Archives For Leadership
Who is the best sports team of all time? We could debate this subject for the rest of our lives. But, for the sake of keeping things civil, I’ll just tell you: it’s the 2013-2014 Seattle Seahawks… if they can stay out of trouble this year.
Whether in football, business or a non-profit, all great teams have two things in common: Unity and Diversity.
There is a reason that 5’6″ point guards like Nate Robinson can make it in the NBA, alongside of 7’6″ centers like Yao Ming. They’re diverse in their gifts (short and tall, in this case), but they’re united in the mission to create a great team and win. This diversity allows them to fulfill the necessary roles to accomplish their collective mission.
The same idea is true of leadership teams.
Great teams celebrate Diversity.
I was traveling on the East Coast for work in March and stayed up way too late one night to finish watching the Mexico vs USA World Cup qualifying game. As soccer so often goes, it was a thrilling match that ended in a tie! …Not my favorite. I tend to be competitive and like to see somebody win, ties don’t do it for me. Just being honest. I don’t always like conflict, but competition is thrilling.
And while we all enjoy a clear win/lose situation on the playing field, the thought of being on the losing side of a conflict at work or at home can leave us anxious, defensive, and discouraged. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Who are you talking to and what do they want to hear?
I’ve been doing this blog thing for the last four months and these are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself. I’ve written and published 54 blog posts; some I’ve loved and others not so much. It’s a lot of work and on the days I haven’t felt like staying up late to finish, I’ve wondered what’s the point. The one thing that’s kept me going is remembering I started out with a clear purpose to challenge, encourage and maximize leaders. Without this rudder I would have been tempted to give up already.
So, I’ve made up my mind to keep after it, but how can I be sure I’m reaching my audience?
Get to know them.
Criticism. No one loves getting criticism. We often look for feedback from those in authority over us, usually chasing positive affirmation. When the feedback comes and it’s critical, we can find ourselves wondering what we were looking for. Criticism is generally a commentary about how we can do something better. Some people appreciate it, but the implication is still that they must have somehow failed.
We all need criticism.
I enjoy learning and writing about leadership—mobilizing people and resources to seize opportunities and solve problems. Nothing makes me more giddy than seeing progress and growth. I love it when things get done.
In leadership conversations, everyone talks about the importance of delegation in order to get more accomplished. Delegation, at it’s finest, empowers an individual or team to do more than they could ever do alone. Delegation, at it’s worst, is passing the buck on a to-do list you just don’t care about, but probably should.
Delegation is a matter of healthy growth, and sometimes survival. However, there are two things that you should never delegate. They are important, but not always urgent… until it’s too late.
There is a war on our time and priorities.
Vision. It’s a tricky thing.
Extremely important, yet sometimes elusive and hard to pin down.
Without it, an organization is lost. But with competing visions, an organization is doomed to frustration. One person says to go left and another says to go right, and it doesn’t take long for everyone to be confused. Vision and clarity have to be driven by the senior leaders of the organization. Those with the authority and responsibility need to set the course and direction for everyone to follow.
BUT, vision also needs to be fostered from the bottom up. A healthy organization draws the best out of its people and creates an environment for them to dream and add momentum to the vision.
“I don’t care.”
One of the most dangerous comments people – and especially leaders – can make.
We’ve all had those situations where we’re juggling a million things, and someone comes up and asks yet another question, or has yet another idea, and the knee-jerk response is “I don’t care, figure it out.”
The real truth is: leaders do care.
Speed and Stability are both necessary, whether you are completing a project, building a leadership team, managing organizational momentum, or participating in an athletic competition.
Some of us are motivated by passion to prioritize speed over stability. Others are hesitant to move too fast, perhaps out of fear, and err on the side of being too cautious.
Your business often hinges on the people who are not directly part of your organization. Vendors, consultants, and partners are, in many ways, as much a part of your organization as the people on your payroll. This puts you in a leadership position with them, much like your own staff team.
These secondary organizations have their own internal missions, and they see you as a customer, not necessarily as a member of your organization. No matter how helpful UPS is to your distribution, your business will always be one of many customers looking for shipping solutions. The key is to find a way to engage your partners, consultants and vendors as part of your organization.
Your success means their success
And you know better than they do how your organization will be able to succeed.