During my transition from Synovus Financial Corp. to Columbus Bank and Trust Company, I had the opportunity to meet with the CEO, Steve Melton. I arrived 10 minutes early for the meeting. I guess I was a little pensive. After all, I was beginning a new chapter in my career.
As always, Steve was a gracious host. We must have talked about everything
under the sun—sports, life, education, family, and banking. Nearly an hour
passed before our meeting concluded. He stood up from behind his desk and
walked me to the door.
It was one of those freeze-framed moments when Steve said, "Kelvin, we can teach you to be a banker. We can't
teach you to be a nice person."
Research shows that 87% of
your success is due to your people skills. That is why I am still so amazed by people
who don't get it. I have seen doctors who are awesome at their craft but have
poor bedside manners. I know teachers who can work their way through a
quadratic formula but are despised by their pupils. I know of managers who know
the company’s policy manual frontwards and backwards, but can’t tell you anything
but the name, rank, and serial number of their employees.
I would hope that everyone is nice. I realize that we
all have our moments when we are not but if you are in a position of leadership, your
relational intelligence, just as much if not more than your technical skills,
will determine the altitude of your success.