Tag Archives: ABC’s

Leadership is: Understanding

Is a lack of communication and understanding acceptable to us?

A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding. – Marshall McLuhan

As leaders it is easy to get caught up in our tasks. We desire for our team members to know and understand what it is we need and want from them, and if we aren’t careful we won’t give them a second thought unless something involving them is hindering our own process.

Once, I asked for a consistent weekly meeting with my leader to give direct reports and to stay on the same page (have understanding). They responded with, “I didn’t think you were that immature that you need me to hold your hand.” To be honest, my relationship with that leader lost some of its luster that day. From that point on, it felt like a lack of understanding and communication between us was acceptable.

So you don’t lose your shine, here are 3 steps to winning over your employees by Inc. Magazine: http://www.inc.com/3-steps-to-winning-over-your-employees.html

When we don’t communicate for mutual understanding with our team members it is a recipe for disaster! In reality, lack of communication and understanding will drive away your high performers. I’ve written about some habits of effective communication here and here.

Carl Robinson, from Advanced Leadership Consulting, has a great list on more of what drives away great performers here: http://leadershipconsulting.com/why-great-employees-quit.htm

In order to be effective, understanding leaders, we must practice these 2 habits:

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Leadership is: Touch

“It’s vital that the monarchy keeps in touch with the people. It’s what I try and do.” – Princess Diana

There are differing thoughts on everything from soda to trucks, so why should leadership be any different? Leadership is such an expansive topic, most of the topics of disagreements run the gamut.

Laura Erskine writes in A Question of Leadership, “some organizations reject the practice of encouraging close emotional relationships between leaders and followers because they believe that the perceptions of special treatment prevent leaders from being effective.” Essentially the argument is that a leader can’t do for everyone so they shouldn’t do for anyone! Andy Stanley (@AndyStanley) addresses this issue in one of his leadership podcast titled “Do for One.” Stanley says, “you should do for one, what you can’t do for all.” If you can’t invest in all of your team members you should at least invest in one of them!

Leaders should be strategically investing in their team members, specifically their direct reports. In a Career Tools podcast titled “Build Your Network,” Michael Auzenne (@mauzenne) and Mark Horstman (@mahorstman) suggest that in order to build and maintain your network you should schedule a specific time to keep in contact with people in your network. So why should it be any different with your team members? Leaders can’t meet with everyone, but they can meet with those who need your input and direction the most.

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Leadership is: Selfless

"You have to give up, to go up" - John Maxwell

To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness. – Benjamin Franklin

There has been much said recently about Steve Jobs and his style of leadership, love it or hate it, we should all learn what we can from it. In a Harvard Business Review article, Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, (@WalterIsaacson) writes, “I once asked [Steve Jobs] what he thought was his most important creation, thinking he would answer the iPad or the Macintosh. Instead he said it was Apple the company. Making an enduring company, he said, was both far harder and more important than making a great product.”

In a way, Steve Jobs was a servant leader. I won’t go as far as to say that he was the kind of leader that we would all want to follow. In fact I believe that Steve Jobs was a special kind of leader that influenced special kinds of followers. Isaacson writes, “One of the last times I saw him, after I had finished writing most of the book, I asked him again about his tendency to be rough on people. ‘Look at the results,’ he replied. ‘These are all smart people I work with, and any of them could get a top job at another place if they were truly feeling brutalized. But they don’t.’ Then he paused for a few moments and said, almost wistfully, ‘And we got some amazing things done.'”

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Leadership is: Reassurance

Trust is hard to rebuild once it is broken. Reassurance helps keep trust strong.

I am just fascinated by this reassurance from a menacing figure. It is rather frightening. – Rory Bremner

People loved to be reassured! To be cared for in some way that removes their fears or doubts. The problem with reassurance is that it doesn’t exist! In order to truthfully tell someone “every thing is going to be okay,” you have to know it is! It doesn’t matter how good of a leader you are, no one can know 100% of the future. Seth Godin talks about the problem with reassurance, but I’m not going to focus on his thoughts, because, well, it’s already been done.
However, as a leader if our team members are going to proceed in a time of uncertainty we’re going to have to reassure them with out lying to them.
How Leaders Reassure with out Lying:
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Leadership is: Questioning

Your questions are on the hot seat.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. – Albert Einstein

Imagine being able to have a firm grasp on a situation. You know what to do in just about any given situation and are calm, cool, and collected as you share your strategy for success with others. This may seem impossible, and for most it is, but a good great leader can achieve this level of confidence through questioning. This isn’t because they have more talent or are better suited for the position, but rather because they ask great questions! When a leader asks questions, and is willing to be asked questions they are much better equipped for what lies ahead. This is an Inc. Magazine article that describes specifically the power of questions.

As a leader we must:

1. Question assumptions: Assumptions keep us operating at the current status quo. They cause us to believe that nothing is wrong and nothing needs to be fixed. If we as leaders operate under assumptions we will believe that things are good even when they’re bad. Assumptions are lethal to any group. And you know what they say about them! Here is what Forbes has to say about them.

What assumptions do you have that need questioning?

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