Here’s an idea to help established expectations in a new position. Reading time: 3:04
Congratulations! You’ve been promoted. Or maybe condolences are in order. New department. Same old problems.
You’ve seen this movie before. And it ain’t pretty. So now what do you do?
Write a new ending of course. This is YOUR movie now. Direct it –the WRITE way.
Write a personal letter to each one of your direct reports, a personal letter that details your passion and your expectations for that person’s area of responsibility.
That’s what a four-star general did when he became Chief of Staff of the US Army. Gordon R. Sullivan refers to his Letters to Commanders in his book HOPE IS NOT A METHOD , What Business Leaders Can Learn from America’s Army. Continue reading “Writing Your Own Leading Script”→
Here’s an idea to stay focused on increased performance. Reading time: 2:37.
You won. But you’re not done. Not yet. Leaders don’t take time to rest— no matter how good the profit margin; no matter how prolific the units sales, no matter how pre-emptive the new product launch. There’s just TOO MUCH left to do. Going forward.
At least that’s the assessment of Lee Iacocca who led Chrysler from the brink of bankruptcy. “Never rest on your oars as a boss, if you do, the whole company starts sinking.”
The most effective leaders intuitively know they need to continuously improve. Consistently perform. Persistently progress. After all:
Karate practitioners, the day after their black belt exam, are expected to be on the mat the next day practicing, improving and improvising.
Artist Grandma Moses would finish a painting and then 10 days later study it to see where she could improve and improvise.
Author James Michener was asked to name his favorite book among the more than 35 he had authored. Michener said: “My preference is always the next book” where he could improve and improvise.
Abraham Lincoln always kept his oar in the water even when it seemed his boat was sinking. The president quickly paddled his way out of his situation, no matter how devastating the defeat or how exhausting the effort or how hopeless the condition. Keep rowing. Continue reading “Keeping Your Oars In the Water”→
Here’s an idea on developing your servant leadership style.
Abraham Lincoln, visiting wounded soldiers during the Civil War, leaned over the hospital bed of one injured soldier and asked: ” Is there anything I can do for you?
The soldier, not recognizing the president of the United States at his bedside, asked Lincoln to write a letter for him to his mother. The soldier began dictating.
And the President began writing. “Mother…I am dying….”
Abraham Lincoln knew his role as a Servant Leader: to foster supportive environment for his troops. Effective leaders like Lincoln know the value in long-term productive relationships that aren’t limited to job descriptions, reporting structures or organizational charts. See 1908 New York Times article on Lincoln’s Love for The Private Soldier.
How can you apply that kind of Servant Leadership? Let me introduce you to Larry, a mid-level manager in a manufacturing plant. Larry is a Servant Leader unencumbered by job descriptions or organizational charts.
It has been more than 10 years since Doug worked directly for Larry. Even though Doug is now working in another division within the same company, Larry telephones Doug once a year to wish him well on his birthday. “That phone call makes me feel really important,” said Doug, realizing that his former boss has no ulterior motive.
But as an effective leader, Larry knows his reputation as a leader who cares about people precedes him wherever he goes. He knows that today, thanks to him, many geese in the company are laying golden eggs—- the golden eggs of increased productivity and profitability. Larry the leader doesn’t try to greedily get all of its golden eggs out at one time like in the famous Aesop fable.
Showing you care is a key leadership skill as Perry Smith writes in his book Taking Charge: “The brilliant, efficient individuals who cannot warmly think, compliment and commend their people will always fall well short of their full potential as leaders.”
No wonder that former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca said in his biography: “In the end all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, products and profits. People come first. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”
President Abraham Lincoln knew that. Eggs-actly!
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