I usually refrain from posting articles about lessons learned from disasters, just out of respect for the events. This week though, a valuable leadership lesson was displayed to me and the words “put-out or shut-up” is what cycles through my mind.
Wow – What an amazing and awesome month. The goal of the 2nd Annual International Blogathon was to give the world a gift of greater leadership acumen from an international stand-point. Learning leadership views from across the globe helps increase our leadership wisdom by giving us differing perspectives. It certainly has met that goal for me personally.
Small Stories are flying round every organization every minute of every day. Like mosquitoes over a lake in summer they get everywhere: in the corridors, the restrooms, the stockroom and the kitchen. They hover around the photocopier and the water cooler, they get under the door and through the smallest gap in the window. They settle for just an instant on some exposed skin and, almost unnoticed, they give a little bite. One bite’s no problem, but over time there’s one more then another; Ten, twenty, and they start to have a real impact!
Sometimes leaders get to stand in the lime light, marching forward in a triumphant pursuit of excellence and performance. Sometimes leadership requires standing in the shadows to support those closest to you.
Dilemmas are part of a leader’s routine. Should you follow your own gut feeling or should you listen to what others say? Should you offer the market what you want to sell or should you offer what the market says it wants? Should you tell your team members what to do or should you allow them to make their own decisions?
Change is hard. Continuous change is draining. Leading change is hardest of all. Leaders have to deal with a double-whammy. They have to make sense of change for themselves, while simultaneously helping others to navigate its choppy waters. And there are no magic bullets, despite what the book titles tell you. At best you can make the change less painful or shorter in duration, or ensure that the pain is less deep and disabling.
Unless you have been sleeping under a rock for the past 10 years or so, employee engagement has quickly taken front and center. Its influence on bottom line numbers has been researched extensively and CEOs and other organizational leaders are sitting up and taking notice. According to a Boston Consulting Group report, companies that focus on being “People” Companies have “outperformed the market average in eight out of ten years“. In 2011, that difference was 99 percentage points in favor of “People” Companies. What’s a People Company? One that is committed to investing in the development of people as a means to enjoy better economic performance.
Guess what CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CMO? At the end of the day, that title of yours really means nothing. CxOs are a dime a dozen and beyond the initial ‘wow factor’ that you might receive by telling someone you are Chief ‘Something’ Officer, that is where it ends. That fancy title actually ‘commodifies’ you even at the executive level, and people simply do not get excited about commodities!
“Imagine for a moment the following scenario…” Bill, a colleague of yours, has just checked his e-mail and received a note from a person with whom he has a tense relationship. There is a recurring issue between the two of them, that won’t go away. He interprets this e-mail as “snarky” and “bullheaded,” so he sits there at his desk, his mind filling with scenarios and responses he would really like to send back. This internal “chatter” goes on for 10 minutes as he stews in his own emotions. He sends a reply in an equally “dry” tone and immediately regrets sending it, so he stews further in guilt for another few minutes (say 20 minutes).