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In this episode, Heather speaks with Matt Manners, CEO & Founder of Inspiring Workplaces. Matt shares his well-founded perspective that the traits of a caring leader are those of a caring human being. Matt’s mission, and that of his company, is to make people’s lives better inside and outside of the workplace.
Matt’s whole leadership philosophy is about recognizing others and shining the spotlight on the most deserving of employees throughout organizations worldwide. Leaders with heart know, like Matt, that you need to have a loyal and dependable team, by being a transparent and dependable leader. A Caring Leader will never have to face challenges alone.
- Leaders with Heart are approachable and lead by example.
- People with purpose and challenge are what change things, not technology.
- Everyone is a leader, because people can always see you.
- You want to be the leader that faces a challenge and turns around and has a team waiting there willing to support them.
- Leaders don’t have to own everything, they can and should share their burdens.
- It’s not healthy to hold everything in and shut down.
- Quote from Rocky Balboa-if you’re struggling at work or home
- “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
Matt Manners was born into a half English/ half Irish media-obsessed family. A journalist grandfather, a grandmother who said he was blessed by the blarney and a father who led a top communications agency. So storytelling has always been very important to him.
He followed in his family’s footsteps for the first ten years of his career, living and working in London, Sydney and Boston helping organizations communicate with their customers. It was near the end of this period he began focusing on the CX and ultimately the number one influence on it…the employee experience.
The lack of appreciation of and investment in the EX by leaders and businesses drove Matt to invest all he had in the world to create The Employee Engagement Awards. To recognize and tell the stories of those that dared to try new things. Things that would enhance the people experience for the benefit of both them and the organization. Over five years The EE Awards expanded around the world and evolved into much more than just engagement and awards. Evolving into a global community, an academy, a content hub, events, a foundation and it also did awards.
So in 2020 it felt right to bring it all together in a new home called, Inspiring Workplaces. An organization that wants to change the world, with you, through the world of work.
Evolving and Maturing
My (leadership) style, I think, is evolving as I mature as a person. A lot of the traits we talked about when we try and distinguish between work and home, inside and outside of work, are just about who you are as a human being. I think I’ve matured a lot in the past three or four years—being approachable, leading by example, and open to new ideas for sure. It doesn’t come easy. Like most things worthwhile, you have to work really hard.
Making lives better
We were basically built to recognize people that were trying every day to improve the experience of people they work with and to better the organization. That became my life’s purpose. As we evolve, we did much more than the awards. We did conferences and we had all these amazing stories of people and the work they were doing around the world. It is a community where we work together to solve issues. We have the awards, the academy and the conferences. But at the heart of it is our people who just believe in the same thing—let’s make our lives better inside and outside of work. We’ve probably all had negative experiences at work where you just aren’t treated that well. I’ve never wanted to treat anybody the way I’ve been treated in the past. Therefore, I want to make places of work great places to work, psychologically safe, and inclusive so people can bring their true selves, open up, and give their ideas to the business. If people love what they do, then they’re going to deliver better customer experience. Hence, the world will become a better place and businesses will perform better.
How Winning is Done
I’m going to quote Rocky Balboa from the film Rocky. There’s this one passage in one of the last movies, that I think just rings true if you’re struggling whether at work, at home or both. He said “Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It will beat you to your knees, if you let it. You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” I don’t believe it’s just technology that changes things at all. It’s people with purpose and passion.
f you look at what’s happened over the past couple of months, I get really excited because that means it’s going to be a lot of money and we might start evening up the scales between customer and employee experience. It’s an exciting time for those people who have struggled for so long to get a voice in the boardroom.
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