Fotolia Billy walked into the Jason’s office with several questions. In one week he would take the reigns and run the organization. He would be the new CEO. Jason was stepping down.
I just recently finished my first semester as the Director of Curriculum and Personnel in the Union R-XI School District in St. Louis, Missouri. The transition from a building level administrator to a central office administrator has proven to be quite the learning experience. The last several years have been huge in terms of my professional growth. Throughout this journey I have continued the practice of self-reflection and I have attempted to learn from my mistakes. Here is a little bit of what I’ve learned:
Having fulfilled my lifetime quota of attendance at poorly run meetings, I’ve developed a bit of a crusade mentality to guide others on how to run these sessions effectively. This is a follow-on to a recent piece in my New Leader Tuesday series, entitled: 15 Ideas to Help You Tame the Meeting Beast. Here are my latest top 11 ideas for taming the meeting beast and actually getting something out of these infernal sessions. Readers, if you have some more ideas, tack on your contributions here and we’ll all be a bit wiser.
This is an excerpt from “ Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership ,” by George Kohlrieser, Susan Goldsworthy, and Duncan Coombe, published in 2012 by John Wiley & Sons. Secure Base Leaders engage in a high level of caring and also encourage a high level of daring. In this way, both the leader and their followers can reach the highest levels of performance and have the most positive impact on others. We call that place the “sweet spot” of leadership. This sweet spot is of particular relevance to organizations focused on learning, innovation and change. Unfortunately, we can’t give you a precise recipe for the sweet spot.
Your job is bringing out the best in others by the way you interact with them. Well timed, well executed conversation change people’s lives. First: Determine and affirm aspirations and goals. Never have conversations about an individual’s life, strengths, weaknesses, or potential until you understand their hopes and dreams.
The challenges of leadership are inside leaders. Stop blaming organizations and others for your shortfalls and failures. Take the bull by the horns. You are the bull. The 12 Toughest Challenges of Leadership: Humility during success.
When was the last time you received useful feedback? Everyone who craves excellence craves feedback. You need to know how you’re doing and how to improve. You’ll never reach excellence without feedback. Honesty is problem one: The higher you go the more likely people say what they’re expected to say, not what they believe.
Listening is a skill. Making someone feel heard is a gift. My dad’s first words when I told him about my new job were, “It’s not very close to home.”
I think we so often equate leadership with being experts — the leader is supposed to come in and fix things. But in this interconnected world we live in now, it’s almost impossible for just one person to do that. So if we could only have more leaders who would start by just listening, just trying to understand what’s going wrong from the perspective of the people you’re supposed to serve — whether it’s your customers or people for whom you want the world to change. Leaders can get stuck in groupthink because they’re really not listening, or they’re listening only to what they want to listen to, or they actually think they’re so right that they’re not interested in listening. And that leads to a lot of suboptimal solutions in the world. The kind of leaders we need — and certainly that I aspire to be — reject ideology, reject trite assumptions, reject the status quo, and are really open to listening to solutions from people who are most impacted by the problems.
Congratulations, you’re now the boss! Welcome to the deep end of the pool — now it’s time to learn to swim. Managing your first direct reports is one of the most challenging transitions a leader will ever have to navigate. If I were to sit down over a beer or cup coffee and mentor a new first-time boss, here’s what I’d have to say (over a series of meetings, not all at once): 1.
Mistakes matter more when you’re the new kid on the block. Long-term relationships contextualize and soften occasional screw ups. 13 mistakes new leaders make:
Circumstances don’t determine the atmosphere and tone of organizations, leaders do. Look around your office or leadership team. Is the tone positive or negative?
Here’s a question from a recent workshop participant. “How do you handle someone complaining about a co-worker?” First, you want people to come to you. Some managers want challenges, problems, and people to go away.
In our leadership journey, it is easy to rely on common sense . Unfortunately, some of our oldest and most cherished beliefs can limit our influence if we don’t examine them carefully. “It is the obvious which is so difficult to see…People say ‘It’s as plain as the nose on your face.’ But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?” – Asimov
by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman | 8:30 AM August 16, 2012 Conjure up the term "bad boss" and what comes to mind? Scenes of red-faced people berating subordinates in public. Smarmy souls taking credit for other people's work or saying one thing and doing another. Cutting remarks.