Think for a moment about the best boss or mentor you ever had. What traits made him or her so precious? Chances are good that many of those esteemed traits would revolve around how well that boss or mentor helped you to grow as a leader in your own right, offering autonomy, encouragement, and support. Acting as a coach and guide. Giving opportunities to try out new skills, and making sure you succeeded in new ventures. Continue reading
The final implementation date for the customer software was just a few weeks away. The problems were mounting and everyone on the team was putting in long hours. The stress level was high. Maria kept a careful eye on her team members. She began to be concerned about signs she saw in Elizabeth, who was short with her colleagues and was making some errors. Continue reading
Want to give your employees a gift that will last a lifetime? Give them skills that transcend their current job. In fact, give them skills that transcend any one job – that are valued no matter what job they are in. Help them to be the value players no matter where they play. In so doing, you also make them more valuable to you and your own organization, because you benefit from their enhanced abilities in these timeless talents. Continue reading
When you hear something repeatedly put forward as fact, it begins to take on a sacred truth that is hard to disprove: “The world is flat.” “Elephants have uniquely excellent memory.” “Women are more emotional than men.” And another: “Leaders are born, not made.” Continue reading
“A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people.” – John Updike
Teamwork as a cultural norm is crucial, as described in last week’s blog post. But it will never be embedded as a norm if the leaders at the top of the organization are not part of the team. “We’ve got a great team,” said a bank executive. But when irregularities in the company were uncovered, his official statement pointed to underlings who had failed to do their jobs well. Contrast that with the observation of Rajeev Behera, whose Disney division produces game apps for handheld devices, where failure of a product to take hold is common: “Taking responsibility for a failure demonstrates confidence in your ability to move forward from it.” Continue reading
Last week, Anne, the leader of a key division, suddenly became disabled with a serious illness. She was too ill to even think about what was happening at work as she lay in the hospital. As she improved, she began to worry about the deadline that had now passed for completing crucial work on a product rollout. She flashed a text message to one of her team members to ask the status. What she got back was from Frank, one of her colleagues in another division: “Got you covered. All is completed and in order. Peter and I jumped in. Get some rest. We’ll stay on top of it.” Continue reading
Literature on board roles and responsibilities is remarkably consistent in defining crucial priorities and roles for Board Directors. In fact, it’s a lot clearer and more uniform than literature on the crucial priorities and roles of leadership teams – so much so that there is plenty to learn from the literature on Boards that applies directly to your leadership team. Let’s draw some parallels. Continue reading
“I have three millennials on my staff,” said Renee, “and I know they’re restless. I’ve got to give them better development opportunities. For that matter, I’ve got to do it with all my staff. I’m overwhelmed, and they’re eager to do more, but they need some maturing. I just don’t know where to start. Should I send them to a class?” Continue reading
Let’s see if you can find familiar ground in any of these common complaints about your senior leadership team. A senior manager presents the Executive Team with the approach to achieve the company’s most crucial strategy and asks for their blessing to proceed, and….
- Use absolutes. “That has never worked around here.” “We always run into problems with that.” “Everyone is struggling with the new system.”
- Use the exception to define the rule. “We tried that once five years ago, so we know it doesn’t work.”
- Can never finish a sentence on a positive note. “That sounds like a really good idea, but….”
- Weight bad experience more heavily than good experience. “Yes, that process worked most of the time, but when it didn’t work, it created gigantic problems.”
- Always contribute to the ‘cons’ column; never to the ‘pros’.