Leadership Advance

Leadership Thoughts for Life Long Learners

Archive for the tag “leader”

VISION < ?

I have always heard that a compelling VISION is the most important ingredient in building an organization. Vision gives a common focal point for all to push towards and build around. No doubt, a compelling vision is necessary if you desire to attract people to your organization and ultimately make measurable forward progress. The only problem with focusing all of your energy as a leader on a compelling vision is that vision may attract people, but CULTURE will keep them. Your vision tells me what you desire to do, but culture tells me how you will actually accomplish the vision. I have met a lot of people with grand visions, yet their organizations are extremely unhealthy. Vision may attract talent, but the culture that exists in your organization will determine whether the talent stays. Vision may attract high energy and high impact people, but culture will determine whether they will remain high energy and if they will be high impact. For this reason, I have determined that vision is necessary to give us a focal point to work towards, but culture will determine whether the vision is ever accomplished. If you never see your vision come to pass, the problem may not be the vision, it most likely is the culture that is trying to accomplish the vision. As a leader, do you know your VISION? Also, have you considered the CULTURE it will take to see that vision happen?

Self Fulfillment vs. Self Development

I was reading John Maxwell book, “15  Invaluable Laws of Growth” and was deeply impacted by what he stated in the Law of Contribution.  Maxwell differentiates the difference in living a life focused on Self Fulfillment vs a life focused on Self Development.

Self Fulfillment – thinks of how something serves me.

Self Development – thinks of how something helps me to serve others.

Self Fulfillment – feeling good is the product.

Self Development- feeling good is the by-product.

I do not know any leader that would not list one of the goals of their lives as desiring a feeling of self fulfillment.  Yet, according to these definitions we realize that living with the focus of self development is a much deeper and generous claim.  I have no doubt fallen into the trap of desiring self fulfillment at different times in my life.  Yet, when self fulfillment becomes the goal it sabotages the culture you work in.  The insinuation is that there is a defining moment when we arrive.  The moment we think we have arrived we begin to lose our grip on the progress we have made.  When self development becomes the aim, we never buy in to the mindset that there is some elusive “arrival” and we focus on consistently getting better as we progress forward.

 

 

The “BEE” Method of Empowerment

I am privileged to lead a monthly small group in our community which pulls business leaders together to discuss leadership principles and how they apply to our current situations.  This last week our topic was on the concept of Empowerment.  While thinking about this topic throughout the week, I have come to believe that Empowerment encompasses three elements, which I will call the BEE Method of Empowerment.

Empowerment always begins with Believing in someone first.  One could argue that it is impossible to empower another leader unless first you believe in them as an individual.  Empowerment begins with Belief in.  When someone believes in us, it sets wind to our sails and frees us to know that our value is not in proving our worth, but in making progress.

Unfortunately, many leaders are convinced that believing in someone is all that is required to empowering an individual.  Nothing is more frustrating in life than having someone believe in you as an individual, yet feeling as though you do not have the proper tools or knowledge needed to accomplish the task set before you.  I may be a very skilled writer, but if I am never given a computer with word processing capabilities, the fact that you believe in my writing abilities means nothing.  We all have natural talents…. the difference between those who achieve and those who don’t is found in those who believe in their talents and are equipped to use the talents for the betterment of all.  This is why the second stage of empowering someone is to EQUIP them.  I see someone with potential that I want to Empower, so I 1) Believe in them, 2) Equip them.

The last part of empowering someone can be difficult for the leader that has pride issues.  The completion of Empowering someone comes when you Believe in them, you Equip them and then finally you Endorse them.  Leadership is influence and influence comes through permission.  When a Leader Endorses someone they are moving their belief into action by giving the one whom they have equipped permission to influence others. The reason this is difficult on the prideful leader is because once an endorsement is made it reflects on our character.  Yet, I have come to realize that it is impossible to create a culture of empowerment without being willing to put your character on the line every once in a while.
“BEE” Empowering – 1. Believe In 2. Equip 3. Endorse

Values, Morals & Ethics

A common phrase that is repeated often is, “actions speak louder than words.”  When contemplating the issue of personal values, morals, and ethics, we must focus primarily on the actions and choices we take rather than just on stated values.  Just as the clearest identifier of a seed is the fruit it ultimately bares, our actions become the fruit of our lives that flow from our roots or our values and morals.  Having clearly defined values and morals are what ultimately guide our decision- making process both personally, as well as organizationally.  In this paper, I will briefly discuss how values and morals guide my decision-making process.

The very nature of being a leader immediately positions us in a place of influence.  In many cases, the leader of an organization is the one that does not run from a tough decision or problem, but rather is the one that embraces the difficulty standing ahead.  While some decisions the leader must make are simple, many predicaments the leader is given to handle are not clear-cut.  It is in these moments the leader must find something deeper within them than just what can be found on the surface.  Clearly defined values and a moral code that drives ethical behavior must come into play.

When faced with an ethical decision that will ultimately affect myself, as well as those I lead I must begin by digging beneath the surface to the core of who I am by exploring my values and morals in light of the choice.  For me personally, these values and morals come from a solid foundational belief in the Word of God as the authority in my life.  Therefore, it is my personal desire for others to discover the fruit of my life in perfect alignment and sustained by the root of the Word of God.

When faced with an ethical or moral dilemma it is not wise to rely upon feelings as the guide of our choice.  While a gut feeling can lead you in some instances it is not a reliable standard to use when facing issues of this magnitude.  Having made the decision to build my life on the Word of God and viewing the Word of God as the foundation of all moral choices and the seedbed for my personal values I always go back to it when seeking clarity on specific issues.  In many instances, the Word of God will speak clearly for or against an issue that society views as a personal preference. On the occasions when it doesn’t, I must begin to process my decision-making through the lens of my values and principles, which are rooted in the Word of God.

If I do not have clear direction on a difficult decision I am facing, I then ask how the decision I am about to make will affect the values and principles I have chosen to live by.  If a decision for something is legally and morally ok, yet it would violate my personal values and principles, I am obligated to not pursue the decision any further.  If the decision is legally and morally ok and it does not violate my personal values and ethics, I would then place the decision in perspective of short- term and long- term benefits and drawbacks of the choice.  Information is necessary to make wise choices; therefore, if I am lacking information I know I could get if I pursued it, I will try to get that information before I make the decision.  In this case, ignorance is not bliss.

Just as the fruit of a tree determines its DNA, the actions and choices I make determine what my moral code and personal values are.  It is vitally important in the life of a leader to determine early what they personally value. The process of determining ones personal values in life will liberate you to make choices based upon those values later on.  In a sense, our personal values and moral code become the track for which we choose to live our life upon.  The role of a leader is established by the permission of those who choose to follow.  When a leader clearly defines their values and morals and then makes decisions based upon them, trust is built between the leader and follower, which in turn establish a greater permission to lead.

 

Four Considerations About Delegating

Leaders learn to delegate.  The truth is, while all leaders delegate, I have come to realize not many do it well, and even fewer feel as though they are good at it.  The flip side of the coin is that there are many leaders that think they are great at delegating, but when you dig a little deeper you recognize they are not delegating effectively.  If delegation is done properly it can produce incredible results.  Delegation can maximize the leaders time, it can broaden their influence, and it can aid in producing incredible opportunity for those the leader surrounds himself with.  A few quick thoughts to consider as it relates to delegation

First, many confuse delegating a project with dumping a project on someone else.  Some leaders pride themselves in being incredible at delegating, but when you dig deeper you will discover those they are “delegating” the project to feel as though the leader is dumping unwanted projects on them.  Nothing will build distrust between a team member and leader faster than when the leader dumps what they do not want to do on someone else.  Shifting something you are responsible for onto someone else is not delegation.

Secondly, delegating without releasing your team member to actually do the work necessary is not delegation at all, but it is a sign of a control issue.  If a project is something you delegate, you must be willing to release the team member to do the hard work, but also you must be the first to praise them for the work when it is done.  A true sign of delegating without releasing is if you try to hold your team member responsible for what goes wrong with the project, but you are the first one that desires all the praise if things go well.

Third, delegation without authority is a recipe for failure.  If you delegate a project you must empower your team member and give them the authority to actually accomplish what you have asked.  You can not delegate a project yet not give the authority required to actually accomplish the project.

Last, delegating without clear expectations and timelines is not true leadership.  Delegation requires the leader to set the tone, expectations and timelines for those he is delegating a project too.  It is unfair to hold a team member responsible to timelines and expectations which have not clearly been communicated by the leader.

Post Navigation