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The Best Way To Measure Leadership Success

Leadership can sometimes be tricky; and by tricky I mean difficult to evaluate the true impact of one’s leadership. Some leaders push people really hard, create an environment where individuals can’t ask questions or challenge the king and results are more important than anything else.

These leaders and leadership environments may produce results for a season, but in the long-run, morale will be negatively affected. Those employees will do just enough to meet the performance expectations and they will begin to plan their exit from that environment when the 1st lateral or better opportunity comes available.

Don’t confuse great performance with great leadership. There are plenty of organizations, environments and teams that have great performance, while the implications of the leadership is devastating to the employees. These teams are generally over-worked, under-valued, under-appreciated, stressed out, carry their work problems home and are flat out unhealthy. Great leadership produces healthy teams.

The best way to evaluate the effectiveness of leadership is to get true and honest feedback from the team. If this feedback is filtered through an independent 3-party it’s even better.

Don’t measure success from performance alone… The best way to measure leadership success is to dig a little deeper and answer this question: “Are my team members happy, healthy, satisfied and excited to come to work everyday?”

Healthy teams are comprised of healthy people and teams of healthy people generally produce great results. Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the leader to create an environment that fosters the type of health necessary for success.

The Silent Organization Killer

It’s never easy and never fun to watch a business, team or organization die. It’s even harder when they die a slow, painful and what appears to be silent death.

The reality is businesses never die a silent death, there are always signs, symptoms and indicators of trouble. The Silent Organization Killer is actually the silence of the individuals within the organization that see the problems but are unwilling or unable to voice their concerns.

Organizations may have drastic turnover and the organizational leader’s response is to simply write the turnover off with comments such as, “We are a fast-paced culture… they couldn’t hang.” People within the organization actually see the real problems and the root of the problems; however their unwillingness to voice those concerns upwards contributes to the death of the organization.

On the flip side, when employees share their concerns, observations and thoughts about issues, organizational leaders must listen. If those concerns fall on deaf ears now you have two silent organizational killers: 1.) The employees that are unwilling to share and 2.) The employer that is unwilling to listen.

Practical Closing Tip: Share concerns, be sensitive to what’s being shared, look in the mirror and make tough decisions.

7 Leadership Lessons From Cinderella Darling Florida Gulf Coast

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has went Star Trek on this whole thing we call March Madness. The Eagles have crashed the March Madness party as a 15 seed that 1st knocked off the 2 seed basketball giant Georgetown. Last night Florida Gulf Coast’s win made them the 1st 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16 ever. Don’t you just love when people, teams and organizations accomplish things for the 1st time.

To be honest with you I had never heard of Florida Gulf Coast and believe me I’m not alone, hardly anyone had heard of them. As a matter of fact the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles have only been in Division I for just six years and eligible for the postseason for two. Say What? Yes, this is only the 2nd year they have been eligible to be consideration for the big dance.

Florida Gulf Coast’s success is a surprise to many, but was not a surprise to the 2 seed Miami Hurricane, as Florida Gulf Coast had beat the Canes in November. The success is also no surprise to 2nd year Head Coach Andy Enfield and the crazy group of barely recruited players… their mantra is simply give us a chance and watch us soar like Eagles. Not sure if that’s really their mantra, but it should be.

I love taking morsels of wisdom, as well as life and leadership lessons from stories like Florida Gulf Coast. Below are 7 Leadership Lessons From Cinderella Darling Florida Gulf Coast.

  • 1. Give Me A Chance – This is one of the most overlooked leadership lessons and opportunities. The only thing FGCU asked for was an opportunity to compete, they got their opportunity and they are maximizing every minute of it. Many people on your staff and team are just wanting an opportunity and a chance. Yes they may be a 15 seed, an underdog, too young, under qualified, under experienced… They are saying, if you see just a glimpse of potential, just give me a chance and watch me soar like an Eagle.
  • 2. Have Fun – If you don’t know a thing about basketball, you can look at this FGCU team and see that they are having fun. Whether it’s Senior Guard Sherwood Brown sticking his tongue out as he runs down the court, Comer’s crazy passing, managers and players from the bench doing some version of the chicken dance (The Funky Eagle), or the rest of the team’s college version of “Lob City” in their “Dunk City.”  If you want your team to do well, insert some fun and let them work, lead, act and play free. If you don’t believe me, just look at the Miami Heat (Yes, they are having fun and have won 26 in a row), or Google and it’s fun atmosphere being voted the best place to work several years in a row.
  • 3. Seize The Moment – Although give me a chance is awesome, it’s what you do with your chance that matters. Weak men and women wait for opportunities to arise, strong men and women wake them, make them and seize them.
  • 4. Believe In Your Team – Coach Andy Enfield acknowledges that his team as a bunch of “characters” and also acknowledges that he believes in every one of them. He believes in them enough to subliminally encourage them with their next big game against in-state basketball giant Florida. When asked about Florida, Enfield stated, “We know they can be beaten, but we also have an unbelievable amount of respect for them.” That’s code word for, I believe in my team and we will show you on the court what we can do.
  • 5. Be Aggressive – The Eagles love to push and be aggressive even when the game is tight and on the line. “That’s just our style of play. We want to push the ball down the court and we want to attack, attack, attack… We’re going to be in full attack mode the entire game.”” said point guard Brett Comer, who had 14 amazing assists in the Eagles victory over San Diego State University. If you want to win in whatever it is that you do, you must be smart and you must be aggressive.
  • 6. Love What You Do – The coach and leader must absolutely love what they do, that’s the only way it will carry over to the team members. Eagles Head Coach Andy Enfield, 43, is a former college ball player at Division III Johns Hopkins and was the program’s all-time scoring leader. As a coach Enfield has been known as a shooting guru landing him jobs w/ the Bucks and Celtics in the NBA. Enfield is actually a self-made guy who is married to a super model and who made tons of money on Wall Street leading a software development company. Andy and his wife both gave up their careers so he could pursue what he loves and opportunity to coach. Love what you do and what you do will love you.
  • 7. Success Leads To Success – Andy Enfield may have been an unknown before this tournament, no matter what happens during the rest of the Eagles’ season, Enfield will be at the top of everyone’s coach vacancy list. Success Leads To Success. Those unknown players may find themselves increasing their success stock in the NBA draft or playing overseas. Don’t be frustrated if people are coming after your great players, it’s part of the game. Success Leads To Success. Don’t be mad because your successful team member wants to try new things and pursue new adventures. Success Leads To Success.
Personally, I hope Florida Gulf Coast will win the entire thing…  I think Florida Gulf Coast will win the entire thing. There is just something special about all aspects of this team, it kinda reminds you of a destined Baltimore Ravens team.
What do you think? What leadership lessons have you learned? What do you think the ending will be to this Cinderella Season?

#1 Way Team Members Kill Their Leaders and Organizations

Insulation –  The act of covering, lining, or separating with individuals or materials that prevents or reduces the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat. The act of insulating something.

When it comes to leadership it’s important for the CEO, Executives or Senior leaders to be insulated from many things within the organization. This insulation allows these leaders to lead at a high altitude and not get caught in the monotonous tasks and details that may hinder their leadership.

The same individuals whose purpose is to insulate a leader can be the same individuals that insulate a leader so much that it may become problematic. These individuals become so used to protecting the leader, they end up insulating them from reality and even begin to loose track with what a proper reality even is.

Have you ever seen an organization or leader who has lost track of reality and you wonder how they got there. The way they got there is their insulators provided improper insulation.

These insulators become the enablers that are unwilling to confront things that need to be confronted. These insulators are the same individuals that inadvertently allow leaders to be removed from reality, become yes men, support poor decisions and ultimately contribute to the demise of both the leader and the organization.

It’s important to always check your insulation and sometimes it’s important to get new insulation. That which was designed to protect you may actually be hurting you and your organization. Improper insulation is the #1 Way Team Members Kill Their Leaders and Organizations.

Have you seen improper insulation negatively affect a leader and an organization?

Why Women Make Better Leaders

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences.

21 Things Leaders Need To Stop Doing

As a consultant and someone who has worked in some leadership capacity for about 20 years, let me tell you – I hear many stories of poor leadership. The poor leadership stories aren’t always sexy, but they seem to be more and more prevalent.

Everyone wants to talk leadership, share leadership, quote leadership and read about leadership. There are thousands of leadership books and blogs and lots of discussion about leadership. Leadership is the buzzword for everything and it should be, because everything truly rises and falls with leadership.

Again, as much as I hear people talking about leadership, I tend to hear more Stories Of Poor Leadership than I do Stories of Great Leadership. That is an unfortunate reality. If people in these leadership roles would simply “Stop It!” – maybe, just maybe we would hear more stories of great leadership.

Stop It, Stop It, Stop It – 21 Things Leaders Need To Stop Doing

  • 1. Stop treating your employees like they are just another number and like you own them.
  • 2. Stop leading out of fear and insecurity.
  • 3. Stop thinking your position or title will make people follow you.
  • 4. Stop trying so hard.
  • 5. Stop flexing your little short-man syndrome muscles.
  • 6. Stop taking all of the credit.
  • 7. Stop thinking firing people is the solution to every problem.
  • 8. Stop letting days, weeks & months go by without praise & atta’ boys for team members.
  • 9. Stop thinking you know more than the individuals who work for you.
  • 10. Stop making excuses for not adjusting your style; “That’s just me” doesn’t work.
  • 11. Stop promoting and surrounding yourself with “Yes Men.”
  • 12. Stop being insensitive to your employee’s life outside of your organization.
  • 13. Stop being a fake chameleon, acting different ways with different people.
  • 14. Stop micromanaging.
  • 15. Stop saying you don’t have time or be unwilling to develop other leaders.
  • 16. Stop being unwilling to look, listen, learn, adjust and change.
  • 17. Stop having so many closed-door meetings.
  • 18. Stop complaining and placing blame on others.
  • 19. Stop thinking the bottom line is the only bottom line. (read more here)
  • 20. Stop thinking a little lack of integrity is okay.
  • 21. Stop reading the leadership blogs and books if you’re not going to apply the principles.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, there are thousands of leadership books and blogs at our disposal. The harsh reality as to why there are so many, is they are deeply needed. As people continue to get promoted beyond their capacity, they become disillusioned and believing that positional equity will carry them. Positional equity will only get you so far. Relational equity will get you much farther down the road; unfortunately relational equity can’t occur if people in these leadership roles don’t Stop It – Stop doing these 21 things.

Stop with all of the Leadership Talk and start walking the Leadership walk.

What do you think? What do these leaders need to stop doing? Add to the list and share your stories of poor leadership. 

A Successful Leadership Culture Goes Beyond The Numbers

Leadership success seems to be relatively easy to measure. You look at the numbers, the success, the growth and the bottom line. Those items are half of the equation; however there is another equally important half to the leadership success equation.

If we focus so much on the numbers and bottom line, we can lose focus of the other half of the equation: healthy culture, healthy work environment, healthy people and an environment free from dictator control.

Dictators can have great numbers, great bottom lines and an appearance of success; while their culture is crumbling all around them. Numbers don’t equal success, numbers are only a piece of success. Over the years I’ve heard people say things like, “I know it had an appearance of success, but that place was a crazy place to work… so and so was a dictator etc.” Those are often the places where constant turnover are just par for the course.

The reality is you can have great numbers and a great bottom line, while simultaneously having a great quality of work life, a healthy work environment and an awesome leadership culture. Numbers, productivity and healthy environments are not mutually exclusive.

Since we are talking numbers and culture, according to CNN Money the #1 Search Engine Giant “Google” has also been named as the #1 Best Company To Work For on the list of 100 Best Companies To Work For.

What makes Google so great?

  • The Numbers: Everything was up at Google last year – revenue, profits, share price, paid search clicks, hiring…
  • The Culture: Employee love, health and culture were also up, as the search giant climbed three slots to the top slot for Best Companies To Work For.

Google’s True Bottom Line: Employees rave about their mission, the culture, and the famous perks of the work complex: bocce courts, a bowling alley, eyebrow shaping (for a fee) in the New York office. Then there’s the food: some 25 cafes company-wide, all gratis.

You don’t have to have bowling alley’s, free eyebrow arching etc.; however it’s important that every organization try to understand that A Successful Leadership Culture Goes Beyond The Numbers.

Share your thoughts and experiences.

11 Leadership and Vision Quotes

Leadership and Vision

  • 1. “A leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organization, not as it is, but as it should be.” ~Jack Welch
  • 2. “All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” ~Orison Swett Marden
  • 3. “Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others.” ~David J. Schwartz
  • 4. “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” – Goethe
  • “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” ~John Welch
  • 5. “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants.” — Isaac Newton
  • 6. “Leaders need to be optimists.  Their vision is beyond the present.” ~Rudy Giuliani
  • 7. “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” ~Stephen R. Covey
  • 8. “The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” ~Eric Hoffer
  • 9. “The most elusive and desired quality of leadership is vision. Vision is the perfume of the mind.” ~Harriet Rubin
  • 10. “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” ~Theodore M. Hesburgh
  • 11. “Transmit your vision emotionally by gaining credibility, demonstrating passion, establishing relationships and communicating a felt need. Transmit it logically by confronting reality, formulating strategy, accepting responsibility, celebrating victory and learning from defeat.“ ~John Maxwell

Lead Like A Leaky Faucet

Some leaders are either really hot or really cold. They either lead like a faucet turned on full blast or absent like a faucet in the off position. Leaders should lead like a leaky faucet. Leadership, vision, direction, values and development constantly drip like a leaky faucet.

The value of Leading Like A Leaky faucet is the treasure found in the constant drip. No time to rest after a huge win, because another drip is coming. No time to get down on yourself after a big loss, another drip is coming. If you want to grow, just wait another drip is coming. Looking for vision, a vision drip is around the corner. Need a little reminder of the core values, a value drip is coming.

Drip, Drip, Drip… Lead Like A Leaky Faucet. 

The Nurturing Leader

When people hear the word “nurturing” they tend to think of “mothering.” Their minds go to positive places, delightful places and encouraging places. When people hear the words “Nurturing Leader” their minds may go to a totally different place and think of a leader who is: soft, too nice, a mother figure and a push over.

Lets start by defining nurturing and jump into what being a nurturing leader is all about:

nur·ture [nur-cher] verb, nur·tured, nur·tur·ing.

  • 1. to feed and protect: to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; to bring up; train; educate.

Nurturing Leaders are some of the best kinds of leaders as they are focused on feeding, protecting, encouraging and developing those they lead. They are focused on developing individuals personally, professionally and holistically. They care more about the individual than they do what the individual brings to their organization.

Nurturing Leaders don’t see people as an ends to a means, they see people as a gift to steward, a life to shape, a person to encourage and a leader to release. Just like a mother loves to see her offspring grow, develop and reach amazing heights; the nurturing leader loves to see those they lead grow, develop and reaching amazing heights.

Plain and simple, “Nurturing Leaders” nurture, enhance and develop more leaders.

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences with the concept of a “Nurturing Leader.”
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