The Easy Way vs. The Right Way
Leaders must be willing to have tough conversations. But the temptation to find a way to avoid those conversations is strong. If we’re committed, as we should be as leaders, to helping those we lead to succeed then we must be willing to do the hard thing. Here are a few of the common cop outs that we’re tempted to use instead of having a tough conversation:
Continue reading Don’t Cop Out on Good Leadership
Advancement Requires Change
“What got us here won’t get us there” is a truism that applies as we advance from one level of organizational leadership to another. When someone with professional or trade skills does their craft well they may be promoted into leadership roles – often without training in how to lead. The same is true when people are promoted through leadership ranks, say from supervisor, to manager, to VP, to CEO. They are frequently left to figure out on their own what the new role requires. At best, that’s inefficient. At worst, they never figure it out and keep doing what they did before without recognizing the changes required to do their new role well.
Continue reading Bends in the Leadership Pipeline
Rule #1 of Performance Management
Brett was excited about his upcoming 90-day performance review. He knew he had gotten off to a rough start, missing some deadlines and overlooking some important details. But the goals his supervisor, Sherry, had set for the last month were reasonable, and Brett had hit them all. He felt like he had finally hit the stride for success in his job.
So it was quite a shock when Sherry rated his performance as “Unsatisfactory”! How could that be when he had hit all of his goals? Sherry said she was trying to set goals to stretch him to grow, but his “beginner goals” were a fraction of what he really needs to be able to produce. So she raised the bar for the next month with tighter schedules and fewer errors. She even added new goals for things he didn’t know about before. Brett wondered if he could ever be successful in this role. Continue reading No Surprises!
It’s Easier to Do It Myself…
You’re probably good at what you do. That’s why you’re in the position that you’re in. But now you’ve become the bottleneck. How can you possibly find time to do the tasks you’re expert at and lead others?
The answer is…You can’t!
Something Has to Give
As your organization grows, the demands on you also grow. If you want to model the Peter Principle and “rise to your highest level of incompetence” just try doing it all yourself.
So you have a choice. Continue reading Delegate? But I Do It Better!
Authority vs. Individualism
Electricity is a good thing until it electrocutes someone. Authority is like that – a good thing until it’s not.
Not to be political, but the example is too obvious to overlook: America is seeing its founding strengths of freedom and independence morph into an extremist individualism that is hindering our ability to work together and make progress. We’re increasingly unable to trust and unwilling to submit to authorities.
What does that say to us about authority within our organizations? We might like to think our employees’ separate their attitudes about government authority from organizational authority. Maybe. But I suggest the default posture is that authority is authority whether in the home, work, government, or elsewhere. If you want to be seen in a different light, it’s up to you turn on the lamp. Continue reading Being and Being Under Authority
Leveraging the Power of Opposition…
Tensions: Maintain high standards…cut them some slack. Focus on the task at hand…don’t lose sight of the big picture. Be yourself…continually improve yourself. Be consistent…know when to make exceptions.
The Power of Tension
The human thumb is an amazing appendage shared by only a short list of other animals. Its power comes by working in opposition to our other fingers. Imagine how limited we would be if our thumbs just lined up parallel to our other fingers. The tension created by our thumb opposing the other digits creates extraordinary new capabilities.
Good leadership also requires us to harness the tensions produced by opposing ideas. Continue reading Getting the Tension Right
Building Depth by Building Breadth
It’s partly because they are so rare that “overnight success” stories of unicorn company founders attract so much media attention. And all that media attention inspires hordes of other young people who picture themselves on that next magazine cover. I congratulate the fractional percentage of them who make it!
The more common path to success involves developing expertise and gaining experience that increases their value to the organizations they serve. Continue reading Building Bench Depth
Not Just Loving What They Do For You
Love in the Workplace
If you’re looking for advice on workplace romance, this isn’t it.
We’re talking about leadership, so let’s see the connection between leadership and love.
Since both words have numerous definitions, let’s clarify the definitions we’re using here:
Leadership: Helping others reach their full potential. See https://enlumenls.com/defining-leadership-success/ and numerous other articles on this site for a fuller understanding of leadership. If you’re seeking your personal success and the success of your organization, the best way to achieve those is to focus on the success of those you depend on to make them happen.
Love: Making choices to put the good of another ahead of our own. Although many uses of the word “love” emphasize emotions, recognizing love as a choice that results in actions (and sometimes feelings also) puts it into the realm of something we control rather than something that happens to us. I find that to be a far more meaningful use of the word. Continue reading Love Thy Employees
When Strength Becomes Weakness
Your hard work, education, and self-discipline have paid off. Congratulations for rising to a position of authority and leadership! People respect you. Your competence is often sought by others, both within your organization and by others in your industry and even outside your industry.
But now you’ve hit a plateau. The opportunities are there but you can’t seem to grow your organization fast enough to meet the demand. You recognize the bottleneck is leadership. You can’t find enough skillful leaders that you can trust to make good decisions. So every issue gets pushed up to a few very busy people. Maybe it’s only one person: You. Continue reading My Competence Is My Enemy
Leveraging Assignments for Growth
If you’re like most people trying to decide who to assign a task to, you start by identifying who is best equipped to do the job. They’ve done it before, they’ll get it done quicker, and it will take you less time to explain what needs done. It’s a natural starting point, but not necessarily the best ending point for deciding who does what. Continue reading Deciding Who Does What