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Leadership Skills and Insights
Transcript of Leadership Skills and Insights
There is a new reward structure; you can't just be the most clever problem solver. You now need to rely on others.
You must let go of some things that made you successful before.
New tasks include settling conflicts, diagnosing performance problems, coaching and holding people accountable.
Learn to deal with losing your edge; you can’t remain state of the art.
Shift focus to a broader perspective.
Develop skills of assessment and development of talent.
Analyze how best to deploy resources to your units.
Clarify boundaries between units.
Develop coaching skills: your subordinates have little experience supervising but great experience as individual problem solvers. Help them become more comfortable delegating.
Maintain a strategic and cross-functional perspective.
Deal with questions of risk, profit and long term results.
Maintain the delicate balance of operations, strategy, financial acumen, communications and political issues.
Make trade-off decisions between demands of long term goals and current operational needs.
Understand and value ALL staff/operational functions.
Make a major shift in time allocation -- you now need time for sustained analysis and deep thinking.
Develop a keen ability to deal with wide range of external and internal constituencies.
Realize you can't be involved in every decision. Focus on the few appropriate mission-critical decisions .
Clarify your message and understand the power of the role. Communicate the vision consistently and make sure you have the right people to help you achieve it.
CEO/COO/Business Unit leader with P&L responsibility: most demanding job you can have; you can't forget that everyone is watching and that you impact many lives...
But be careful what you wish for: there are unanticipated consequences of success...
The 3 Keys:
Head, Heart and Guts
You may be managing unfamiliar departments, which may require you to give up old allegiances. You will need to learn quickly and expand your scope even more.
Interpret new data to see if it reflects reality.
Give clear/consistent message to all so they understand mission, values, standards and goals.
Understand/appreciate strategy and understand other functions; how each contributes to organizational success.
Learn to deal with more subtle and intense politics. Develop effective negotiation and relationship management skills.
Head of a function: give a clear and consistent message; develop political skills...
At each level, early success can work against you. As an individual contributor, success depends on expertise in your job. As a supervisor, however...
The formula for success in leadership is quite simple.
Hire smart people who get along well with others...
who do what they're supposed to do and work hard...
then get out of their way.
set a great example with your own behavior...
give them clear goals with the proper incentives...
Before you begin the journey, seek to understand the characteristics and behavior of great leaders.
Discussion: think of the most effective leaders you've ever known...what made them so good?
They probably had three things in common...
Consistency – We need to maintain a positive self-image. This makes us strive for consistency. We’ll go to great lengths to appear consistent to ourselves and to others. We're uncomfortable if we think we're inconsistent.
Great leaders understand that our most fundamental motivation is to gain control and mastery over our environment. That motivation leads us to three very important goals...
Accuracy – We need to make sense out of things so we can know whether they present threats or offer advantages. We need good information.
Affiliation – We want to associate with people we find attractive and helpful. We seek their approval and acceptance. We need to be part of a good group.
These normal and pervasive human motivations lead naturally to the fundamental laws of influence…
From what we know about the characteristics of effective leaders, and about the laws of influence, we can determine the actions and behaviors that will help anyone succeed in a leadership position at any organizational level.
The GOAL is what gives us definition, clarity and focus.
But some goals are better than others. Compare...
"We intend to become a world-class provider of professional IT services."
"We intend to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade and bring him back safely."
The goal must be CLEAR, it must be ENGAGING, it must have a DEADLINE and it must have a definite measure of QUALITY. You need to understand it, be moved by it, know when it's due and know when you've accomplished it.
Once the goal has been defined and communicated, three dimensions of operational success enable you to lead your people toward its accomplishment: task management, people management, and self-management skills. It's a delicate balance.
A great leader is a great coach. You balance the team by getting the right mix of players, understand your players and their unique characteristics, set positive goals and help them grow.
"Great leaders explain why."
Discussion: are leaders born or made?
The answer is...
it's a bit of both.
OK, given that some things need to be in place before beginning the climb, what do great leaders DO to be great leaders?
BUT...some things are much harder to change and develop than others.
Great leaders value unity of effort over unity of command. That is, they make sure everyone understands the mission.They make the "North Star" explicit.
Leaders are responsible for their own morale. Don’t expect the boss to come in and say “How are you today?”
“You should focus on trying to optimize what you can do with the talents and skills you’ve got. The more you can become a lifelong learner, and the more intellectually curious and broad-gauged you are, the bigger the base of potential you’ll have to build on when the opportunity presents itself. It also makes you better at recognizing opportunities.”
Head: The Intellectual Competency
People need to know the leader has the knowledge and mental ability to understand the situation and to come up with good solutions.
They were able to engage you
Heart: The Interpersonal Competency
People need to know what they think of YOU before they know what they think of your message.
You felt they
had your back
Guts: The Integrity Competency
People need to know you have their interests at heart and won't do them harm before they will follow you.
These are the foundation competencies of great leaders: this is BASE CAMP
Principles, Skills and Insights
One needs the foundation competencies as a base from which to build:
These are characteristics that are most difficult to change.
“Everybody can become a better leader.”
"We can all get better at anything as long as we have the right goals and strategies."
The military, especially the USMC, has proven that leadership can be taught.
"Management is about doing things right; leadership is about doing the right things."
Treat everyone you meet who has been affected as if they are a member of your family. If you do that, two things will happen:
If you make a mistake, you will err on the side of doing too much.
If somebody has a problem with what you’ve done, it won’t be with you. It'll be with me.
So now you understand how work gets accomplished and what leaders do. You've worked hard and developed the necessary expertise, relationships and trust. You're now at the base camp. So what happens when you start the climb?
First, the reward structure changes. Up until now, you've been reinforced for hard work and for being the best individual problem solver you can be.
Manager of managers: take a broader view and understand how your group fits into the whole...
The Executive Amplifier: they'll always read more into what you say than you intended...and you're ALWAYS sending a message.
The Fishbowl Effect: you lose privacy. Everybody is watching...and you're ALWAYS on stage.
The Energy Source: you have to provide the spark for others, even when your own energy is waning.
The Impostor Syndrome: should I even BE here? Am I going to get found out?
The Feedback Paradox: the higher you go, the more you need it; the higher you go, the less likely you are to get it.
The Raised Bar: EVERYBODY in the pool now is a great swimmer. Great performance is a given, so the reinforcement for such is ambiguous or nonexistent.
Sense of Loss: high visibility but no one to talk to. Comfortable old relationships are lost.
The Myth of Balance: there's no such thing in a job like this. Everything is a tradeoff.
Learn to let go. Gain control by giving up control.
Widen scope. Ensure operational effectiveness.
Get the best people. Collaborate. Understand the bigger picture.
Lead with vision and explanation. Keep people focused on the right things. Ensure execution.
This was where I realized that one bad apple can spoil a team. I needed to pay more attention to the assessment of people on the front end, and to their development after they joined us.
At this level, the politics are pervasive. It's all about who has power, who gets power, and who holds on to it. I had to learn to appreciate how we fit into the whole of the company and its strategy, and how to negotiate for our interests without harming the mission of the company. And without damaging relationships with other groups.
I couldn't understand why they didn't see my vision and work towards it. Then I realized that they didn't understand what we were all about and how I expected them to behave. I had to clarify our values and mission and communicate it repeatedly on a broad front. Only when they understood our true north did they begin to work well together and make good decisions on their own. Then I had to be relentless in focusing us on doing the right things in the right way.
I really enjoyed solving technical problems, and I was very good at it. When I got promoted, people relied on me to help them solve problems and that felt good. But I realized they were becoming dependent on me and they were quite happy to delegate upwardly. It was hard to watch them make mistakes, but that was the only way for them to learn. And it saved me from drowning. You just can't do everything yourself now...but you have to remember to RECOGNIZE others and reinforce their good works.
Challenge and Thought Questions
How can you use this information to become a better leader?
What's ONE thing you can do to build better skills of leadership?
What's the biggest challenge you currently face in leading your team?
What is keeping you from overcoming it?
First, consider how work gets accomplished in organizations. It follows a definite cycle...
After the goal is established, the leader must help people get the necessary resources, monitor progress, make adjustments, hold people accountable and celebrate/reward success.
The Pronoid Effect: everybody loves me, I deserve all these good things.
Do you know...
The three essential characteristics of the effective leader?
The things you must do to be successful at each job level?
The hidden surprises and dangers at each level of success?
-- Thad Allen, leader of the Katrina recovery task force