Leadership Without a Title
It’s easy when you’re the boss. You tell people what to do and they do it. Ok, maybe it’s not always that easy.
Authority does increase the odds that people will do what you want. But it doesn’t necessarily increase the likelihood that those doing the tasks will grow while getting the tasks done. Authority is a great management tool for driving for results. And it does have its place in the leadership toolbox. But authority can be a crutch that interferes with good leadership. Continue reading Influence Without Authority
Should You Burn Yours?
I was sitting in a CEO’s office when he excused himself to take an important call. While he was on the phone, I read through the mission, vision, and values statements hanging on his wall. When he hung up, I asked, “How do these documents influence what happens out there in the office every day?”
All too predictably, he rolled his eyes and chuckled. “Not much.”
My advice to him was to do one of three things:
Continue reading Dangerous Mission Statements
Pre-requisite to Leading Others
Consider the following characteristics of leadership:
- Leadership is influence. Your followers don’t need your leadership if they’re going to do what needs done without your influence. That doesn’t mean you have to hover over them to direct their every move. It means creating the culture, values, and clarity of vision and strategy so that competent people know and are inspired to do the right thing without your micromanagement.
- The goal of influence is to change behavior. If nothing needs to change, there’s no need for influence or leadership.
- Changing behavior requires getting someone to do what they wouldn’t naturally do or don’t want to do. Someone has said that there are only two ways to change behavior: Manipulation and inspiration. We can manipulate by threatening loss of pay, position, promotion, or status. Or we can inspire by casting a vision and helping followers be energized to see their role in bringing that vision to reality. Do you do your best work when led by manipulation or inspiration? I’m guessing inspiration. The same is true of your followers.
Continue reading First, Lead Yourself
“Values” is a buzzword that risks being abused into oblivion. But despite the hype, clarity about what’s important to us is a powerful lever for making us more successful according to our own definition of success.
Whether we’re conscious of them or not, our values (organizational and personal) define our behavior. One of the reasons “values” gets a bad rap is that organizations and individuals often claim values that aren’t reflected in their actions. Don’t tell me you value honesty while describing the neat trick you found for cheating on your taxes. Continue reading Identifying What Matters Most
But Don’t Say It Unless You’ll Live It…
I consider the most important values of an organization to be those that define how we treat each other. Here’s an example of such values that I developed with one of my clients. Perhaps there are some useful points here that you can adopt (or adapt), but be careful: Never claim a value as your own unless you’re willing to live every word of it. Don’t destroy your credibility by saying something’s important that you’re not willing to be held accountable to.
Continue reading Defining How We Treat Each Other
Even When “No” Is The Right Answer
Excessive busy-ness is the most common complaint I hear from clients. Is it possible to manage our workload in a way that leaves us fulfilled but not burned out? Let’s scratch the surface of that question by shining a light on our motivations and suggesting some methods to deal with it.
Our first problem is that we often wear our busy-ness as a badge of honor. Important people are expected to be busy; we want to be important; so we don’t want to admit (to ourselves or others) that we’re not busy. We fill our plates to keep our importance badge. Continue reading Why Can’t I Say “No”?
Getting the Results You’re Looking For
I spent the early part of my career as a software developer. The nice thing about software is that it is highly predictable. Barring hardware problems, software does exactly what the developer tells it to do. Even bugs aren’t the software’s fault – it’s just doing exactly what some developer (either of the application, the compiler, or underlying operating system) told it to do. Not necessarily what the developer wanted, but what it was told to do. The developer’s job is to provide thorough and accurate instructions so the software behaves correctly.
If only human interactions were that straight-forward.
Continue reading That’s Not What I Wanted…
Why “Excellence in Everything” Produces Excellence in Nothing
Like most people, I’m a fan of excellence. But when everything gets labelled “excellent”, we devalue the word to where it doesn’t really mean anything. And it certainly doesn’t create the motivation we’re trying to inspire when we use it in our mission, vision, and value statements.
The problem is that no one can be excellent at everything. Continue reading When “Excellent” Isn’t
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
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…