good leader

Effective leaders are self-aware; you must be able to “go to the balcony” and evaluate your own behavior and how it impacts others. A common trap is to give ourselves the benefit of our best intentions but to judge others by outcomes alone and sometimes by our fearful interpretations of their behavior.

1. Raising My Voice with GREAT Caution: Call it “Excessive Intensity” or Fire in the Belly if you like BUT if I cause people to shut down, if I make folks reluctant to share bad news then I’ve created a climate of fear that is the very opposite of the transparency and open communication I need! 

2. Listen/Talk Ratio: A biggie! I may think I’m teaching or leading or sharing my vision BUT if I’m speaking, I’m not listening… and not learning or hearing important information or fully connecting with my team or their ideas and solutions.

3. Catastrophizing: Yes, “for want of a nail, a kingdom was lost” and yes, success is built of 1,000 details however if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority; too much drama spoils the soup i.e. “If every problem is a disaster and every detail the most important thing in the world” my overreaction can wear out my team.

4. Appreciation and Praise: Great teams put forth great effort on a regular basis and achieve extraordinary results with delightful regularity; it is easy to begin to take it for granted. If I want to keep excellence the norm: Notice it frequently, Acknowledge it gratefully, Praise it daily!

5. Avoid being the smartest person in the room: Maybe I am, maybe I’m not in terms of raw IQ, BUT the guy or gal dealing directly with the situation probably has more knowledge about the problem that makes them “situation specific” smarter! I may be the greatest jack of all trades of all time but everyone knows something I don’t, everyone has experiences that I don’t and points of view that can help. Perhaps the “smartest” person is the one most willing to ask for/accept help, the one most interested in listening and learning.

Closing Quotes:

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us; It wad frae mony a blunder free us!” – Robert Burns, 1759-1796

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” – C. S. Lewis, 1898-1963

“Organizations exist to serve. Period. Leaders live to serve. Period.” – Tom Peters, b. 1942

“Work is love made visible.” – Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931, author, ‘The Prophet’

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier