Leadership Is Not What We Think It Is

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Reading time: 2 min.

Leadership is not what we usually think it is:

Leadership is not being the decider-in-chief. But the leader sometimes needs to make decisions for the group.

Leadership is not commanding and controlling. But the leader usually needs to hold people accountable and sometimes needs to tell people what to do, how to do it, and when.

Leadership is not taking on the burden of everyone’s work. But the leader assists the people and the team as they learn to deliver desired results.

Leadership is not valued for the work the leader does but for the results of others. But the leader sometimes needs to do work only she can do.

Leadership is not about setting the course. But the leader must ensure compelling goals are in place, relevant, understood, and guiding actions.

Leadership does not follow scripts; no two leadership situations are the same. But the leader will apply tested tools and models and keep learning.

Leadership is not about being popular or liked. But the leader will develop strong, enduring relationships via mutual respect and trust (and will end up well liked, usually).

Leadership is not about knowing the answers. But the leader will listen well and rely the group to know or find out the answers.

Leadership is not about building a fiefdom. But the leader will actively attract, hire, and retain the good people she wants to work with.

Leadership is the act of building and maintaining an environment where others get the right things done well together. Surely, good leader, you can excel here.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: U.S. Embassy London cc

super

We Change Everything

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
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When we raise our buzz, we can change an encounter, a team meeting, an entire company, or even a life for the better just by our presence. Buzz running high, we become certain of their ability to do good and great work regardless of prior success or failure. We let ourselves follow our curiosity about how they will do it and how it will all unfold. Then, lo, they do it and it all unfolds better than any of us could have planned.

Never underestimate your ability to change everything.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Note I didn’t say we can make people change. Nor do we need to do very much.

Today’s photo credit: Nancy <I’m gonna SNAP! cc

wise

Good Leadership, Wise Business

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Will=Our inner game
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The sages tell us that there are only two reactions to anything: fear or love. Nothing else. So if we catch ourselves feeling bad or trying to attack, avoid, complain, or criticize anything, we are in fear.

The solution to whatever we fear is to love it. This does not mean we should accept something that is unacceptable. It means that we are to pause and wait for a better-feeling, more love-centered solution than attack, avoid, etc. (This works wonderfully well, by the way.)

At work, this looks a lot like good leadership and wise business practices.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: merec0 cc

change

You Change First

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Changing an organization is hard. But change in our organizations is near impossible if we, as leaders, don’t change ourselves first.

Changing ourselves is simple (but not easy), though. We start by asking, “Who do I need to be so that the organization can change as desired?”

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: m.a.r.c. cc

hands in

Leadership Is Not (Really) About Getting Stuff Done

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Getting angry, pushing, directing, pleading, blaming, or doing the tasks ourselves are sure signs that we have fallen into into the trap of thinking that our job as leaders is to make others get stuff done.

Our job is to build an environment for others to get stuff done. We want the team to take charge, select the best stuff to do, then get it done together, well, and on time. And so we use tools like vision and goals, coaching and encouragement, just the right amount of structure, listening, team building, team process, and the hiring of smart, driven, and nice people.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: AGB in AR cc

soar

Cause Their Performance To Soar

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Communicating our belief in others’ ability to accomplish something–even if it’s difficult, even if they’ve never done it before–is an essential leadership talent.

Such a vote of confidence awakens their talents, increases their engagement, and causes their performance to soar.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Part of the trick is not thinking that we are being merely delusional.

 

photo credit: Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, AMS via photopin (license)

we are the leaders

We Are The Leaders

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We are the leaders. More than half of the successes and failures of our organizations are down to us as leaders. Our organizations–whether they succeed or struggle–are mirrors of our leadership.

We are the leaders. Leadership is the edge that we hone. This is where we find the leverage we need slay the dragons, win clients’ hearts, and do compelling work.

Yes, some of the things that go wrong are “their fault.” But we have to change first. We are the leaders.

 

In your corner,

Mike
Today’s photo credit: www.ubikwit.net cc

bz

They Will Show Us How Well We Are Leading

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Look at their eyes. If their eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it.

– Benjamin Zander
Conductor, Boston Philharmonic

We can tell how well we are leading because the people we’re leading will show us. Are they terrified, checked-out, overwhelmed, or whinging? Then we had better pull up our socks.

Or are their eyes shining? Are they happy, engaged, ready, and positive? Then well done us!

Lead on.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Pop!Tech cc

compass

Knowing When To Lead Differently

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We nimble leaders have four ways to lead. We can conduct, coach, collaborate, or convene. We select a way to match the situation:

  • We conduct in emergencies and when others need to build competence (when we need to show them how).
  • We coach when others need to build confidence, build capacity, and when we no longer want to do a particular chunk of work ourselves.
  • We collaborate when the problem or its solutions are bigger than any of us.
  • We convene to give great people a structure for success lest they trip over each other and tumble into politics or chaos.

Of course, there are many times when we will use two, three, or four of these at once.

Lead on.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Theresa Thompson cc