Archive - July, 2014

10 Reasons People Will Follow A Leader Anywhere

follow123We have all worked for various types of leaders with various types of leadership gifts; however every once and awhile we get to work for that leader whom we would follow anywhere. One of the ultimate compliments an employee can pay to their leader is “I would work for you or follow you anywhere!” This doesn’t mean that it’s all about that leader, it simply means that particular employee was bought into how that leader carried the organizational vision and how that leader impacted them personally.

I have personally made that statement to a leader that I have worked for and have been humbled by having individuals that I have worked alongside pay me that same compliment. I have a hypothesis on the reasons why someone would make such a bold statement.

10 Reasons People Will Follow A Leader Anywhere:

  • 1. They have a mind of their own, not a “Yes Man or Yes Woman.”
  • 2. They always maintain a high degree of integrity.
  • 3. They don’t have temper tantrums; yell, scream, cuss…
  • 4. They truly care about their employees personally, what’s happening in their lives outside of the organization.
  • 5. They are committed to developing and making every team member better.  They maximize the gifts of their employees, don’t micro-manage and free-up their employees to soar.  Under their tutelage employees are better leaders both personally and professionally.
  • 6. They always let their employees know where they stand, no surprises.
  • 7. They are willing to receive input and feedback from employees throughout the organizational chart.
  • 8. They balance confidence and humility.  Did I mention they are confident!
  • 9. They can remain appropriately calm under pressure, under fire, under the gun…
  • 10. They produce results and success; They’re Winners!  Although they are successful they understand that their commitment to this world is beyond their role, beyond their degree, beyond their success… Their mark will truly be identified as someone who genuinely cared about people and made positive impacts in the lives of people.

It’s great to have leaders whose leadership impacts you positively enough that you would utter this phrase “I Will Follow That Leader Anywhere!”

 

Warning – Your Leadership May Be In A Blind Spot

blind spotEveryone loves following a great leader; you love how they think, how they lead and more importantly how they make you feel. Although we all love following those great leaders, it’s important to understand that even the greatest of leaders have blind spots. These blind spots show up as a result of focussing on the “What” of leadership and overlooking the “How” and “Why.” Often times leaders and organizations make a habit of looking forward towards their goals, while rarely look in their rearview mirror or side mirrors to see whats coming, what’s happening around them, how people are feeling and what rough terrain is ahead. The entire organization will follow this same pattern of overlooking blind spots unless the leaders truly encourage otherwise.

By encouraging otherwise, I mean encouraging and embracing the challenging of the organization’s direction, decisions, culture, things that just aren’t quite right and pointing out the blind spots. More often than not leaders become comfortable as it relates to what they can challenge, what they can say, what’s sacred and what would be considered obvious blind spots become “things we don’t do, things our boss won’t allow or things that simply won’t change”

Leaders should encourage new hires to actively point out blind spots during their 1st 90 days of employment.Those fresh eyes and fresh perspectives are invaluable to an organization. Organizations should consider changing up the executive leadership team from time to time. This one is tricky, because there is tremendous value in having a consistent leadership team; however there is also tremendous value in someone new at the leadership table that is more willing to point out the blind spots, break what’s become normal, bring a fresh new outlook and challenge the status quo.

Another great way that organizations can begin to see their blind spots is by bringing in a reputable 3rd party consultant or strategist, whose only agenda is to be objective and help the organization reach their desired goals. Lastly, have a blind spot meeting – a meeting where you invite some of the brightest, most critical, outspoken, futuristic, company Kool-aid drinking and play it safe people all in the same room to do nothing more than point out blind spots. (This is fun)

When organizations make it a point to actively point out blind spots the organization will not only drive with the mindset of looking ahead, and periodically looking in the rearview mirror. The organization can tap into the use of the various side mirrors and overhead perspectives to help them see their blind spots. This is not a magic potion type of fix, it’s a process that takes time, focus and commitment to driving with greater leadership clarity.

Blind spots: Every organization has them, only few are willing to point them out.

Stuart Scott’s ESPYS Speech “Never Give Up”

This is awesome and inspiring. Well done Stuart Scott.

7 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

fail2Often times when it comes to “leadership” we hear the warm and fuzzies or the great success stories. There are so many great books and tools at the disposal of leaders that growth, competency and effective leadership should be inevitable. The challenge with that theory is it’s rendered “not always true” because of the simple fact that leadership deals with human beings and human beings are rather complex creatures. Anytime you are dealing with people things are never that simplistic.

Another reason being an effective leader is not that simple is that fact that book knowledge doesn’t always translate to street knowledge {{translation – just because you can read it and talk it, deosn’t mean that you can effectively apply it}}.

A key understanding to leadership how ineffective and incapable individuals find themselves in key leadership roles is this: people hire people, who hire people, who hire people. Somewhere within those three generations of hiring, there are people placed in roles of leadership that they are not capable of handling. In my tenure working as a Deputy Prison Warden, before being promoted to Warden, I worked for a leader that definitely should not have been in her role. She literally destroyed her staff and destroyed her team. Not only did she destroy them, she didn’t have the self-awareness to make the necessary adjustments. She was a “Leadership Destroyer.” In consulting over the last 14 years, I have seen and heard about these “Leadership Destroyers” more often than I’d like to admit.

Unfortunately the “Leadership Destroyers” are not isolated to my experiences, if you live long enough and work for enough people, there is a good chance that you will work for one of these destroyers. To help identify how these leaders managers destroy their teams, I have identified 5 ways.

7 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

  • 1. My Way Or The Highway (MWOH): Everyone has an opinion and often times people have thoughts, ideas and suggestions that can be helpful to those that are in charge. MWOH is fueled by the insecurity of the Leadership Destroyer. MWOH can create an environment of control, but not an environment of healthy success. Listen to your team, involve your team, learn from your team and embrace the reality that the collective sum is much better than the Big-Headed MWOH Leader.
  • 2. All About The Numbers: The numbers do matter, the bottom line is important and if it doesn’t make dolla$ it doesn’t make sense.  In business, ministry or non-profit work, it’s important to measure things as it’s a great barometer for success. Where numbers become a problem is when the Leadership Destroyer focuses on the numbers, bottom line and measurables so much that they forget about their team of people who are making those numbers happen. They lose sight of the “how” because they are so focused on the “what.” Number matter, but people matter more. Focus on creating a healthy team and healthy numbers will be a natural bi-product.
  • 3. Talk But Don’t Listen: No one can get a word in or have an opinion because the Leadership Destroyer is always talking. Not only are they always talking, they never listen. If people are not heard, they will cease to say the things that matter. Shh (be quiet) Listen!
  • 4. Change Things For The Sake Of Changing Things: Change is good and sometimes necessary to create forward momentum. The Leadership Destroyer takes this to another level by changing things just to let you know that they’re the boss. They are unwilling to receive feedback or go back to what worked, even if their change isn’t working. I heard a great thought from OSU Football Coach Mike Gundy from his press conference during OSU’s great season several years back.  This articular season OSU was ranked #2 and they were rolling like a well-oiled machine. Mike Gundy said, (paraphrasing) “I try to change things up a bit, just to justify my existence. My team will come to me and say I think we need to stick to XYZ and this is why. Often times what they are saying makes perfect sense and I change it back.” It’s important to survey the impact, timing and necessity of change.
  • 5. They Just Don’t Care:  The quickest way to destroy a team is to not care about the players on the team. Team members know the difference between the fake stuff and the genuine care and concern for the individual players and the collective team. Leadership Destroyers care more about their title, role, corner office and the fact that they have arrived than they do their team. One of the things that the inmates used to say when I was a Warden in regards to leadership and life is this, “It’s All About Missouri!” In other words, Missouri is the Show-Me State.  I’ll close with the words of John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
  • 6. Focused On Pleasing The Boss – It’s okay to want to perform for your supervisor and help you organization be successful. Leadership Destroyers take it to a whole-nutha-level. The Leadership Destroyer will do anything and everything to look good, rather than doing any and everything right. The all-consuming thoughts of wondering what the boss thinks will lead these destroyers to destroy their team, chunk team members under the bus and not give proper credit where proper credit is due.
  • 7. Unwilling To Receive Candid Feedback – When an individual is unwilling to listen to feedback because “It may hurt” or “It isn’t what they want to hear,” they are in trouble. You can’t win with thin skin. Once team members realize the Leadership Destroyer is unwilling to receive feedback, they will stop giving feedback. Once team members stop giving feedback, the Leadership Destroyers find themselves on an island. Islands are great places to vacation, but horrible places to find yourself when you are trying to lead a team.
Leadership Destroyers destroy everything.
What Do You Think?  Share your thoughts and experiences with any of thes

Why Organizations and Individuals Settle For Mediocrity

mediocreIt seems like I’m in constant conversations with organizational leaders, groups and individuals about settling. By settling, I mean they see a better way, a better plan, a better relationship and a better situation; however they choose to settle for their existing state of mediocrity. If better is within your reach and you choose to settle for less, you are settling for mediocrity.

We all have found ourselves in that awkwardly comfortable position of settling at one time or another on this journey we call life. Mediocrity is self inflicted and so is excellence. If individuals and organizations are left with the ability to chose mediocrity or excellence, good or great; why do more often times than not people chose the former before the later.

Why do people settle for mediocrity? Plain and simple, it’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s easy and it just feels good. The more you settle for mediocrity, the more mediocrity begins to look like genius and excellence.

Change the way you think, change the way you feel, raise the bar and don’t settle for mediocrity.

The Leaders Who Need The Most Development

lead developThe Leaders Who Need The Most Development Are Often Times The Leaders That Say That Others Need More Development.

Have you ever seen a situation where a leader has a team member who is either up for a promotion or in all actuality should be considered for a promotion; and the leaders says they are not ready yet, or they need more development.

I understand that sometimes people aren’t ready and they could benefit by a little more time in the leadership development cooker. More times than not, the person is ready, all they need is a little encouragement, belief in themselves and an opportunity to show what’s inside of them. How do you get the experience, if no one is willing to give you a chance to get the experience?

Over the years I have come to realize that the leaders who are quick to say that someone isn’t ready and need more development are the ones that need more development themselves.

It takes, time, energy and true leadership to develop someone — moving them from where they are to where they can be. Leaders must learn to focus on potential instead of limitations.

The next time you hear a leader say “so and so” isn’t ready, the deeper question to ask is this “is the leader making the statement ready?”

No one will ever be 100% “ready,” it’s up to the leaders to be a part of getting them there. That’s why it’s called leadership.

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