My 13 year old son had an assignment in a class this week. I was checking his homework online to be sure it was getting done. I came across this submission:
My favorite leader is my dad. He had the courage to influence others by creating a business where he helps everyday citizens become confident with what they do. The business is a non-profit and meets once every month. He brings in some of Fort Wayne’s top leaders and lets them help others.
He is fearless in meeting new people. A few months ago he went to Canada to speak at a university in front of hundreds of people. He has integrity, because he loves doing his job but, he also has the integrity to help others learn and grow as leaders.
He is amazing at communicating. He gets the message out to people, that no matter where they work, no matter if they don’t have a job, they can still be great leaders in their community. When they meet they talk about how to lead others to become leaders. He and my uncle came up with the idea at a coffee shop downtown. They were having a get together, and they said they wanted to have the community grow in leaders. They have been extremely successful and are still working hard to get new leaders in the community.
He has been very supportive of people when they feel they aren’t doing a good enough job at work. He ran the student counsel at Haverhill Elementary, and talked to us about how we can be leaders at school. He would also be glad to come in and talk to our class about leadership sometime. (I gave you his card)
This came at the right time for me. There are times when you can wonder if you make a difference. I was in that spot this week. Then I read this assignment. My son’s words reached not only my head but my heart.
I am grateful for my son, and I am humbled that he sees this in me. I am grateful for my great team at work. I am grateful for my brother and the work we are privileged to do together. I am grateful for a community of leaders here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Photo: my son with our Romanian “daughter” (exchange student)
I have been reading the new book, The CEO Next Door, by Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell. In today’s reading, I came across the phrase “become of detective.” The context of this speaks of when a leader is trying connect with their team, stakeholders, board members, customers, etc. Becoming a detective means to work to truly understand the other person’s perspective so great decisions can be made and meaningful directions can be set and navigated.
So what do the authors state as the key elements of becoming a detective?
- Ask questions. Become curious. Asking versus telling will help you learn so much more about the other person’s values, needs, wants, concerns, etc.
- Engage intellectually. No simple patronizing nods. Ask more probing questions. Follow up. Follow through.
- Listen. Engaging intellectually means you are actively listening and asking great questions based upon what you have heard. Listening communicates to the other person you are investing in them – right now.
- Gather information to understand. Don’t make decisions in a vacuum. Your actions of asking/listening are the vital part of your information gathering. And all of that should lead to better understanding the situation.
- Harness what matters to them. Nothing frustrates customers/team members more as when a leader appears to have listened and then acts in a way that seems to ignore all of the previous interactions. If you truly want to connect with your customers/team members, harness what matters to them based upon your interactions with them.
This book will be available at the first of March. I received my copy through LeaderBox. Or you can follow this link to pre-order your copy today. It’s worth the read!
If you lead a team, you are coaching (or, at least, I trust that you are). I just gave a presentation this morning on why coaching is so important for our team members. I also shared the following on what happens to the COACH when he/she becomes a better:
- Your reputation improves in your company.
- Your influence expands on your team and in your company.
- Your voice/opinion is respected on your team and with your colleagues.
- Your future will reveal more opportunities for you.
There is no down side to working hard at becoming a better coach. Yes, your team members will become better, but YOU have benefits when you commit yourself to becoming a better coach.
Remember: “You influence from a distance. You impact up close.” Dwight Robertson
Commit to impact. You will create a better world around you.