Great Leaders Get Their People Promoted

by | Apr 21, 2016 | Leadership

During his storied tenure as the head coach for Notre Dame Football, Lou Holtz averaged an incredible three coaching changes during each of his 11 seasons. Some of these changes came about when Holtz simply felt he needed to upgrade a spot, but often opportunities for advancement were offered to his assistants by different teams and they took them.

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Lou Holtz of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish stands on the sidelines during the first quarter in the game against the Miami Hurricanes on October 15, 1988 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. The Fighting Irish defeated the Hurricanes 31-30. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

When asked how he felt about his coaches leaving, Holtz said that it didn’t bother him. He knew they deserved it. As a leader, Holtz wanted the best for his people and he would often go to work for them to ensure that they got the job they were being considered for. Because of that, Notre Dame became the place to go for an assistant coaching job. People knew they’d have the opportunity to develop under Lou Holtz and would have better opportunities for advancement.

At Service Express, it’s a huge win for leaders when they get their people promoted – even when the employee is promoted outside of that leader’s team. It’s true, it can prove to be a hurdle for the leader and they may feel squeezed in the short-term as a result, but the long-term benefits for everyone are far superior.

There is no greater thrill for a true leader than to know that they have invested in someone and the investment paid off. Leaders at SEI work hard to develop their people and get them promoted. Consequently, it is those leaders who attract both internal and external talent.

They are the true embodiment of SEI’s Vision to “work with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals.”

I recently heard a story about a manager at another company who spoke negatively about one of their employees to another leader. It turned out they were doing this because they didn’t want their employee to be poached by another team. That’s not a leader, that’s a poor manager. And that manager ended up losing that employee to another company. What a loss for them.

Bad managers try to keep their people down. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen them – they are the managers who are focused on themselves and on their own needs. They manage by deadlines and numbers and they really have no interest in a path of development for their people. They are not coaches and they certainly aren’t leaders.

If an “A” player somehow makes it to the team of a manger like this, they typically don’t last long. When this happens, it’s pretty simple – the right people will leave a bad manager and the wrong people will stay. And word travels fast. Talent attracts talent, and “A” players don’t want to work for “C” managers.

At SEI, we place a high value on servant leadership. For us, that means surrounding ourselves with leaders who are willing to identify where an accomplishing employee wants to go and be a coach in their journey. Most people don’t leave companies; they leave bad bosses. And companies who have great leaders are able to attract and retain top talent.

Lou Holtz has gone on to become not only a College Football Hall-of-Famer, but also a public speaking legend. He has famously said “I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.” These rules closely align with the SEI Way, and our leaders embody the spirit these rules encompass. In the end, everybody wins.

Are you interested in joining a company that “works with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals” or do you know someone who may be? Check out our career opportunities here!


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About Me

I am the President & CEO of Service Express, a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Service Express has averaged double digit growth every year since 2001.

We attribute our success to a unique corporate culture that we call The Service Express Way. I am a member of the Young President Organization and sit on the Board of the Spectrum Health Foundation.