Category Archives: Leadership Development
If many leaders took the time to be self-aware and accountable, they would discover so much about how they hamper their credibility and effectiveness in their role.
In today’s world of shifting blame, wanting immediate (though unrealistic) results, and rushing from task to task without deep thought, many leader’s today run into traps that an honest self-assessment and shoring up can avoid. Here are some ways that leaders, and perhaps yourself, may be destroying our credibility as an effective and respected leader:
- Blaming others for a ball dropped on our end
- Not listening to instructions, expectations, feedback, or requests
- Pushing through to get results, or other subtle or overt ways of bullying
- Making hyperbolic claims to generate an emotional response and get a desired outcome
- Having an unrealistic time frame or expectation
- Being frustrated at other’s inefficiency or incompetence when they were not properly trained
- Not communication expectations and being frustrated when they are not met
- Being late, short in tone, or barely engaged in any personal interaction
- Calling others to account for failed performance without having all the facts
For any leader to have any success, they must be able to understand their thoughts and communicate them to everyone in their sphere. They must also come to grips with realism, both within themselves and with others, to ensure they know processes and improvement measures. Great leaders speak plainly, with facts, and take the heat for any missteps on their end. Overall, the best leaders are astute at gathering information, communicating if to everyone involved, and processing the feedback to improve performance, expectations, and processes with maximum engagement and minimal disconnect and confusion.
Determine to build these skills within yourself and watch the impact and turnaround your organization will reap from having a credible and capable leader who can properly process what goes on around them.
I am currently reading a book that is a slow and arduous read for me.
It’s from one of my favorite authors and part of a series he wrote. The book has been a challenge for me to comprehend and digest without concentrated effort. The difficulty is not the vocabulary or content, but the means in which the author describes events that require deliberate thinking and focus. It’s not a book to merely skim through or read for pure pleasure – it reveals in a narrative our own true nature and the struggles we have in this world.
I have a couple of times thought of shelving it in favor of a more easy read, and this is where I stop short and catch myself. If I am to grow in my reading, my leadership, and myself, then I would do well to challenge myself to get the most out of this book and work through it.
My struggle has lent these questions to us all:
How many times have we abandoned a task or goal because it required effort? How have we shortchanged ourselves by not taking on the hard challenges in life?
In looking back on the closing year, where could we have worked harder, tackled difficulties head-on, or built a more steely resolve to grow and learn? Where did we abandon our goals for the sake of comfort, less stress, or easy “low hanging fruit”?
- We can exercise 10 minutes a day to get fit, or 20 minutes to get past the burn factor and make more of an impact in our bodies.
- We can spend 10 more minutes each morning in goal setting, reflection, prayer, and planning instead of sleeping in for those minutes.
- We can approach that person you avoid in order to work out differences and build a better working relationship.
- We can do the thing we fear the most to build incredible momentum and accomplishment in our lives.
As we review these times and look forward to the New Year, let’s use the lesson from my reading and determine to tackle the harder challenges in our lives in order to grow far beyond those token goals that make us feel good but profit us very little.
Challenge yourself today and this year by taking on the harder challenges in your personal and professional life.
Best in 2017 to you all!!
One of the many issues that plague organizations is that leadership doesn’t truly listen to their people.
Companies are generally good at listening to customers, but when it comes to their own people on the front lines, the tendency is to become a little tone deaf and out of touch.
So how can leaders be better at truly listening to their teams? The answer lies in a most unusual place – McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich.
Back in the early 1960’s, as the hamburger chain was gaining momentum in growth, one of their franchisees, Lou Groen of Cincinnati, came to new company owner Ray Kroc with an suggestion. Due to his store being in a predominantly Catholic area, he suffered sluggish Friday sales during lent, when Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays.
Groen proposed selling a fish sandwich on Fridays to counter the slowing sales. He developed the correct formula by looking at what other restaurants sold, did his homework on the numbers, then prepared his pitch.
Kroc was not generally accessible to the franchisees, only a few, and Groen had to jump through many hoops and meetings of upper management to get a portion of Kroc’s time. While Kroc at first balked, complaining that his idea was junk and irritated that Groen was wasting his time. In addition, he said he didn’t want the stores smelling of fish. After balking, he then proposed selling his own meatless burger – a Hula burger w/ grilled pineapple and cheese on a cold bun. After some concession, Kroc said to Groen to sell both and to stick with the one that sold the best. The Filet-o-Fish won effortlessly, far surpassing even Groen’s expectations, and has stayed on the menu ever since. Kroc continued to plug for the Hula Burger for a few more years before retiring it permanently in the late 1960’s.
This story shows the following lessons for leaders to truly listen:
- Understand your people know what they’re talking about. Leaders should never discount what their employees says as they are the closest to the customer.
- Make yourself accessible. The best listeners are accessible listeners. Availing yourself to your people makes you more ready you listen to others.
- Don’t discount an idea pitch that has been worked on. Always listen to the rationale and ask questions to clarify. Understand the other person’s perspective by asking the key questions from their perspective.
- Don’t diminish an idea by being irritated. Always be gracious and open to any pitch given. Being truly professional allows people to feel comfortable asking and presenting you with ideas.
- Don’t stroke your ego with a counter pitch. Great leaders won’t use their own pet project to squelch someone else’s suggestion. Truly listening means letting that person’s idea rise or fall on it’s own merits.
- Know your limitations, and your people’s strengths. Kroc was a great businessman, but a poor culinarian. Many of his franchisees knew what was in the marketplace and created lasting menu items based on trends and tastes, such as the Big Mac about 6 years later by a Pittsburgh franchisee. (Kroc resisted that pitch as well initially.)
- Understand you never know where the next big idea comes from. Leaders who truly listen will listen to wherever that next big thing is pitched from. Listening means to use your people as an extension of your vision and to do what is necessary. It also means giving away control over every decision and project to give your people credit for their innovation.
Truly great leaders are truly great listeners. Use these principles to make yourself a person people feel comfortable bringing ideas to.