The guy I work for has a surprising ability to ask deep, unexpected questions. I’d sell him short if I called him a crap-cutter, but that’s really what he does better than just about anyone I know. I’m sure he ticks a lot of people off–bluntness and crap-cutting being such an unappreciated skill these days. Personally, I believe he saves a great deal of time and emotional energy, and his approach gets me home earlier.
Last week, our group was going through a leadership book. If one were to believe the author, all humanity shall die a hundred deaths quite soon if we (our group) does not (all of us) get very serious about developing leaders, and not much else. The real leader in our group pointed out that while it’s my job to develop leaders, other people have other things for which he is paying them – revenue generation or financial management, boring stuff like that, you see.
I was thrilled, of course, to be the ONLY ONE CHOSEN to do the fun stuff. Kisses from heaven, thank you very much.
Anyway, he cut through all that crap and asked each of us to spell it out on paper. “It” being to personalize our view of our leadership in the company. And a week later, all those kisses have turned to bad breath. You’d think “it” would be easy but it’s not.
For one thing, I have lot to think through before I commit. What if I marry this thing and we don’t like each other later? Can’t we sleep together and play house for a few months, first? (smile)
No? Not consistent with my proclaimed faith, you snicker? (Well, aren’t you the judgey one?)
OK, here goes:
Develop leaders, one-at-a-time. I feel like I’m the one most responsible for creating a highly functioning leadership culture at Strong Electric. That happens slowly and gradually. To flesh it out a bit, I’m seeing three, overlapping domains of responsibility:
Stay aware of current research and best practices in the overlapping areas of leadership and development. Know about adult learning, motivation, and habit-forming. Regarding leadership as a discipline means thinking of it less as an innate quality and more as a set of skills that anyone may develop over time.
People are motivated by what they want. To find what someone wants, use executive coaching, which includes skills like building rapport, listening, asking powerful questions, and action planning.
Measurement helps employees and their supervisors engage at work. Good measurements tell us what a person is paid to do and the level at which someone gets what they paid for. Measurement takes much of the guesswork out of performance evaluations, leading to deeper engagement. Engaged people develop their leadership (or any) skills more quickly.
One might call this being the people guy, and in the sense that helps people engage at work, and in the sense that engagement leads to greater happiness, being the people guy is a wonderful thing. Most disengagement results from weak leadership—so develop leaders one at a time.
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