Saturday, February 9, 2019

Are You A Leader? Do You Have A Steady Hand?

I had no idea…its’s not what I expected! The shock and surprise that often accompanies a new leadership position can be daunting. Rarely does an organization change when things are working well so this should not be a surprise, but surprisingly new leaders often are not prepared. The first 100 days really are critical, and mistakes are hard to overcome. The organization is watching as much as listening…every word, tone, action are signals and a test that the organization is grading and deciding am I on this new team or not?
In my opinion it’s all about approach, style, values and your situational awareness and assessment skills, things that are all within your control. Do your actions match your words, do you value the team you inherited? Do you instill confidence and trust? Will people follow you even if it’s not easy?
Do you have a Steady Hand! What does that mean? As with many things it starts at the top, it starts with you.
1.       Do you have a plan - a vision?
2.       Are you a leader or a manger?
3.       Do you lead by example – do you get your hands dirty?
4.       Are members of the team viewed as part of the solution or disposable?
5.       Do you value the past or only your ideas or change?
6.       Are you curious?
7.       Do people see you as a good person?
8.       Have you earned the organizations trust?
9.       Are your actions rational or emotional?
10.   Do your actions match your words? Do those actions and words instill confidence?
Some may scoff and suggest these questions imply being soft. Some will suggest that leadership is about results and not how you achieve them. It most certainly is about results but the how most certainly does matter and rarely can those results be achieved if you don’t understand that!
Leadership is about:
§  Painting a picture for the organization and soliciting their help.
§  Gaining their support and help by getting your hands dirty, putting in the time.
§  Showing appreciation…saying thank you, good job or I appreciate your effort!
§  Being curious about why it was or is done that way before assuming its wrong and must be changed.
§  Accepting mistakes and using them as teaching moments.
§  Teaching and coaching is powerful vs dictating and managing.
These concepts are not new or unique, but they are all building blocks to getting an organization to want to be part of the solution and not be the problem. When a new leader comes in the organization already knows somethings not right and they know change is coming. It’s my experience that many of them want that change it’s the previous leader that wasn’t listening. It’s now up to the new leader to quickly gain their trust and capitalize on what the organization already knows…they must change.
Does that mean people won’t lose their job…no! Does that mean every idea will be accepted…no! Does it mean it will be easy…no! What it does mean, and shows is that you are engaged, want their ideas and value them and are willing to roll up your sleeves and do the dirty work that needs to be done. That is showing leadership and just as importantly showing that you aren’t smart enough to do it by yourself and you want and need their help.
It takes a steady and confident hand to lead this way and this scares weaker managers because this is hard work, more time consuming and requires more personal investment that’s why so many avoid this because its much easier to not listen, be the smartest person in the room and simply change things as managers often think change is what they were hired to do. It isn’t…what you were hired to do was fix it, improve it not change…that’s a big difference. Think about it – who would you rather work for, who would you follow, who would you go the extra mile for?

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