended the one-on-ones to indirect and direct-labor (shop floor) employees, with two being chosen out of a drawing. In the last 18 months more than 50 people took advantage of the opportunity!

I have already heard from some people that they think this kind of action is a completely waste of time but, on the contrary, this has been a simple and powerful tool to build rapport and trust. I have seen wonderful results from it!

In the next post, we will be sharing some thoughts about communication!

Example of one-on-ones with direct labor employees:

Robert and Friends