Listen to our latest episode of the Chattahoochee Driftwood leadership podcast where we discuss the leadership approach of “Be-Know-Do”.
Here is another way of thinking about leadership from someone I enjoy – Simon Sinek.
“The leaders of great organizations do not see people as a commodity to be managed to grow money. They see the money as the commodity to be managed to help grow their people.”Simon Sinek in “Leaders Eat Last”
“To see money as subordinate to people and not the other way around is fundamental to creating a culture in which the people naturally pull together to advance the business.”Simon Sinek in “Leaders Eat Last”
“Nine Lies About Work” is an excellent book by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall that address nine common misconceptions that are a bit faddish in the organizational world right now and they quickly get to the heart of the matter in this book.
This is a book I would recommend adding to your library.
Don’t let the title fool you. What I am suggesting is simple, but incredibly difficult as it goes against our nature.
Want to take one simple step towards being a better leader?
Become less selfish and become more selfless.
This one thing will change everything about how you lead.
Listen to Episode 2 of the Chattahoochee Driftwood leadership podcast and learn how you view people has a direct impact on how well you lead people. Click here to go to the podcast.
There is an old adage that goes something like this – “People join organizations but leave managers”. I am not sure of the originator of this statement, but most of us realize just how true it is at work.
People are attracted to your organization by your purpose, your mission, and your vision. They hopefully resonate with your organization’s values.
However, what keeps them there at your organization, happy and productive, are good team leaders, good managers. What really matters is what happens day-to-day in the trenches. A bad manager quickly negates the best of mission and vision statements. A bad manager who undermines or contradicts the stated core values of the organization begets cynicism in those they lead.
It is great to have powerful purposes, meaningful missions, and inspiring visions, but what really matters is how good are your team leaders, your managers?
The day-to-day work life in an organization overshadows any grand organizational mission / vision statements.
One of my new favorite books is Hal Gregerson’s Questions Are The Answer. In his book he recounts many conversations he has had with some fascinating people who have learned to ask the big questions; the important questions.
One of my favorites is his conversation with Joan LaRovere a pediatric cardiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. In his interview with Dr. LaRovere, she talks about a couple of very powerful questions that guide her:
“Is this good for my soul, or is it bad for my soul? Is this getting me closer to the human being that I want to become?”Joan LaRovere in Hal Gregersen’s book “Questions Are The Answer”.
Powerful questions in my opinion and important in making good decisions about both the the small things and the large things in your life.
Try asking them of yourself today.
“Jargon masks real meaning.”
I hope that you will allow me some small liberties with this phrase. Jargon relates to words or phrases that are used within certain professions or groups that are often difficult to understand outside of those contexts. Ms. Chatman’s argument was that “People use it as a substitute for thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction that they want to give others.”
Here is where I will begin to take liberties with this phrase. Millennials. I said it out loud, which seems akin to speaking the name Voldemort aloud. The term millennial has become such a “buzzword” and catchall for all-the-bad-things over the last decade. This apt-named generation has been blamed for everything from the housing shortage to cereal sales dropping to the decline of the sale of beer; all with plenty of research to back the blame.
Full disclosure, I am a millennial, of the older set that came of age during the recession of 2008. Admittedly, I do resonate with a lot of what is said about my generation. I would rather my doctor’s office text me reminders and email me about bills that I owe. For one, I keep my calendar on my phone and I can add to it automatically from a text, also mail can get lost and it is a waste of paper product. To me, I am being efficient and thoughtful – not lazy. Yet, at the same time I have weekly phone calls scheduled with friends that live in a different state than my own as my relationships are important to me.
I believe that jargon can be helpful in helping a group understand their common purpose but too often it shifts to being a substitute for thinking hard – just as Ms. Chatman said. The term millennial is useful in giving a framework to other people about a very large swath of the population yet it has devolved into an excuse for people to not think and to not deal with the issues at hand but to shift blame. It is often easier to, for example, blame millennials for the housing shortage yet not take into account that existing homeowners are rate-locked which has everything to do with the market and mortgage rates. And the market has all generations participating, not just millennials.
Millennials haven’t made the big sweeping changes that the world is facing, but we are reaping the rewards and the drawbacks of decisions made years before we came of age or were even alive. The concept of the internet was first introduced in the early 1960s by J.C.R. Licklider. Yet, as millennials we are the first generation to begin to fully participate with the internet -almost 30 years afterwards.
I, for one, would prefer that people would come up with solutions that involve everyone (we now have 5 generations in the workplace-at once!) instead of using inflammatory jargon that is thrown about so carelessly deflecting blame. As a millennial what I am asking, is that you would be willing to come alongside me and help show me the way…understanding that if and when I take your advice it will most likely look very different in my own life. Mostly, because I am a different person but also because much has changed and will continue to change within our world. Yet, I know that sound advice will always be sound and I respect those that have paved the way before me and as well as alongside me.
The best team leaders are distinguished from others when they are able to meet two categories of needs of their team members.
“. . . you make us feel part of something bigger, that you show us how what we are doing together is important and meaningful; and secondly, that you make us feel that you can see us, and connect to us, and care about us, and challenge us, in a way that recognizes who we are as individuals. We ask that you give us this sense of universality – all of us together – and at the same time recognize our own uniqueness; to magnify what what we all share, and to lift up what is special about each of us.”Buckingham, Marcus and Goodall, Ashley. (2019). Nine Lies About Work. Harvard Business School Publishing. Boston, MA.
I am finding Nine Lies About Work to be a fascinating read and so far I am finding that I agree with most of what I am reading. The above quote resonated deeply with me. Teamwork is important and people respond not to goals but to doing work that is meaningful – people want to be a part of something important. At the same time, each of us is incredibly unique and good leaders know that and celebrate the incredible variety and deeply appreciate each individual on their team and what their uniqueness adds to the team.
Lead your teams with a common purpose that lifts them up and at the same time appreciate each individual that makes up that team. that is what good leaders do.