This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you some things to think about.
A leader who is afraid is not weak!
Fear is not a word that is associated with leadership. More often it is its antonym, fearless, that anoints a list of favorable leadership traits.
Fear [feer] noun:
1)a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of
Yet, show me a leader that has no fear and I will argue that this is a leader who is either not pushing him or herself or the organization forward, or is a leader that is failing to properly identify the inherent risks of their actions.
A Struggle With Fear
In my profession, I work with a lot of business leaders. Our relationship starts with a focus squarely on growth. However as it evolves and trust deepens, inevitably the discussion begins to include their struggle with fear.
It amazes me to see the confusion in their eyes when I first tell them that being afraid is good.
That fear signals a leader who is taking action and is pushing past his or her comfort zone either personally or organizationally.
We do our business leaders a disservice when as a society we vilify vulnerability. When we force our leaders to suppress feelings of fear, doubt and anxiety, there are only two possible outcomes and neither is good for the business or the individual.
The first is stagnation.
The status quo is known, and a leader who does not want to confront fear, doubt or anxiety, will seek its comfort. They will avoid risk and fail to take action. Grasping at the known poisons the well of growth.
The other result is something we see far too often, executive stress and burnout.
Internalizing fear, doubt and anxiety is a heavy burden to bear. When their existence is frowned upon, viewed as weakness or counter to good leadership behavior, what options exist? None, so they are suppressed and manifest themselves in high blood pressure, insomnia and a myriad of other stress related afflictions.
Let’s be honest. Fear is around every corner. There is the fear for one’s job, the fear of not providing for all those dependent upon your leadership and of course the fear of making a wrong decision.
In my work with family businesses, in addition to the above they also deal with issues such as being afraid to let down mom or dad, impugning the family legacy, or failing to sustain the business for the next generation. Business is scary!
What is wrong with accepting that as a fundamental truth and outing the fear, doubt and anxiety that faces any conscientious business leader?
Read the rest here: http://linked2leadership.com/2015/05/20/leadership-fear-weakness/
About 9 months ago, the manager of my call center resigned. Since that team is under my jurisdiction, I assumed the direct leadership of this team until I could hire a new manager. After I found the new manager, I stayed on this floor. Prior to all of this, my office was in the VP row in the other building on our corporate campus.
I asked our facility guy to find a small table for me to use. I created a mobile workstation that allows me to work anywhere on the floor where my entire team us housed. I’ve moved to 3 different locations in 9 months. My team calls my desk “Jim’s RV”.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far by making this move:
1. I really enjoy working around my team. They’re funny and upbeat.
2. My team is really good at what they do. They’re not perfect. But they know their stuff and are highly dedicated to our business.
3. I hear things I never would hear by working in a different building. Some good. Some not so good. I’ve stopped misconceptions in their tracks. I’ve stopped gossip. I’ve clarified the mission we’re all on.
4. I’ve learned a lot. I’m back in the weeds a bit. Our technology has evolved a lot. I’m catching up.
5. I’ve modeled customer service. My team needs to see and hear me do this.
6. I’ve caught folks in the act of doing great things and immediately recognized them for their results.
7. I’ve had hundreds of questions asked that I don’t think would have come to me due to “out of sight, out of mind.”
8. It’s a good thing for all of my staff to see me, hear me as a real person and not just a title.
9. I have been able to hold them accountable to our standards.
10. I am more energized coming in to work. I love my staff.
“Culture will only be as healthy as senior leadership wants it to be.” @BillHybels
“People only change out of necessity and only recognize necessity in crisis.”
Except for Sam Walton.
So how can you become the next Walton and defy your short-sighted Darwinian scripts?
Follow two simple steps:
Step 1. Practice a technique that Clinical Psychologists call “letting the phone ring.” In this exercise, you literally refrain from answering the phone the next time it rings, and subsequently only answer it every third or fourth time. Soon, you will learn that the world doesn’t end when you ignore the here-and-now urgency of the phone, and are on your way to generalizing that principle to realize that many pressing demands on your time are not as urgent as they seem. This realization frees up time for you think about step number two
Step 2. Dream up, then carry out many small, quick experiments in changing your organization. Marvin Minsky, legendary father of Artificial Intelligence, said: “When you don’t know what to do, do lots of things.” This process of rapid trial and error on a small scale—embraced by Walmart from its beginning—is what changing before you need to change is all about. Because each of your experiments is small, it will not detract from the urgency of your “day job.”
After many such experiments, a few big wins will emerge, laying new paths for you, your employees and your company.
This technique of exploring many quick and dirty new ways of doing things may not seem to constitute visionary leadership, but it really, really……..really does.
Effective visionaries are rarely clairvoyant. Rather they get to the future faster than their contemporaries through Walton’s rapid trial and error process, and, along the way stumble upon big wins.
The great French mathematician, Henri Poincare, described the technique of creating many opportunities, then looking amongst them for the big innovations this way:
“To invent is to discern, to decide.”
Big wins that change organizations for the better rarely pop out of our brains throughproactive thought. Rather, after implementing many new ideas, our brains observe then react to the best of the concepts and turn them into big wins.