What comes to mind when you think about leadership responsibility? Taking charge? Casting vision? Setting strategy? Getting results? Every time I get to ask this question in a workshop setting, the list gets long very quickly.
Let’s make it more personal with this sobering question: are the people you lead better or worse off because of you? What is the experience of each person on the other end of your leadership?
Since there are so many leadership responsibilities, let’s focus on just a few that have enormous implications for the people in our wake.
In the 16th century, political consultant (for lack of a better term) Niccolò Machiavelli’s works were published in the controversial manuscript The Prince – which is still in print today. In it, Machiavelli shared his theories on how a ruler could maintain control of his province – especially when gaining new subjects through military or political conquest. Essentially, it’s a dictator’s best practices manual.
Dictatorship is alive and well in the world of global politics, but it’s a not-so-subtle organizational management style as well. So if you want to lead like a dictator, here are some unfortunate suggestions for you, including some from Machiavelli. And if you prefer a more serving style of leadership, note the contrasts.
I’ve written before about generosity. It’s one of the greatest antidotes to selfishness there is. Obviously there is no shortage of needs both locally and globally. I’m also convinced that it has never been easier for the everyday leader to get involved.
But the potency of individual generosity is far surpassed by the momentum organizational generosity can build. The difference is teamwork. One person can make a difference. A team can completely alter an outcome altogether.
Whether you lead an organization or not, I’d like to share several of many ways organizations can act generously, whether they earn a profit or not.
I had the chance to travel to Greece and Bulgaria recently and give a series of leadership presentations to several university groups with a small team of business professionals. The sights, food and people were reward enough, but getting to share our leadership presentations with the future leaders of two countries added a special sense of purpose to the trip. Even better, our message had been carefully constructed to include leadership principles that have proved timeless across all disciplines. Let me tell you more about it.
Mark Miller developed the SERVE model and curriculum and collaborated with Ken Blanchard to publish it in their book The Secret. Each member of our small team presented a portion of the model. I’ll summarize it for you here below.
Most organizations have core values. Somewhere anyway. They’re usually posted on the website and probably printed on a brochure somewhere. But do people talk about them individually? Does anyone know them? Are they specific and meaningful enough to make a difference?
At the end of the day, the organization is going to do what it’s going to do, right? So maybe a better question is: why do we even have core values?
We’ve probably all come across sets of core values that were easy to make fun of or were too vague to impact anyone. But well constructed, specific core values can add tremendous benefit both to organizations and individuals. In fact, here are three ways I’ve seen this happen.
I took a college class one semester from a guest instructor who had recently been the president of a large and influential organization. His presidency had lasted over twenty years and he had overseen numerous high-profile change initiatives. I enjoyed the class immensely and was really challenged in my leadership thinking. I even remember staying after class to share some theories I was working on and get his input.
So when I called up a friend who had been associated with the organization this man had led, I couldn’t have been more shocked at what he told me.
Today’s post was guest-written by my brother Lt. Cale Magnuson, a U.S. Marine currently assigned to the Marines Aviation Program. You can connect with Cale on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you would like to be featured on this site, click here.
I distinctly remember the first time I ever heard Captain Tucker tell us that he loved us. Captain Tucker was the platoon commander charged with instilling in us the art and science of becoming Officers in the Marine Corps. As you might imagine, this raised some eyebrows. Captain Tucker is still to this day the hardest Marine I have ever met. As a Purple Heart recipient, he could have ordered us to follow him to hell and back, and none of us would have hesitated. So why would such a man openly tell a bunch of new Lieutenants that he loved us?
Several years ago I had the pleasure of participating in a 16 week leadership coaching training course with the Center for Coaching Excellence (CCE). Since that time I’ve had the pleasure of coaching a number of of business owner or organizational leaders. I enjoyed the insight and techniques I was taught, but the most significant thing I came away with was the relational effectiveness of CCE’s core values for coaching. For anyone wanting to influence others, I think it represents the bottom line.
The value that stood out the most was “believing the best” about other people. Think about that one for a minute. What does believing the best actually mean? How often when we talk or relate with someone do we believe or assume the absolute best about the other person? What could happen if we did? What would it take to get there?