Sq1 Leadership Quote: Helen Keller

Can you see what no one else can see? That's vision!

Can you see what no one else can see? That’s vision!

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Lessons in Leadership: Sterling & Silver

Higher = More Visible

Higher = More Visible

There is a direct correlation between a leader’s level in an organization and his visibility. The further “up” you are, the more visible you become. 

This may seem like a common sense statement, but some leaders do not either realize how far this visibility goes, or they forget.

When Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, announced that Donald Sterling, the owner of the LA Clippers basketball team, was banned for life from the LA Clippers and essentially the NBA, this truth was extremely evident!

In a tape released by TMZ, Donald Sterling was recorded by an ex-girlfriend, expressing racist remarks and points of view. Here is the thing, these remarks were made in a private phone call! Just because he said these things in private  doesn’t mean that they would not be exposed. A leader’s visibility is not determined by what he says or does in public, it is determined by what he says and does period!

Commissioner Silver understood this truth when deciding Sterling’s punishment. He knew America was watching, and he knew that what ever he decided, it would be seen, heard, and picked apart by all. While Silver’s words and actions were public and Sterling’s were in private, a leader can never underestimate the power of their visibility no matter where they are!

What are some other examples you’ve seen concerning a leader’s visibility?

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Marine Corps. Leadership: Seek and Take Responsibility

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It has been said, that if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got. But I want to alter it slightly. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be what you’ve always been. You can’t ever be more than what you are currently if you don’t expand yourself beyond what you are currently doing.

What is more, if we are not expanding ourselves, it is safe to assume that our subordinates are not either. People will mirror what they see, not what they hear. We must take time to look beyond where we are, and what we are currently doing to ask the question, where do I want to go, and what do I need to do to get there? Once we identify those tasks, those responsibilities, we must take action.

When we take those actions, when we stretch ourselves to make our team or organization better, we will be able to encourage those  we lead to follow our example as we coach them through the process.

3 Checkpoints To Taking Greater Responsibility:

1. Learn what is next – If you were to grow, or move forward what would it take to successfully exist there? Like wise, if you were to promote a subordinate, what would it take for them to succeed in that position?  If they wait to learn  that once they get there, it will be too late.

2. Partner with a subordinate on a task – While this seems minimal, it serves a greater purpose than the accomplishment of the task. This exercise will help you see how the subordinate works, and how you can better lead and coach them. Like wise, have your high performers do this with piers to hone their leadership skills.

3. Push for excellence – As leaders, if we cannot excel in what we are currently doing, what makes us think that we will excel in the future? The bad or disruptive habits we have now will still exist in the future, unless we do something about them now. If you have a subordinate who excels in what they do currently, rather than promoting them and giving them a whole new set of responsibilities, give them a portion of that position to see how they would handle it.

What are some other checkpoints towards greater responsibility? 

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Marine Corps. Leadership: Employ Your Command With in Its Capabilities

Could you list your team's strengths and weaknesses?

Could you list your team’s strengths and weaknesses?

“There is no substitute for accurate knowledge. Know yourself, know your business, know your men.” – Lee Iacocca

If our teams are going to succeed, it is because they have been set up for success. When a leader is not aware of a team’s strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, they are less likely to employ them accordingly, increasing their potential for failure.

When teams or individuals experience failure because their abilities and limitations were not first considered, it causes even more frustration and angst, which leads to decreased motivation and poorer performance. This is not to say that a leader can not give them a task that is beyond their capabilities, however this should be communicated and expectations should be set accordingly. In order for leaders to avoid these issues, they must first assess their teams strengths, areas where they will naturally excel; assess their weaknesses, areas where they experience greater difficulty; and then take measures to increase ability, training in areas of strengths and management of weaknesses, as well as reviewing and working through possible, future situations.

Assessing a Team’s Strengths:

  1. Strengths Finder 2.0 – This tool allows you to gain a perspective into a persons top five strengths. While the list of themes (strengths) is broad and general in listing, the assessment creates a unique report for each individual. Meaning two team members may have the same strength, but how those strengths are used and reported will be different.
  2. Myers Briggs – This assessment helps identifies a team members personality. While this may not seem like an out-right strength, knowing their personality will reveal in which situations they will most likely excel.
  3. DiSC – This assessment is another form of a personality test, however rather than sharing an individual’s personality type the DiSC assessment reveals how a person will operate and interact with in a team.
  4. One on One & Performance Reviews – While this tool will cover a multitude of needs, a one on one will allow a leader to assess where the team member is excelling and where they are falling behind. An aware leader should be able to decipher  an individuals area of strengths through these meetings.

Assessing a Team’s Weaknesses:

  1. Identify repeated areas of struggle – If a team member is struggle to complete a certain task, it is likely there is a component of that task that is a struggle for the team member. Do not automatically assume that the given task is an area of weakness, but rather seek to pinpoint the area or areas of struggle. Doing this will help you better understand where to employ team members, where not to employ, or even to cut a member if their areas of weakness are a team’s core competency.
  2. Review personality assessments – Generally speaking, one personality is no better than the other. However, there will always be trade offs with a given personality. A person will be able to stay secluded and focused on a task, but will appear to be less of a team player. When we better understand team members personalities we will ultimately understand who they are, and who they will not be.

Take Measures to Increase Ability:

  1. Have a goal/growth plan – This will allow leaders and team members to set desired objectives and map out actions to be take to achieve growth.
  2. Identify possible hurdles – No path is paved with perfection. If leaders and team members can identify possible problems before they are problems, they will be able to create solutions to over come those  issues, once they arrive with relative ease.

What have you done to effectively assess strengths and weaknesses, as well as increase overall ability?

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