Archives For trust

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.

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One of my all-time favorite leadership values is being proactive. It’s Stephen Covey’s first habit. Taking initiative (and accepting responsibility) is the characteristic that makes all the others possible. But can it be taken too far?

Unfortunately, I’ve learned it can be – mostly because of the challenges I’ve noticed or inadvertently created for myself over the years. So if you’re a go-getter, keep it up. But know when to go fast and when to slow down. Otherwise, you may experience some of these unpleasant reactions.

Businessman Running

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If you’ve been responsible for delivering business results for any length of time, you’ve probably hit a wall once or twice with people. Someone’s feelings got hurt, another manager is difficult to work with, company politics create unseen landmines, some colleagues disagrees with you and a couple may be out to get you. As often as not, we may be the problem. Additionally, we humans are the ones causing the accidents, forgetting key dates or deliverables, creating ambiguity, making mistakes and communicating poorly. Getting results are tough enough as it is, before we introduce people into the mix!

Automation has added enormous business efficiency over the years and will continue. But it’s important to keep in mind that whatever business we’re in, we’re ultimately in the people business. Since we can’t eliminate the human element (besides, would we really want to?), we’ll have to figure out how to capitalize on it.

The Creation of Man by Michelangelo Sistine Chapel

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As a University of Kansas basketball fan, I’ve never rooted for Duke. But there is a Duke moment that stands out in my memory. It occurred probably 10 or 15 years ago. Duke was in the process of getting upset in the NCAA Tournament. They were playing hard that day but not well. Near the end of the game, the senior star player fouled out, highlighting the frustrating day for everyone. As he exited the floor for the last time as a college athlete, he headed straight for Coach Mike Krzyzewski with tears streaming down his face and the two shared a prolonged embrace.

My first thought was that Coach K must have really messed up his black suit hugging a really sweaty guy (probably a sign that I’d make a terrible basketball coach). The second was how evident the bond between the leader and the followers was that day. It wasn’t an expression of victory, but one of commitment.

Coach K Sideline

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As an individual, it doesn’t take long to realize Alexander Pope’s timeless line “to err is human.” As a leader, it can be downright frustrating dealing with the errors of those we lead. But it’s how we respond to those mistakes that sets great leaders apart.

If someone on your team has fouled things up, why don’t you try some of these responses?

Frustration

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For the third year in a row I had the pleasure of attending the Leadercast leadership seminar at a local simulcast location. This year I attended in Daytona Beach, FL with about 80 other local leaders. The event was fantastic, as usual.

I don’t get to attend as many leadership events as I’d like to, but I always take something away from the ones I do. This year’s Leadercast was no exception. These were the highlights for me.

Leadercast 2014 Banner

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My favorite annual leadership event takes place each May. It’s Chick-fil-A Leadercast. The seminar features some of the biggest names in all of leadership. This year’s theme was: “Simply Lead.” I hope you got to attend, but if not, I’ve included 12 of my greatest takeaways. Here they are:

CFA Leadercast 2013

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DelegationWe all know intuitively that good leaders ought to delegate. So when push comes to shove, why do we have such a hard time with it, especially if we are relatively new at being in charge? I want to share with you five barriers that keep us from delegating successfully and then some strategies to become more effective. But I’m warning you upfront, they aren’t pretty.

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