Making Clear What’s Really Important
Paul felt his staff’s productivity was being hampered by constant disruptions from other staff members. So he made it a standing agenda item at his weekly staff meetings to remind everyone to consider the impact on the other person before interrupting. Was the issue urgent enough to justify the disruption? He offered tips each week, like collecting non-urgent disruptions and handling them all at once instead of interrupting for each one; or using email instead of text messages if an immediate response wasn’t necessary.
After a couple of months, Paul was frustrated that he wasn’t seeing much change.
Continue reading The Power of Informal Communication
…Or Just Wish You Wanted to Change?
The prologue to the award-winning musical, Into the Woods, starts off with the key characters reciting things they wish for, like this stanza by Jack’s mother:
I wish my son were not a fool.
I wish my house was not a mess.
I wish the cow was full of milk.
I wish the house was full of gold-
I wish a lot of things…
Wishing is one thing; wanting it enough to take action is something different. Pursuing what we really want is hard because it requires us to change. Continue reading Do You Really Want to Change…?
How to Lead by Listening
Listening to a good jazz trio or quartet can be an amazing experience. There is a sense of spontaneous flow that somehow fits together to generate a unique and powerful experience. Jazz musicians can teach us several important leadership lessons: Continue reading Playing by Ear
When “Just Do It” Isn’t Enough
Leaders tend to be smart people. That’s the problem. With an abundance of our own good ideas and answers, it’s hard to give others a meaningful role in our endeavors.
Our education-rich culture leads us to expect followers to flock to us if we simply reveal our wisdom. Sometimes short-term evidence affirms that idea. People get excited by our vision and imagine themselves in the picture. But eventually their energy wanes as they realize our vision lacks room for their ideas.
Continue reading Compliance vs. Commitment
Gaining Power by Giving It Away
In his 1980 book, Culture’s Consequences, social psychologist Geert Hofstede defines Power Distance as one of four dimensions that distinguish one national culture from another. Hofstede would argue that these dimensions don’t apply to organizational cultures, but I believe they do.
Continue reading Power Distance
Leveraging Your Personal Values
Our guest blogger, Andrew, is currently serving as an intern at enLumen Leadership Services. Andrew wrote this article about his older brother, Timothy, who continually inspires Andrew toward excellence as he pursues his career in the music industry.
Timothy was nineteen when he landed the job in Community Care, a public relations branch at Action Property Management Company. Typical kid, typical entry-level job. What set Timothy apart were the values behind his work ethic. Timothy is the sort of person who will not rest until he has done the best, most efficient job possible. From day one, he demonstrated this through his tireless pursuit of excellence at Action. Continue reading Success From the Start
From Institutions to Networks
Leadership is fundamentally about using pooled resources to achieve some purpose. The narrative behind traditional organizational leadership goes something like this:
That approach has served us well for several generations. But as has oft been said, “what got us here won’t get us there”. Continue reading The Changing Narrative of Leadership
Diagnosing Obstacles to Performance
In his book, Hills, Skills, and Wills: How to Improve Yours (and Others) Performance, Michael J. Ayulo identifies three categories of obstacles that hinder a person’s performance. As the title suggests, he labels them as hills, skills, and wills. These are useful handles to put on some important distinctions.
If I go to the doctor with a serious illness, it’s important that the doctor diagnose the cause of my illness correctly. Otherwise, the treatment he proposes may not work or might even make things worse. The same is true in diagnosing a performance problem. Continue reading Hills, Skills, and Wills
Wait ’til Tomorrow!
Three generations. Global cultures. Diverse values. Blending them together for a common goal? Leadership today is tough. What if you had to knit together four generations of even more multi-cultural, more diverse values? That’s what our next generation of leaders has to look forward to. Millennial values are no more permanent than those of any previous generation, although no one knows yet what the values of the Millennial+1 generation will be. Continue reading If You Think Leading Today Is Tough…
Tapping Into the Values of a New Generation
By some definitions, Adolf Hitler was a leader. So were Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot. But would you have chosen to follow them?
The most fundamental characteristic of a leader is the presence of followers. You might be a manager or an entrepreneur, but until you have followers, you’re not leading. Continue reading Future-Focused Leadership