Home » Our Blog » 3 Management Lessons Past Presidents Can Teach Today’s Leaders
back to the top
Presidents Day

3 Management Lessons Past Presidents Can Teach Today’s Leaders

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

3 Leadership Lessons from Lincoln, Kennedy and FDR

Every year, Americans celebrate Presidents Day as a day of remembrance — a day to look back and learn from our nation’s leaders. In today’s competitive market, business leaders are looking for the edge that will put their organization and workforce ahead of the curve.

This Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 20, it might be time to dust off your history books and delve into the wisdom of the past. Here are three leadership lessons past presidents can teach today’s business leaders.

  1. Welcome critical feedback.

Leading comes with perks. People respect you, listen to your opinion and, sometimes, agree wholeheartedly just because you’re in a place of authority. But that last “perk” is actually not a benefit at all. Tempting though it may be to surround yourself with like-minded, agreeable people, doing so can prove detrimental.

The name Abraham Lincoln is synonymous with honesty. However, Lincoln also is known for his willingness to surround himself with individuals who weren’t afraid to disagree with him, rivals included. In historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 Pulitzer-winning book, Team of Rivals (the basis for Steven Spielberg’s 2012 Oscar-winning film, Lincoln) she recounts how our 16th president filled his cabinet with those who originally competed against him for the Republican presidential nomination.

Lincoln seemed to understand that finding common ground and considering all sides of an argument was more important than propping up his own ideals. The American Civil War brought death and destruction for many soldiers, but Lincoln’s staunch dedication to the eradication of slavery and his willingness to listen to those with whom he disagreed, helped foster eventual peace.

Leaders today should take a page from Lincoln’s book when hiring and promoting employees. Instead of asking, “Who do I get along with? Who will help me push this idea?,” perhaps they should ask, “Who can bring new ideas to the table? Who will benefit our company’s growth in the long run?” 

  1. Be passionate.

In a recent Entrepreneur article titled “22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader,” the authors tout passion as one of the most important attributes. Evidently, it is crucial for leaders to love what they do and feel a deep commitment to their purpose.

As the longest-serving American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt helped lead America during both the Great Depression and World War II. His passion for helping every American was overt. FDR’s deep desire to support his ailing nation helped propel him through physical illness (i.e., polio) and political opposition. A supporter of government assistance and for the unemployed and elderly, FDR once said, “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” In 1935, he signed the Social Security Act, a culmination of his passion and focus, and what he considered to be one of his greatest achievements.

Politics aside, having passion for your vision will help you focus on what matters most. People naturally gravitate toward passionate individuals, and authentic, well-intentioned passion can help unify your workforce and inspire employees to achieve your company’s ultimate goal.

  1. Bounce back.

Most experienced leaders know that anything worth having comes with a little — or a lot — of struggle. The best narratives in history take place after a hero fails and then rises back through the ranks to succeed. Underdog stories inspire us because they provide a message of hope, even in the darkest times. For managers, leading after failure can seem like a daunting task, but overcoming obstacles with grace is one of the cornerstones for developing wisdom.

Our first President of the United States, George Washington, was no stranger to failure. In fact, during the French and Indian War, he experienced failure at Fort Necessity when he surrendered to the French. The defeat was embarrassing for the 22-year-old lieutenant colonel, but instead of wallowing in failure, Washington learned from his mistakes. More importantly, he consulted others, pursued the colonies’ freedom-driven mission and ultimately became one of America’s most admired presidents.

Another beloved president, John F. Kennedy, experienced a devastating setback after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion on Cuba. The futile attempt to overthrow the communist island resulted in his critics calling Kennedy inexperienced and weak.

Not long after this misstep, the Cuban missile crisis began, thrusting Kennedy to the helm of a precariously positioned ship once more. Instead of allowing his past failures to define the future, he learned from his failure and helped guide our nation away from the brink of destruction. Kennedy knew that leaders must have clear vision and a willingness to accept and learn from past mistakes.

Conclusion

Lessons taught before the internet and, in some cases, even the telegram, still apply to today’s business leaders. While many teachings are contingent upon the context of the history, others are universal and stand the test of time.

In the words of President John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

 

 


Jim Quillen

by Jim Quillen


Author Bio: As director of tax at Paycom, Jim Quillen is responsible for ensuring payments and returns are filed timely and accurately, and for eliminating tax issues with the potential to negatively impact clients. Quillen, a CPA by training, has worked in many fields during his career, including finance, auditing, recruiting, sales, business development and software implementation. Prior to his current role, Quillen has served Paycom as the director of business intelligence, director of new client implementation and director of recruiting.

talent shortage

How the Talent Shortage Threatens Your Business’s Bottom Line

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

Human nature and the rapid pace of the workday sometimes conspire to force us into a myopic view of our organization. For instance, we may be so concentrated on attacking a problem within our department that we neglect to consider if the issue has infiltrated other departments as well.

If the issue is filling head count with qualified candidates, assume it has spread like a virus, to every room of every floor. Your business cannot afford to do otherwise.

While the problem is global, it is worse in the U.S., where 46% of all organizations currently experience difficulty filling open positions. Not only is that number up from 32% in 2015, it’s at its highest rate in 10 years. Experts predict it will rise even higher, meaning the war for talent just got harder.

The skills gap

The irony is, with an improving economy and an employment-to-population ratio around 82%, more people are in the American workforce now than in nearly a decade. So shouldn’t employers be inundated with résumés?

In general, they are … but not with the right kind of résumés. Almost 20% of applicants lack the experience companies seek. An equal number do not possess the necessary, specific hard skills the positions require, such as computer programming.

This skills gap has led to longer open positions. This year, the average is a full month: 31 days. Ten years ago, it took eight fewer days. How long can your business get by with letting critical functions go unfilled?

A domino effect

Arguably, the most obvious effect caused by open positions is lower morale among staff members, particularly those who have to pick up the proverbial slack. Having extra work atop their regular duties lowers their productivity, which in turn, lowers quality.

Before long, customers will take note. Perhaps they notice the product is not up to the company’s usual standard, or that your service may be lacking. Or, worse, they notice both. Either way, your competitiveness in the marketplace takes a hit, and we know the effect that has on the bottom line: not the desirable kind.

Ultimately, in a talent shortage left unaddressed, your business experiences all of the above, plus higher turnover. And higher turnover only compounds the problem that started this whole mess!

 Steps to take

The good news is, good news exists. The proper HR technology can streamline, speed up and automate your recruiting processes to attract more qualified candidates and filter out the unqualified ones. Automated preboarding helps keep new hires looped in, so they are not lost to the chasm of time between the job offer and Day 1.

The bad news is, if you don’t take such steps, and outdated, manual processes continue to rule the roost, your business will suffer defeat in the war for talent.

For more information on the current talent shortage, as well as strategic steps organizations can take on a path toward victory, download our free infographic, How the Talent Shortage Harms Your Entire Business.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition

Rod Lott

by Rod Lott


Author Bio: As Paycom’s Creative Services Manager, Rod Lott brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, branding and journalism. A published author and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has worked with such brands as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sonic Drive-In and OU.

The 1 Thing Efficient, Happy and Motivated Employees Have in Common

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

Efficiency, happiness and motivation: These traits characterize the ideal employee, but how can today’s employers inspire their workforce to have more of each? Through the use of carefully chosen technology. Here’s how technology factors in to developing your employees into the best they can be.

Click here to see Jacob Morgan’s SHRM-certified on-demand webinar “How to Win the War for Talent and Crush the Competition” on how the world’s top companies are redesigning work around their people by focusing on three environments: culture, technology and the physical workspace.

Efficient employees

Of course, your employees are not machines. Efficiency for your business means employees are doing the right things at the right time; as management consultant Peter Drucker put it, “Efficiency is doing better what is already being done.” The work you hired them to do is performed with excellence.

Technology goes hand-in-hand with efficiency, and that can make your employees happier! In fact, as reported by Access Perks, 92% of employees say having the tech to efficiently do their jobs improves their overall satisfaction in their work. Employees don’t want just any technology; make sure you’re offering the latest tech that can help them perform better in their roles.

Happy employees

Whether your employees are happy can affect many things within your workplace. More than a feeling your people exhibit from 8 to 5, happiness speaks to their satisfaction in their role within your company. When your employees love what they do, that’s how you know they’re happy in their jobs.

The employee experience is the sum of all things good or bad in an employee’s time at your company. A positive employee experience leads to happier employees who are more willing to accept growth and change, and are emotionally prepared to handle the occasional setback.

Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience, describes technology as a key factor in building a positive employee experience. His research shows that 81% of workers say technology is the most important factor in their happiness at work, and 86% say that when their company’s technology is ahead of the curve, they love their job. When employees love their jobs, they become more motivated for the success of the company that has invested in them.

Motivated employees

According to Forbes magazine, motivation leads to productivity, allowing for more work to get done and boosting your bottom line. Chances are, no matter the quarter, your HR team has looked for innovative ways to motivate and engage employees. Incentives, prizes and pizza parties are obvious choices in the search for employee motivation, but is a “prize” the best method?

One powerful motivator that isn’t just another prize is technology; according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, at 48%, nearly half of the American workforce says that new technology is an effective motivator. Are you providing the state-of-the-art, user-friendly tech that can motivate your workforce?

Technology that is up-to-date and simple to use can help you provide the environment your employees need to thrive.  As tech-dependent millennials make up a larger share of the workforce, and Generation Z digital natives begin their careers, technology increasingly becomes a critical part of the employee experience.  Help your employees meet their maximum potential by providing the right technology to keep them efficient, happy and motivated.

Looking for a deeper dive into the employee experience? Check out the HR Break Room podcast episode, “Happy Employees = Happy Customers: The Equation for a Winning Workforce” with author Jacob Morgan.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Blog, Employee Experience, Featured

braeden.fair

by Braeden Fair


Author Bio: Braeden Fair produces webinars and podcasts for Paycom, in addition to writing content for the company’s blog and its employee culture magazine, Paycom Pulse. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, he managed social media for the college’s student life division and worked in the broadcasting departments of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas-based sports-talk radio station The Ticket.

Employer Brand

Why Your Employer Brand Matters

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Plus Share through email Print it More share options

Hello. My name is Amy, and at one time, my Coca-Cola rugby shirt was my most prized possession. Chances are you – or someone you know – had at least one and felt the same way. Those preppy, color-blocked beauties with the classic Coca-Cola scroll were pure Americana. They were so rad.

They were also uncomfortable. The material was thick and hot, the boxy shape was cumbersome and the collars were stiff. So what would inspire millions of sensible people to pay good money and outfit themselves in one? The answer: brand power.

Brands amplify the personal traits and characteristics of which we’re most proud. Brands show others who we are and want to be. They’re a fiercely personal association that sways our decision-making, regardless of whether we like to admit it, and they’re just as powerful today as they were in 1985.

If you don’t believe me, just embroil yourself in a debate about Macs vs. PCs, or Target vs. Walmart. Two things will happen immediately. First, regret will overwhelm you. Secondly, as voices rise and tempers flare, you’ll see that brands continue to serve as an extension of who we believe we are.

Great expectations

While the influence brands have over us remains strong, what we expect from them has changed. Today, companies can’t win customers by building a brand the old-fashioned way, with logo-emblazoned gear, slick photo shoots and ads in glossy magazines. Cultivating a trustworthy brand requires transparency. We want to know which brands mirror our values and operate in a way we believe in, too.

And we can, thanks to the internet. Now, not even the slickest ads in the world can spare brands from the destruction that negative reviews, an exposé on unethical practices or a shocking YouTube video can bring. The power of shaping a brand now lies with the company who owns it and the customers they serve.

Why it matters for HR and recruiting

So what does this have to do with your company’s reputation as an employer, aka your employer brand? Everything.

Just as consumers choose products based on brand identity, candidates choose jobs based on employer brand. Consumers want transparency. Candidates do, too. Review websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp offer consumers a forum to share honest experiences with thousands of people. Major job sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Indeed provide employees a similar outlet.

And candidates pay attention. Much like consumers contemplating a big purchase, candidates planning to make a big move do research. Before applying, 62% of job seekers will use social media channels to evaluate a company and 76% will view an employee’s LinkedIn page, while 60% consider word-of-mouth to be their best source of information.

To nab today’s top talent, you must enter the conversation and cultivate your employer brand.

Isn’t that marketing’s job?

Although the similarities between the consumer brand and the employer brand would suggest it, that’s not the case. And shaping or managing your employer brand doesn’t just belong to HR, either. Because your employer brand has to portray your company’s employee experience accurately, everyone who has a hand in shaping that has a hand in cultivating the employer brand.

Download our new, FREE white paper: Discover Who Owns the Employer Brand? (Hint: It’s Not Just HR)

Once you understand the role everyone in your organization plays in cultivating the employer brand, you can begin making steps toward recruiting, hiring, onboarding and retaining the talent your business needs. Then, take some time to design an awesome (and hopefully comfortable) employer-branded shirt. Your workforce will be just dying to wear it.

Tags:
Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Talent Acquisition

Amy Double

by Amy Double


Author Bio: Amy, a tenured professional in sales and marketing with over 10 years of experience, is dedicated to creating content focused on helping organizations achieve their business goals. As an experienced writer, Amy is committed to researching and blogging about topics that affect businesses across multiple industries, including manufacturing, hospitality and more. Outside of work, Amy enjoys reading, entertaining and spending time with family.

X

Learn more about Paycom

  • Are you a current Paycom Client?

    Yes

    No

    • Talent Acquisition

    • Time & Labor Management

    • Payroll

    • Talent Management

    • HR Management

  • Subscribe me to Paycom's newsletter.

*Required

We promise never to sell, rent or share your personal information with a third party unless required by law. By submitting this form, you accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.