Last week on a trip to the Field Museum we saw the Pirates exhibit. The exhibit was about the Whydam as it’s journey from slave ship to pirate ship. While the history of slave ships is disturbing, the history of the pirate ship does lend itself to a leaderhsip lesson. What? A leadship lesson from pirates – has she gone mad. No not really.
Here’s the thing. When pirates would board ships, they would ask members of the crew about the captain. Not because they feared him or wanted to be like him. Actually is was to determine how they would treat him. If the crew was positive about the captain – then the pirates would give him a boat, food and water. If the crew was negative about the captain – he was beaten to death and shown no mercy.
Did you see the leadership lesson?
This actually goes back to old addage (ok, maybe newer) people leave managers not companies. If you treat your employees respectfully and listen you will be given a boat, food & water or in modern times – loyalty. If you treat your employees poorly, yell, don’t listen, have favorites (yes it is easier to list bad habits) you will be beaten to death by high turnover, clock watchers, and poor attitudes. Not the best way to run a business.
Look at the pirates – how do you want to be treated?