Archives for the month of: April, 2013

In the movie Gandhi, Ben Kingsley (Gandhi) is speaking to youthful leaders and this quote stood out: “Our best young minds assume an air of Eastern dignity while greedily assimilating every Western weakness as quickly as they can acquire it”.

That insightful, candid observation by Gandhi emphasized the concepts of honesty and integrity, while displaying one of the admirable traits I’ve noticed to be consistent amongst great leaders…candor.

Powerful leaders not only lead by example, but are able to instill an element of trust and cohesiveness throughout their teams and organizations.

Employees passionately follow dynamic leaders who can be counted on to “do what they say they are going to do”, and in turn hold their forces accountable with the same expectation.

The key element of candor is evident when everyone knows what the expectations are, where they stand, what is and isn’t working, and what collective actions must be taken to ensure continued success. Does your leadership style scream Candid Candor?

Ghandi

Let’s start with an assumption that most business “leaders”, in route to achieving their current status or position, have demonstrated a proven ability to set clear expectations, give direction, monitor progress, coach, and lead their respective teams towards a desired end result.

Well, you know what they say about assumptions!

An astonishing observation is how frequently people “hit the ground running”, hustling through the day, week, month…consistently in reactive mode, and then try to figure out where their time went?

Their personal and professional life activities are controlling them, versus it being the other way around.  Especially in this technology intensified age, it is imperative that YOU choose to control the what, when, where, and why of how you spend YOUR time.

“Champions of accomplishment” MAKE the time every day, week, month and quarter for Proper Planning in order to Produce Performance results, based on a Proactive strategy…that’s being a disciplined Professional.

planning

One of my favorite leadership reads is “Winning” by the legendary Jack Welch, former CEO of G.E.

Mr. Welch had a philosophy that included getting “every brain into the game”, i.e. take advantage of the experience and mind power of your entire team and you may be surprised about what you collectively come up with!

In the press of business urgency, I’ve noticed that leaders tend to make “rapid-fire” decisions, often without utilizing all of the information available to achieve the optimal “fact-based” conclusion.

Additionally, without promoting and fostering a participative atmosphere to begin with, many employees become reluctant, or even afraid, to “speak-up” or share their insights.

By setting an expectation that the thoughts and wisdom of others is cherished and appreciated, notice how this facilitates better decision-making, as well as the evolution of a healthier culture.

books

In an earlier “Boltz”, I referenced a monthly performance review process for Managers called the “PDR” (Performance Development Review).

A key component in this process is to seek a genuine understanding of who the players on your team really are.

This is facilitated by having a command of these three knowledge points:
1. What does your employee want to achieve?
2. What do they do well?
3. What can YOU, as their leader, do to help them reach their goals?

Take a moment to reflect on your direct reports and ask yourself if you can answer these three questions about every one of them? If not, you now have an opportunity to vastly improve your relationships, and ultimately, your mutual performance!

The most successful leaders make the time to truly know their people and serve as resource for goals to be achieved.

EEs

Years ago, I implemented a simple, two-page monthly performance review process for the Managers in the organization…called the Performance Development Review, or “PDR”.

To my surprise, the execution of this program met with resistance, primarily due to the belief that “we couldn’t spend the time” completing this task, especially on a monthly basis.

In such a scenario, a question any legitimate leader might ask themselves is: “what do I truly expect my operating results to be if I won’t even commit a couple of hours a month to the performance review and development of my direct reports?”

Unfortunately, many leaders tend to be “so busy” that they often don’t ensure that quality time is spent with their people…coaching and reviewing performance, clear expectations and opportunities for improvement (by both the employee and the supervisor).

Are you willing to dedicate a few hours a month to develop an asset as valuable as your team?

blindfold ees

Despite the plethora of business instruction that was cast at me during five plus years of college, one professor’s simple statement made the most profound impact:

“Once you say something, you can never take it back!”

In both personal and professional environments, these conversational traits commonly appear:

  1. initiating a response before the other person finishes their statement
  2. focusing on “me, myself and I” instead of what others are trying to communicate
  3. disregarding the importance of eye contact and truly “seeing” the speaker
  4. forgetting the “two ears and one mouth” principle…i.e. LISTEN

When providing responses or clear direction, the best leaders tend to: think it through before replying, provide fact-based decisions, and give commands in a constructive, productive manner, utilizing the proper amount of authority as well as empathy.

A common denominator I’ve noticed when working with large successful organizations is the exhibition of Positive Dynamic Leadership (PDL).

Companies who navigate the daily rapids of operational challenges with consistent excellent results tend to be commanded by leaders who are energetic, visionary, proactive, decisive, and create an infectious enthusiasm.

On the other hand, especially with regard to small or mid-scale operations that have achieved terrific results, luck seems to surface more often as a success determinant…the other PDL, Pure Dumb Luck!

Indeed, there may have been a degree of synchronicity or good fortune involved. However, the story I’m telling myself is…there was a vision and mission, strategy, planning, initiative, and execution that contributed to their “luck.”

Although none of us will refuse a little pure dumb luck, the positive dynamic leadership form of “PDL” is indispensable to sustained business success.

Drucker