Wednesday, 31 December 2014
3 Basic Styles of Leadership
1. To Develop New Leaders
2. To Learn
3. To Better Allocate Resources
4. To Teach
5. To Build Quality Culture
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Monday, 29 December 2014
During the opening session of a new leadership development program last week, I asked the participants to share the biggest leadership lesson they’ve learned in their careers so far. There were a lot of interesting answers. One participant shared one that really stuck with me because I think it’s so true. The lesson was it’s not enough to have the right idea, you have to influence other people to believe that it’s the right idea.
The essence of the lesson that leader shared is captured in a behavior that we’ve been measuring in our Next Level Leadership® 360 Degree Assessment for the past eight years:
Chooses effectiveness as a more important outcome than “being right.”
You might have all the facts and logic on your side. The answer may be painfully obvious to you. That voice inside your head may be screaming, “What part of this do these people not understand?” You may be asking yourself, “Do I really have to keep explaining this?”
No, actually, you don’t.
If you’re more interested in being effective than in being right, quit explaining and start listening. Here are some questions you can ask to listen and learn that will help you and everyone you work with be more effective:
- What does success look like to you?
- What’s important to you?
- What else?
- What do you need from me?
- What do you think we should do?
Sunday, 28 December 2014
If you want your people to grow and develop sometimes the best thing to do is to back off.
Herbie Hancock, the legendary jazz keyboardist, tells two stories about trumpet virtuoso and bandleader Miles Davis that illustrate this point. Hancock was an up and coming player and got an invitation to audition with Davis and his band. Davis was already a legend but Hancock was still cutting his chops.
Told to report to Miles’ house, Hancock met the band and Miles played with the group for a few minutes then as Hancock told an audience on Sirius XM Radio, he threw down his trumpet on the couch and went upstairs. The band kept playing. Miles did the same thing a day later. And after a few days he invited Hancock to cut a record with his band. Hancock says that he learned twenty five years later that Miles’s disappearing act was purposeful. He went upstairs to listen to the group via his intercom. He knew that young musicians could be intimidated by his presence so he removed that distraction.
Another lesson Hancock shared with his audience (in conjunction with his new memoir Possibilities) about Miles was his gift of teaching. Miles would seldom give musicians a complete answer when they questioned him about something musical. His strategy was to let the musicians learn by themselves or with the band. Hancock now a veteran performer and teacher himself says that when you learn something on your own you remember it better. The lesson becomes lasting.
Herbie Hancock in concert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What managers can learn from these stories is that young performers, or those new to a team, need to be given a certain amount of leeway to show what they can do. This of course is after you have recruited and trained them. Some may be more independent than others but all benefit when the boss steps away.
Furthermore if the boss is always hanging around, looking over their shoulder, he or she may undermine the employee’s confidence. Or because the boss is present may set himself up as the hands-on tutor ready, willing and able to answer all questions. Support is good; “hovering” is limiting.
Saturday, 27 December 2014
Friday, 26 December 2014
Apparently, few people ask leaders questions about leadership.
Since launching the Your Leadership Story Podcast with my business partner, David Atchison, we have had a great time interviewing exceptional leaders. Without exception, these leaders have said, “No one has ever asked me that before” to at least some of our questions. That’s unfortunate because these leaders had great answers. All they needed was someone to ask the questions. In a perfect world I can imagine, more people would ask leaders great leadership questions. Doing so would help those asking the questions while helping the leaders reflect on their experiences. Since I cannot control how many people ask leadership questions, I’m opting for an alternative route. If you’re a leader and want to become even more effective, take the initiative and ask yourself some great leadership questions. To get you started, here are some questions David and I have enjoyed asking on Your Leadership Story.
Question 1: Philosophy of Leadership
We probe this area in a variety of ways but we focus on getting to the core of a leader’s perspective.
“If you had to capture your philosophy of leadership in a sentence or two, what would you say?”
We’ve found that every leader can give a long answer about leadership but find it much harder to give a short answer.
If we asked you that question, what would you say?
Question 2: Transition Lessons
Through trial and error, David and I have discovered that some of the most important insights leaders share come from key transitions in their careers. Here’s an example of how we probe these areas.
“We noticed on Linkedin that you made a big shift when you went from Position A to Position B. Tell us more about how you decided to make that move and what you learned from it?”
If we asked you that kind of question, what would you say?
Question 3: Best Boss; Worst Boss
Our friend, Steve Hays, of the Human Capital Group gave us this question and we love to ask it.
“Without naming names, we would like for you to think about the worst boss you ever had and tell us three words you associate with that person. Now, we would like for you to do the same thing with the best boss you’ve ever had using three words.”
As a top-tier executive recruiter, Steve Hays discovered that knowing these six terms — three about a person’s worst boss and three about someone’s best boss provide great insights. “People work hard not to be like their worst boss,” Steve Hays explained, “while trying to be more like their best boss.”
We agree. When we ask people this question, light bulbs come on. What would you say if we asked you this question?
Question 4: Percentage of Leadership Insight
We ask this question in different ways depending on the background and experiences of the leaders we’re interviewing, but here’s an example.
“We would like for you to think about 100% of what you know about leadership at this point in your career and then see if you can divide that 100% into the main sources for what you know. For example, what percentage came from your formal education? What about from the first phase of your professional career? What about from the most recent phase of your career?”
Tough question, right? Absolutely. But the answers can be profound, especially as leaders reflect on how they actually learned to lead the way they do.
What would you say if we asked you that question?
Question 5: The Rough Patches
The leaders we interview have impressive resumes. We enjoy hearing more about the exciting things they have done. However, we work hard to dig into the times when things didn’t go as well. Here’s an example of what we ask.
“Reading through your resume is like taking a fast elevator up a skyscraper. It looks like you’ve gone no where but up. Were there any rough patches along the way? Can you tell us about one that stands out in your mind and how that experience shaped your leadership story?”
Every leader has a “rough patch” and talks about it when asked. In fact, it is often during those “rough patches” that leaders gain their most important insights and develop their deepest convictions.
What would you share with us if we asked you this question?
The Importance of Answering Great Questions After doing so many of our leadership interviews, we’ve been surprised at one recurring response from the men and women with whom we talk. After we complete the interview, they say in different ways, “Thanks for giving me the chance to think about these questions.” That’s the problem — they had answers; they simply needed someone to ask the questions, not just for people listening but for themselves, so that they as leaders could reflect on their own experiences. I hope someone asks you great leadership questions today. Answering those questions will make you a better leader. But if you go through the day and no one asks, take the initiative and ask yourself. The best leaders do. Shouldn’t you?
- See more at: http://leadingwithquestions.com/latest-news/5-great-questions-the-best-leaders-ask-themselves-2/#sthash.N1cUUD48.dpuf
Thursday, 25 December 2014
What makes some leaders stand out from the rest?
It has to do with their ability to think decisively.
The best leaders evaluate their options, weigh in on the alternatives, connect the dots, and look for potential in order to make informed decisions.
Here are some of the things great critical thinkers make a habit of:
Leading with questions.
Open-ended questions, in particular, help you get to the heart of the matter. Start with Why?, How?, What?, and Where?
Embracing different points of view. As a leader, you need to be able to take advantage of the diversity in your team (and board, if you have one) to help you see things from different perspectives. The best leaders see and make use of the insights that everyone has to offer. They honor different opinions and ideas, because they know those differences lead to better decisions.
Leading with agility. As the old saying goes, the only constant is change—and the variables are always shifting and adjusting.
Leading through change requires an open mind that can see opportunity in every situation. Keeping an open mind. In the complex world of business, a leader with an open mind will find potential by sizing up all the answers, holding on to differences of opinion, and taking in all the variables to see clearly. The leader who thinks critically and manages ambiguity will be the one who leads where others cannot.
Lead From Within: Be the leader who knows that nothing is as it seems. There is always uncertainty; there is always ambiguity. Be clever enough to size things up, connect the dots, see the potential, and act decisively when no one else can. -
Wednesday, 24 December 2014
Vision has a central place in leadership. Before we are willing to follow a leader, we want to know where we are going. What will things look like when we get there? The "vision thing," as George H.W. Bush called it, matters for us as citizens, and it matters for those who serve as part of a leader's senior staff.
It is little wonder, then, that people who study and practice leadership have been preoccupied with the notion of vision. Whether leaders achieve the ends to which they aspire has a real effect on our lives and well-being. We want to make our schools better, our businesses more prosperous, our neighborhoods safer and our government more efficient.
For those who work closely with a leader, vision drives their behavior in both a practical sense and in a much deeper way. A leader's vision not only structures what they do in their day-to-day lives but also gives them the sense that what they are doing is meaningful. In fact, good leaders rely on their advisors and confidantes to make sure they keep their eye on the big picture and don't become distracted by things that do not matter in the larger scheme of things.
Factors such as partisanship, which should not matter but often do, can also stand in the way of success. So leaders need advisers who can serve as their "eyes," anticipating roadblocks and negotiating rocky political terrain. Because leaders can hardly see everything and everyone around them, those who work closely with leaders must sometimes play a protective role by openly expressing their loyalty and by "watching the back" of the leader.
But there is another type of vision that is just as critical to good leadership and to what it means to be a good adviser. The best advisers can be trusted to make sure leaders do not lose sight of the means they are using to achieve their ends. Although there are often many ways to get the job done, only some of these ways will be in keeping with the vision the leader is trying to achieve. We expect our leaders to live their values, providing us with a model of their vision. Couple this expectation with the legitimate demand that they comply with rules that apply more generally to others, regardless of how compliance promotes or impedes goal achievement.
Read more; http://ht.ly/EzCbS
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
“I need to start recording things.”
Michael Wade comes to that conclusion at the end of his post, “Something about The Meaning of Life.” He describes a situation that’s common to anyone who’s had a good idea. If you don’t capture it right away it disappears.
Capture those ideas
There are lots of ways to capture ideas. People use pocket notebooks and index cards and recording devices to get the job done. If you don’t capture them, they disappear and then they can’t do you any good.
Recording ideas should be one way you capture them
Writing ideas down works most of the time. But if you’re driving, like Michael, or working out or doing housework, recording is the best choice. You can keep doing what you’re doing while you record.
Recording works in high creativity moments
We’re most likely to get ideas when we’re relaxed and doing something that doesn’t require our full attention. Driving is a good example. Recording works best then.
Sometimes we get an idea when we’re in the middle of working on a project. A recorder lets you capture the idea without breaking stride.
There are lots of ways to record
Small digital voice recorders are great for idea capture. I currently use an Olympus 702-PC that fits nicely in my pocket. My last Olympus digital voice recorder lasted about seven years. It would have lasted longer if I hadn’t run over it with my car. Don’t ask.
There are other ways to record, too. You can make audio notes on most smartphones. You can capture an idea by leaving yourself a voicemail message.
You can also capture ideas on index cards or in a small notebook. That works well when you’re in a situation where talking to your recorder would disturb others, like church or a concert.
Capture all your ideas
When you get an idea, grab it. Don’t try to decide if it’s any good. Don’t try to make it better. All that can come later. Capture it. Right now.
Capture is useless without review
Capture is the first step. You need to review the ideas you’ve captured or capturing them is just an administrative exercise.