Category Archives: Leadership

leadership lost

“Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”
― Beth Revis

 

You may have heard about the recent event on United Airlines that resulted in having a passenger forcibly removed from a plane.   It was an event that you’d think would never happen unless that passenger was threat to others or the plane.  In this case it was just someone unfortunate enough to be “randomly” selected to give up their seat to an United employee.

The event is a great lesson in leadership or the lack of leadership.  Years ago a great experiment was conducted, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” which demonstrated that just following the rules can lead to unwelcome outcomes.  Something similar happened when the gate agents followed their rules and asked for some help from the security contingent.   The security team decided to forcibly remove the passenger (just doing their job).   In the process of removing the passenger, the passenger was injured.   As it turns out people will conform to their roles and act accordingly.

When leadership doesn’t empower their employees to provide great customer service they rely on the rules, rules that don’t take into consideration the meaning and real value of the people who are to be served.

What would need to change for United to be a customer focused organization?

 

Advertisements

what real leadership is about

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”
― Lao Tzu

SONY DSC

Real leaders are rare.  Far too common are the people who insist they are leaders because they want the title, or they want power or they want control, but these people are not leaders.

Leaders care for people and we’ve seen stories about people in positions of power discard people because the bottom line is what they thought they were leading.

Take a look at NextJump an organization that is intentional about real leadership.  Organizations that lead from the heart lead better than organizations that lead from the bottom line.   Another organization that is leadership focused is Barry-Wehmiller and is an example other companies could learn from.

Leadership begins with the human heart and being deeply concerned about the welfare of others.  Do you work in an organization that cares about the employees?   How do they do that?

Take a look at this video by Simon Sinek, listen to the story of real leadership in action.   Imagine working for a company who put you first, imagine what that would be like.

five ways to lead better

“As we live out of such a mind, we become generous, with no sense of tolerance. We become patient, with no sense of putting up with anything. We become compassionate, with no sense of separation. And we become wise, with no sense of having to straighten anyone out.” 
― Steve Hagen

Growth

Leadership means something different to just about everyone you meet.  Some people have the title of leader and believe they are.  Some don’t have a title to lead, they just do.    John Maxwell, a leadership master, has written over 70 books on leadership, and yet we are still debating what leadership is and what a leader is.

So, what can be done to lead better, to lead effectively and lead others near and far from you?  Let’s look at five ways to lead better.

1. Let go.  Leadership is about letting go of control.  It is about letting others contribute.  As a leader ask others what they are thinking and instead of judging their thoughts give their thoughts life.  How would you take that idea and make it bigger?  Value the contributions of others.

2.  Listen more.  Listen always.  Be the first to listen and the last to speak.  What do you really hear?   What is being said that isn’t being spoken?   What is on the hearts of the people?   Listen to what is being said between the words.

3. Be vulnerable.   The last thing that some leaders want to reveal is their own weaknesses as they are hiding behind their own insecurities as a leader.  They believe if people really knew who they are they wouldn’t be in the position they are in.  The lack of vulnerability disables the full contribution of the followers.   They will do as commanded, but rarely do more than that.

4. Be open.  Sometimes leaders feel that they have to be “right” all of the time.  Being right shuts down the contributions others can make.   Why would you contribute if you knew your ideas wouldn’t be valued?  Leaders who have to be right disable the contributions of others.

5. Invite others in.  Sometimes leaders believe things just have to get done and they get it done.  Visions are cast in close quarters and given to the followers.  Decisions are made, directives delivered and pronouncements made.  The more a leader does things in isolation the less the leader is leading.  Let others give voice to ideas, visions and direction to initiatives and embrace the rich variety of creative energy that can be obtained from inviting others in.

What can you do to be a better leader?

your work matters

“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”
― Aldous Huxley

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Imagine working for a company that wants to make work exciting, fun and challenging while offering top quality service and yet not all companies care about their people, those both inside and outside the business.  There are organizations that value their staff and the result is that the employees desire to do their best for their customers and for the company.

Recently I’ve come across a number of people who are being bullied within their company, micro-managed and intimated by threat or coercive pressures by poor management practices.  The bully doesn’t belong as a leader or manager in any company and yet they find a way to maintain a position of power in their organization.     Results matter and how they are achieved matter as well.

There are some companies that boost results and have better ways to manage people and better ways to get results as well.

Take a look at these values, what do you think?   Is it a top company?  Does this company value its employees and customers?

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

What company do you think has these values as part of their business structure?

The company that has these values is Zappos.   Is this an organization you’d like to work for?

What kind of organization do you want to be a part of?   What kind of culture would you fit best into?

the best place to work

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”
― Marvin J. Ashton

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Do you work for an organization that would be characterized as a “best place to work”?   Do you feel motivated to come to work?  Do you feel like there is a clear path of advancement?   Are your skills and talents being used?   Is the company ethical in all aspects?   How would you describe your place of work?

Great places to work don’t just happen, they are created, they require great leaders.   Great companies have great cultures.   Great cultures reflect great values.   If your values are not in complete alignment with the values of the company there is going to be some cognitive dissonance that you’ll experience and that may impact your ability to thrive.  Do you own the values of the company as your own?  Do your values fully align with the company you work for?

Great places to work value people.   Leaders recognize the value of relationships and nurture and foster opportunity for growth within the staff.  People who can stretch and engage all the talents you bring.   In a sense a great place to work is going to have an environment that is consistent with a coaching culture.  A culture that enables the best out of each person on a consistent basis.

A coaching culture works by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system which leads to better performance.   Imagine a culture which is committed to your success and developing and improving your social and emotional awareness so that you could develop professional and personally.  In that type of environment employees would feel empowered to speak with honesty and candor about significant issues.  Organizational transparency would exist and  lead to less conflict, less withholding of information and better engagement.

In a sense the best place to work would be an environment of compassionate understanding with high performance objectives.   It would be an environment with excellent performance objectives that challenge and require the best of everyone and with a culture of compassionate understanding people would want to perform.   That is different from a culture that “needs” to perform.

What kind of culture does your place of work encourage or discourage?  How do you feel about going to work each day?  Are you working in a place you’d consider the best place to work?

Is this the best place to work?

as things are …

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
― Anaïs Nin

SONY DSC

Illusions … blind spots …we think we know and we don’t.

What do you see here?

A young lady or an old lady?

Our minds don’t see things as they are, it sees things as it believes things to be true.  We have gaps in our ability to see everything around us.   Now if we have visual blind spots we probably have other blind spots as well.  Areas of knowledge that are incomplete.  Beliefs about ourselves that are not true or beliefs we have made up to improve our own self-image.

Our blind spots are often called “weaknesses” areas in our lives that appear as shadows, that are hidden from sight, or we are totally unaware that they exist.  Removing blind spots and illuminating those areas in our lives can produce startling positive outcomes.   We could generate better work in our career.  We could build stronger relationships with others.  We could solve a myriad of problems that have eluded us for a number of years.   We could start seeing what we have not seen before.

Imagine what you could do if you knew where your blind spots are?   Imagine how businesses could start to thrive if they knew what their blind spots are?

Information can turn to knowledge if we seek what we are missing in our lives.  Just the information about our weaknesses are can set us free from a number of things that hold us back from performing our best.

So, it’s not you that experiences or has experienced change blindness.  OK, let’s see what happens.  Watch this.

How did you do?   Now, how many things are you missing in your own life, things that are hidden from you yet in plain sight of those around you?   Imagine being able to see those things, imagine what it would be like.

That is what life/leadership/professional development/relationship/career  coaches do, they work with their clients to discover blind spots.  It can be transformational.

Leadership and authority

SONY DSC“The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.”
― Stanley Milgram

How does leadership and obedience to authority merge together?   Does a leader invoke thoughts of authority and subordination or does leadership provide an equal platform void of authority?

One model of leadership, servant leadership for example flips the pyramid upside down.  In servant leadership the leader serves those who are associated with the leader.  The model would suggest that there isn’t a command and control aspect to leadership and yet in many instances there still exists this idea of hierarchy and control in leadership.

Are you able to challenge the leader?   Are you able to have a voice that opposes the leader?

If you are a leader do others that follow you have the ability to oppose your authority?   As a leader are you in a position of authority?

What characteristic or set of attributes do you have that allows you to lead without creating this sense of obedience to your position?   Are people engaged by your vision?  Are people attracted to your style of openness and inclusion?  Are people desiring to be around someone who is vulnerable and authentic?

Better leaders give up authority to create opportunities for others to contribute more meaningfully.   In some place in  your life you are leading.   What are you doing to advance your leadership?   Are you empowering others or are you using authority to lead?

How would you answer the questions?