Category Archives: Leadership

Keeping Yourself Accountable

One of the most important concepts for leaders to personify is the willingness for to accept accountability.

Too many times the concept of accountability is a very one-sided mindset. Leaders should hold their people accountable, that’s for sure, but it goes far beyond that. In order for any organization to have full trust, engagement, and synergy, each leader themselves must be open to being held to account for their actions and attitudes.

The book “The Oz Principle” brought accountability in organizations to the front of the list and was correct in doing so. But as with any leading thought, if not fully brought into practice, and not just vogue, these principles will cease to have an impact of any lasting effect.

In my article for Smart Brief on Leadership last year entitled “Leadership Accountability – A Positive, Simple Approach“, one of the themes I identified was for leaders to have a willingness to be held accountable in all things.

At the core of every leadership impropriety is the lack of willingness for a leader to be held accountable. Whether individuals like Bill Ackman’s failure on the Board of Directors at JC Penny or leadership teams such as Enron’s, leaders must show themselves available to be held to standards of behavior and conduct.

My first conscious thought of this concept was early in my career when I needed to redirect a shift supervisor whose performance was tanking. I noticed he was getting heavy hearted during my part of the conversation, in which I stopped and changed my tone. “Domingo, tell me honestly, am I being a jerk?” “No, Paul,” he replied. “You’ve always been straight with us, and if this is an issue then I need to fix it.” I followed with “I want you and your team to let me know if I’m ever unreasonable or if you don’t agree with me. We’re on the same team and need to work together.” What resulted was a tremendous turnaround in Domingo’s performance; not because I addressed his opportunities but because I was willing to be given feedback on my performance as their leader. This allowed him to have a voice in work matters and broke down any barriers to trust and intentions.

The reasons for willing leadership accountability are simple and clear:

  • Everyone is accountable for their performance and behavior, leaders as well
  • Trust is solidified
  • Integrity is founded
  • Teamwork prospers
  • Open communication develops
  • Meaningful connections in the workplace are established

The greatest leaders are not the ones with the best results, or the enduring legacy of culture.  They are the most respected in their industry, among those they come in contact with. They are known to serve, develop others, be humble, and be teachable – all of these have their roots in being accountable to everyone around them. While they hold their people accountable, they allow themselves to be held to the same standard, and sometimes even a higher one.

Choose to be accountable in order to be your best for yourself, your people, and your organization.

(image: pixabay)

#ThursdayThought – Born To Work

I love leisure time. Most people do.

Playing strategy board games, watching movies (especially those of French director Jacques Tati), reading, hiking and golfing are the activities I look forward to.

And while my leisure actives give me joy and keep me well-rounded, there is always a longing afterwards for the one thing we all need – meaningful work. As I understand that in myself, I’m sure most of us do as well.

Work may seem like a curse, but it’s actually a blessing.

A great article from Fit For Work shows the benefits of working and why the need to work is innately manifested in all of us.

Work provides not only income, but meaning. Our lives and identity are tied to what we do – parent (which is the most meaningful work!), pastor, manager, elected official or volunteer. What we produce is a reflection of who we are, how we feel and what we’re good at.

When lack of employment becomes reality, there are two roads to take. Work in some capacity – produce, volunteer, fix up the house or invent something – or stay disengaged from being productive.

People who retire and continue to be productive have been shown to live longer lives. An article in Harvard Business Review discusses that being engaged after retirement helps keep your mental and physical faculties sharper and more intact.

If my uncle Pret is any indication, working is the key to a purposeful life.

Enjoy the ability to work. If you’re out of work, become productive and find ways to contribute. Don’t begrudge the need for meaningful work. It’s the main purpose to what defines us.

(image: pixabay)

Are Your Employees Safe By You?

In the last 2 weeks we have been witness to an incredible economic impact due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A large number of businesses have closed or had their sales drastically drop and multitudes of people have been terminated, laid off or simply have no work available, as businesses struggle to survive.

Many leaders such as small business owners are also struggling to survive as the business that is their livelihood is threatened as well.

And some leaders who have had to scale back their employees have opted to take a hit themselves by reducing their salaries significantly. And a handful are simply not taking a salary at all.

Here are a couple of examples of leaders who have taken that sacrifice to make their people feel secure:

Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle cuts own salary to $10K, retail employees receive regular pay

6 CEO’s Who Are Foregoing Salaries to Support Their Businesses and Employees

While it’s great to see many business owners, leaders and executives sacrifice on behalf of their staff and company, there are still those leaders who have cut back staff and not taken any reductions themselves.

These types of leaders pose the question about their culture and your leadership:

Are Your Employees Safe By You?

The video below from a TED Talk by Simon Sinek describes the type of leadership in where people feel safe becuase the sacrifice of the leader becomes the focus of how to protect the group as a whole.

It is during these times of hardship that the survival instinct of people come to the forefront, and shows the true character of a person and their leadership.

While this flies in the face of so-called conventional leadership wisdom and application, time have changed and so has what business is all about.

And there is evidence from economists and business that this sacrificial attitude should be more prevalent. An article in Forbes last week outlined the reasons that CEOs should take pay cuts before firing workers, and Harvard Business Review outlined why this coronavirus crisis should not have to lead to lead to layoffs.

As a family would feel safe by the parent that protects the children that rely on them, or the military platoon by their commander, a leader in any organization must ensure that their people feel safe.

Even if there are hard decisions that need to be made that affect the people under their charge, if the leader doesn’t also sacrifice then the capacity of those people to trust and follow after the crisis is over is essentially gone.

A leader’s main purpose is to work to make their employees feel safe in every circumstance. Sometimes if takes a great deal of sacrifice from the leader to make their employees feel safe by them.

The type of leader you are is determined by your people’s level of safety and trust in your putting yourself on the front lines as well?

It’s most likely the one thing that will be your organization, and yourself, through this current crisis.

(image: pixabay)

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