The Best Leader

I just received a copy of David Cottrell’s book “The Magic Question“.  In perusing it today, I came across the following that got my attention:

“The team with the best leader usually wins…The best leaders understand how to lead others toward a common goal. They are competent and passionate, trustworthy, creative, and humane (hey, those words sound familiar, eh?)…the Gallup organization found that the single most important variable in employee productivity is the quality of the relationship between employees and their direct supervisors. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman put it this way: ‘What people want most from their supervisors is the same thing that kids want most from their parents: someone who sets clear and consistent expectations, cares for them, values their unique qualities, and encourages and supports their growth and development.’”

In its simplest form, leadership comes down to answering six key questions your team members are always asking (whether you hear them or not). These questions are the same regardless of team members’ gender, generation, background or position:

  1. What is REALLY important?
  2. How am I doing?
  3. How is our team doing?
  4. Do you care?
  5. What difference do we make?
  6. Are you worth following?

As a leader, your goal is to become the kind of leader who earns the right to ask your team members, “How can I help?”

The Importance of a Strong Leadership Team by Bill Hogg

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Over the years of working as a leadership consultant with leaders from all types of organizations, there is no doubt that transformative leaders have something in common. Great leaders are only as strong as the support system they put into place around them.

Strong leaders have strong teams to support them

Great organizations don’t have ivory towers occupied by leadership. They understand the importance of taking a team approach and the risks associated with unilateral leadership. The leaders at the top of your organization cannot exist in a vacuum — isolation at the top can significantly hurt top level decision making and business strategy.

Strong leaders have strong support teams to assist them — not a team of yes men. Strong leadership teams are comprised of individuals who each have a unique voice, diverse skill sets and are not shy to challenge leaders. Two (or more) heads are always better than one, especially for making impactful business decisions.

Tips for choosing a leadership team

Having an inner circle of people who defer to what you ultimately think is right is short-sighted. You need to surround yourself with a strong team that will make you better as a leader.

Here are some tips to consider when choosing your leadership team:

* Recruit strong individuals
* Strength of character is more important than skills — you can teach skills
* Surround yourself with people who have a collection of diverse skills and experience — you need people who will be able to fill a variety of roles and take on different responsibilities
* Make sure that your leadership is firmly onboard with company culture and your vision
* Make sure they have confidence in their own opinions and viewpoints and are prepared to debate the issues based on the merits
* Watch for people who are too eager to join your inner circle –and seem too willing to adapt quickly to fit in — they may have ulterior motives

Once you have chosen your team members, your job is to align them toward a common goal. Utilize each member in the most effective way, employing their unique skills. Allow them to be active participants and voice their opinions, and watch them flourish.

Benefits of a strong leadership team

Read the rest here:  http://customerthink.com/the-importance-of-a-strong-leadership-team/

How did it get to be ‘OK’ for people to be late for everything? by Greg Savage

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This post may offend some readers, recruiters or not. But only because it’s going to cut close to the bone for many.

And I don’t care if I sound old-fashioned, because actually it’s nothing to do with ‘fashion’ or ‘generation’. It’s got everything to do with basic good manners and respect for other people.

So here goes… How did it get to be “OK” for people to be late for everything?

Because as far as I am concerned, it’s not OK.

In recent years it seems that a meeting set to start at 9 am, for some people means in the general vicinity of any time which starts with the numeral ‘9’. Like 9.30 for example.

People drift in at 9.10 or 9.20, or even later. And they smile warmly at the waiting group, as they unwrap their bacon sandwich, apparently totally unconcerned that others have been there since five to nine, prepared and ready to start.

10 people kept waiting in a meeting for 20 minutes, while some selfish pratt who idles his way via the coffee shop, is actually 20 minutes times 10, which is 200 minutes wasted – while you keep us waiting because you did not catch the earlier bus. That is over 3 hours wasted. By you! How much has that cost the business? Shall I send you an invoice?

And an arrangement to meet someone for a business meeting at a coffee shop at 3 pm, more often than not means at 3.10 you get a text saying ‘I am five minutes away’ which inevitably means 10 minutes, and so you wait for 15 or 20 minutes, kicking your heels in frustration.

And often these ‘latecomers’ are people who have requested the meeting in the first place, are asking for your help, or are selling something. Fat chance mate!

And of course this has massive application to the recruitment industry, where lateness is both commonplace and hugely damaging to your personal and corporate brand.

And it’s not only business.

Why do people, invited for a dinner party at 7.30, think its cool to arrive at 8.30? It’s rude. It’s inconsiderate. And it’s selfish, as I witnessed in a coffee shop near my home one weekend. Three “ladies who lunch” (a species not confined to, but heavily represented on, the lower North Shore of Sydney) were chatting loudly at the table next to me. One inquired what time the ‘drinks do’ was that night. The reply for all the world to hear was ‘Oh 7.30, but we won’t get there till 9 because by then it will have warmed up and all the interesting people will have arrived’. Nice. Imagine if everyone took that view. Cocktail parties would start at 3 am eventually.

Or a dinner at a restaurant where I was meeting two other couples. My wife was away, so I was flying solo. I arrived at two minutes to eight for an eight o’clock booking. At 8.20, I was into my second glass of Pinot and at half-past I got a text saying ‘on the way’. We finally were all seated at 8.45. There were not even attempted excuses from either of the two couples, who seemed oblivious to the fact I might actually have got there at the agreed time. Meanwhile I had put a huge dent in the bottle of Pinot, and was ready to go home.

And it is not that we lead ‘busy lives’. That’s a given, we all do, and it’s a cop out to use that as an excuse. It’s simply that some people no longer even pretend that they think your time is as important as theirs. And technology makes it worse. It seems texting or emailing that you are late somehow means you are no longer late.

Rubbish.

You are rude. And inconsiderate.

Read the rest here: http://gregsavage.com.au/2010/06/07/no-you-are-not-%E2%80%98running-late%E2%80%99-you-are-rude-and-selfish/

7 Things Great Leaders Do to Be Courageous by Erik Sherman

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In the Harvard Business Review, Julie Irwin, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, examines the dangerous myth of absolute loyalty to a leader. Not only are there many examples of people having been led astray, but such fealty presumes that a leader has all the answers and is the most important aspect of the organization.

As Irwin notes, nothing could be further from the truth. Investing that degree of deference and assumption of omniscience is dangerous and has created such disasters as Enron and the financial meltdown that brought on the Great Recession.

Rampant ego helps create such an unhealthy atmosphere, certainly. But so does fear. People find themselves in an executive position, buy into this ridiculous model of the perfect leader, and then fear that they will fail and be found out. The fear then drives dysfunctional behavior.

When I co-authored The Everything Leadership Book, 2nd Edition, the topic of fear among leaders and followers was something that repeatedly rose up. Not a surprise, if you think about it, because fear is one of the major aspects of emotional life. However, you can lead in a way that minimizes fear and eventually supplants it. Here are seven practices of great leadership that you can adopt to begin changing everything.

Embrace the intelligence of the team

Smart leaders recognize that no one can know everything. Instead, they look for and welcome intelligence in team members. You want a variety of experiences and bodies of knowledge to bring to bear on the organization’s goals. Encourage people to be smart and active in planning and execution.

Give people authority and responsibility

You can’t know everything and you can’t do everything. Micromanagement never makes sense when you can train people and then depend on them. Team members need responsibility to grow and have a good relationship to the organization and they need the authority to undertake the responsibility.

Read the rest here:  http://www.inc.com/erik-sherman/7-things-great-leaders-do-to-be-courageous.html

Follow Up…it makes a difference by Jim Johnson

I attended a meeting this morning where a manager (not one of my direct reports) shared a frustration with a staff member of his.  This employee would often “forget” to get something done – sometimes something fairly important.  This manager asked for suggestions that would help him coach more effectively.  A few suggestions were floated around:  “You need to find out why they forget these things.”  “Maybe they’re not clear on what you want.”  etc.

I had a suggestion but kept quiet in the meeting.  I’m not sure why I did.  I was a guest of this group.  Perhaps I didn’t want to impose my thoughts where they might not have been welcome.  I also could have left it there.

But I didn’t.

I later called the manager.  In fact, we just finished chatting.  I shared some specific ideas he could use today to move this forgetful employee towards improvement.  We already have some great coaching tools and technology he could use today.  We had a very good talk, and he ended our conversation by thanking me for my “insights” into management.

I’ve not interacted with this young man before.  I enjoyed our talk.  I could hear the passion in his voice.  I could sense his wanting this employee to grow beyond this stage of forgetfulness.  I appreciated his desire to help others grow and develop.  I wouldn’t mind having this leader on my team!

I would have missed all of this had I not acted and followed up with him.

This post is simply an encouragement to act on intuition.  As a leader, you have experience to offer others.  Act.  Get involved.  Follow up.  It’s worth it.