Leadership has again taken center stage in this month’s LEARNING MOMENTS podcast. Leading by Convenience is a leadership style that is best described as: JUST OK! As you listen you will get a brief Leading by Convenience definition… but more importantly, you will also hear several examples that will better explain our need to address this topic.
I hope you enjoy this LEARNING MOMENTS message. Please share it with colleagues if you think it could help them too.
I believe it is beyond vital to offer yourself some time each week to dream and think about “WHAT IF?”. The beauty of taking a “WHAT IF?” dream break… is that the focus and possible results would be as individual as the smile on your face. Understand that you would NOT be assigned a topic, goal or timeframe. No, your “WHAT IF?” time would be totally independent, personal and maybe most important CREATIVELY FUN!
Ok… as you can see the TRIPLE III TIME title A Walk-In Leadership Clinic?… gives away one of my secret “WHAT IF” dream moments. So let me explain.
What if in every region there was A Walk-In Leadership Clinic. Inside the Clinic you would see a menu of Leadership Services. The menu may include: Defined Lectures, Special Tutoring, Books & Articles, Technological Assistance and Example-Based Sharing. Leaders from around the region… from both the private business and public service sectors would help drive A Walk-In Leadership Clinic services. In my “WHAT IF?” dream moment, service provider leaders would receive some form of monetary stipend but would primarily be interested in building the leadership capacities of residents in their communities… with no age restrictions!
You know I could write more but I hope my A Walk-In Leadership Clinic “WHAT IF?” example gives you an idea of the potential value of dedicated dream time. And yes, it is true that I have a box or two full of “WHAT IF?” thoughts and YES… all of them are CREATIVELY FUN. But I believe the ultimate value of each dream moment is yet to be determined. Why… because the 22nd Century is just around the corner.
One of the experiences I take my American Government & Politics classes through each semester is creating a list of traits that apply to someone being a great leader. Naturally, the experience starts with students tossing out trait suggestions like: Good listener, Creative, Humble, Intelligent, Good Sense of Humor, and many other positive concepts. Then we discuss each trait in detail and rank those in major public positions in our country and State as to HIGH (5) or LOW (1) with regard to these traits. But this week as we went through the exercise a young lady asked if we could add one more leadership trait to the list. Of course, I responded yes… and let me say I am always so pleased and surprised when I have my own NEW learning moment!
She said: “I don’t know where or when I heard this but a Strong Leader Is One Who Knows When To Ask For Help.”
In quiet unison, all of her classmates proclaimed their support that this was the best trait of all! And as any wise but proud and curious instructor would do… I asked them why?
- “Because no one is good at everything”
- “Maybe they are old and don’t understand younger people so asking for help… might help”
- “Yeah and they may not like technology much”
- “And they know if they get help they will know more”
- “Remember 10 brains are smarter than one”
- “It might help if others feel like the leaders want to include them”
- “Nobody likes a know-it-all”
- “Who knows by asking for help they might find the cure for cancer”
- “Most people really like to be asked to help”
- “I don’t think most leaders know when or how to ask for help… and that’s why no one even thinks about it”
I told them I was proud of them all… and that all of their “Why?” comments were great. Also, think… do the leaders in your world of work know when to ask for help? Do YOU ask?
Last week I had the privilege of offering congratulations to a friend and colleague who was celebrating his 25th year of special public service employment. As part of our brief telephone conversation, he shared multiple unique memorable personal development “Lessons” he had learned during our time while employed in the same organization. Each recollection lesson was professionally impactful… yet simple in its delivery and purpose. It was a GREAT conversation.
So guess what? As I have reported before I never know what may generate a TRIPLE III TIME message thought… but the conversation I just described caused me to reflect: What and When did I realize My First (personal development) “Lesson”?
Well as I think back… and even before I was age 10… my Dad assigned me the full PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for care of all the baby calves that were born throughout the year. Morning and night feedings, pen cleaning, vitamin sharing, and any forms of special care required. This PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY lesson included understanding cost and impacts when a calf died, and profits realized when the calf grew and was sold or joined the herd. And interestingly, when I did well I did not wait for a “way-to-go” from my Dad. Instead, my “way-to-goes” were offered every day as I watched the group of healthy, good-looking calves running around the pen!
Bottomline: Recalling My First “Lesson” which came in the form of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY… was/is helpful even today as I continue in my career building activities. Even more important is the realization that accepting PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY has led to engaging in other progressive personal development “spin-offs” including innovation, customer service, quality communication, and leadership. I trust you understand.
So, do you recall YOUR FIRST LESSON?
I don’t have to tell you or explain why EVERYONE in all walks of life are facing Communication: How Much Is Enough Or Too Much… challenges. Challenges like:
- What is the best communication method to use in certain areas?
- Who gets included in some emails or not others?
- Is it still OK to make your own handwritten sign and just put it in the hall?
- Are some issues still a “secret” to communicate when there is nothing secret about them?
- Is there short and long-term value in just giving most messages/information to everyone?
- How do you avoid having people think your messages are NOT that important?
The list of communication challenges questions is endless. However, this TRIPLE III TIME message is intended to offer some common sense communication challenge “helpers” to maybe use everyday… EVERYDAY!
First, no matter your personal/professional role or the goal of your communication… YOU are the LEADER. Content, distribution and timing are all in your court… so grab this responsibility opportunity and be decisive. Developing a style and standard for your communication will cause message receivers to look forward to your information and be more prepared for its distribution.
Second, in terms of distribution, I have always been more successful when siding in the area of INCLUSION. Eliminating the occurrence of co-workers or colleagues claiming “I didn’t receive that message” … or “no one told me” … is worth the extra effort of ultra-sharing action!
Finally, in addition to SIMPLICITY… AUTHENTICITY matters. There is nothing wrong with a colorful handwritten sign or message! People appreciate passion, caring, involvement, commitment and personal interest… especially when they can receive a custom visual!
Every communication responsibility is unique. But if you keep the terms: LEADER, INCLUSION, SIMPLICITY and AUTHENTICITY strategically in mind… you will be fine.
The topic of leadership truly generates a wide array of viewpoints, suggestions, historical examples, and assessments with regard to quality and style. Additionally, I believe it is difficult for anyone in a leadership role to accurately and completely explain their own methodology and arrangement to lead effectively. However, as a “case study” for this TRIPLE III TIME message, I would like to have you use a special TOP 10 list of questions to determine if you practice LEADING By Assumption.
- Do you regularly choose to NOT over assign… because you believe your workers can’t handle it?
- Do you move on a leadership issue only after you observe someone else taking action?
- Do you strategically limit input on a problem because of what you might hear?
- Do you NOT take on a new project because you believe it will never work?
- Do you limit the number of new initiatives, new services or new products you purse because you can only count on certain people?
- Do you become overwhelmed because it is your leadership practice to “just do it myself”?
- Do you consider it a successful workday if no challenging issues arose?
- Do you measure staff professional development by the number of years they have been on the job?
- Do you consider waiting until you get more, better information as a regular leadership strategy?
- Do you promote change or be content in knowing that “we have always done it this way”?
Unfortunately, I must report that LEADING By Assumption causes you to only look at where you have been… not where you want… need to grow!! Also, I must report that there are a large number of individuals that are LEADING By Assumption. How about YOU? Honestly, how well did you do on the TOP 10?
“Working ONLY for the Test?” OK… I must admit this is a very confusing title for our first 2020 LEARNING MOMENTS podcast. However, if you apply this phrase to the same concerns that are raised when you hear the statement: Teachers Only Teach to the Test… you begin to understand the point I am trying to make. Think about it. While at your day job… do we only focus on specific performance numbers or do we give workers appropriate time, space and support for creativity, individual ideas, and/or innovation? As always, our limited LEARNING MOMENTS time doesn’t allow us to address all the issues circling around this topic. But I hope you are motivated by this podcast message to give yourself and those that work with you some “dreaming-time”!
This week I received a consultant request for a Co-Worker – To – Co-Worker Customer Service Workshop. The requester asked that it be just a half-day session and would target about 20 workers who have worked together for a number of years… but in multiple business operation areas. Well at first I was pleased and enthused about the request. Why? Mainly because it was for a unique, new audience and in an area (customer service) that I feel solid in offering a good training message. However as I discussed the goals and challenges with the potential customer… I realized their hopes for topics and impacts were far from “regular”. So because of the critical learnings to be gained from preparing for the experience, I believe it deserves the opportunity to be this weeks TRIPLE III TIME message.
Part 1 of the session was to focus on “where people stand” in relation to their perspective on product quality and the company overall. They indicated that this form of united discussion never occurs, and they do NOT want workers to feel like “their job is just a job” but rather that they are a partner in what they produce and the role they play in the company. Is everyone part of the “family” … or just another payroll number.
Next on the agenda would be an analysis of “work approach differences”. The company leaders felt it was time to discuss that “it is OK and even cool” for workers to display different approaches to getting the job done. But again they let me know that it has never been acceptable or a priority to share work approach difference thoughts in any form… and especially not during a Co-Worker – To – Co-Worker CUSTOMER SERVICE staff development workshop!
Finally… Part 3 would break down the process of idea generation and idea sharing. Year-to-date they indicated that ideas only came from “the top” … because even if they came from the middle or bottom… the top claimed all the good ones. They were hopeful that I could design and facilitate a way to make idea generation and sharing a workable standard… but even more to create a means of enabling everyone to “add on” to individual ideas and thereby maximize idea ownership by all?
I am building the Co-Worker – To – Co-Worker CUSTOMER SERVICE WORKSHOP as I draft this message. Question: Does your organization or business understand that co-workers are direct customers to one another… everyday… EVERYDAY! Do your leaders developmentally step back and help everyone grow in this area? Would they/are they ready for a Co-Worker – To – Co-Worker CUSTOMER SERVICE WORKSHOP? Why or why not?
OK… please know that I have never been one to pledge one or more New Year Resolutions. As all of us have realized over our years, making meaningful promises to eat better, get more exercise, lessen our cell phone/computer times and/or stay in better contact with friends and family are all quality intentions… but are difficult to stay entrusted to. However just to try and set a new example and maybe help me improve on all life-fronts… I am pledging to create A “Mini-Resource Library” this year!
What do I mean by A “Mini-Resource Library”?
Let me explain. During my career years I have been fortunate to have many good friends and colleagues that have collected and stored a ton of resource materials that I have created or utilized multiple times. And without their strong support, I would have been so less effective in my leadership and consultant responsibilities.
Whether in a paper document format or online, I have been very poor in making sure I retained quality information that in many ways could have helped more people and groups in many, many ways. Hence, the need for A “Mini-Resource Library”!
Realistically, I picture my Mini-Resource Library for 2020 as a small “legal-looking” box. In it I would have 12 individual files that would contain documents, notes or computer-based references to projects that I have worked on during a specific month. I don’t plan on having files with a group of lengthy documents in them… rather just single pages of reference notes that would help me find it on my “not always friendly” computer. The goal would be to create a condensed “Mini-Resource Library” that would efficiently manage ideas and concepts, reduce the lose of valuable innovation shared, and MAKE ME MORE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for all of it!
Skip the New Year Resolution tradition label… and think about creating A “Mini-Resource Library” for yourself. You may be surprised and pleased with the special record you preserve.
As I thought about penning the last TRIPLE III TIME message for 2019, I considered offering… “A Year in Review”, “The Best of” and/or a cool remembrance story from holidays past. However, no matter which option I considered, my instinct of making sure this message had some useful “staying-power”, pushed Employing EMPOWERMENT to win out as the most important topic!
So as a starting point, think hard about how you are currently Employing EMPOWERMENT to help YOU… personally. Do you offer examples of being a cautious risktaker… or do you over-question attempts at trying something new/different? Do you continually think about “Always A Better Way!” opportunities or take pleasure in the status quo because constant change is NOT exactly something you look forward to?
Second, how do you consider Employing EMPOWERMENT as a professional… in your world-of-work? Do you surround yourself with those who look forward to WHAT ELSE and WHAT NEXT? Are you someone who drafts new ideas or approaches to problems and feels confident in sharing them with anyone? If you are a leader in your workplace… do you support those who offer alternative concepts and encourage others to “step-up” and share in leading your organizations drive for continuous improvement everyday… EVERYDAY?
Bottomline: I believe there is nothing more complimentary than witnessing a friend, colleague, or student Employing EMPOWERMENT… due to your influence. Don’t ever accept the position that “It’s Not My Job” to initiate and support Employing EMPOWERMENT to any situation. WHY… because going from Good-to-GREAT personally and professionally requires building a creative Employing EMPOWERMENT “We Are All In This Together Culture.” (So now are you ready for 2020??)