Adopt two good traits of cats
The phrase “a cat has nine lives” came from observations of reality. Cats can also fall from elevation, land on their feet and walk away with self-confidence in-tact. Love them or not, these beasts own
a unique combination of agility and resilience.
Things are the same and then they are not. Last year the team was all under the same roof. Then the world changed as did the work. The work team is now geographically
dispersed. It is becoming an international melting-pot composed of people who dress, speak, think and believe differently and are spread out around
the world. This is as exciting as it is challenging. Leading such a team requires new skills, greater knowledge and technology and likely time away from home and family.
We hear it and see it every day. The world is changing faster and in greater magnitude than ever. With those changes comes the fact that what we knew as true yesterday may
not be true tomorrow. These are realities over which we have no control. As leaders we not only have the responsibility that we all have to keep ourselves on the crest of the waves of change, but
also to anticipate emerging factors that require our teams to undo paradigms and related behaviors in order to succeed in new uncomfortable realities.
If behavior is driven by perspectives or beliefs, it follows that to stay on the crest of waves of change a persistent scrubbing of perspective is in order.
1. Blow-up stereotypes. “Generation ____ is lazy, selfish, entitled, non-committed, etc.”. “Baby-boomers are greedy, lazy, entitled and out-of-touch.” All of this has become media white-noise whether in the pages of WSJ, on the nightly news, or in documentaries. Good people doing great work exist across all generations. Effective leaders know their people as individuals and lead them as such. To do otherwise is lazy leadership. Judge people based on stereotype and you will find what you’re looking for and in the process make it more difficult for good people to be successful.
2. Multi-tasking is not the solution. More with less is an endemic mantra and in the down economy it went from bad to worse. It is time to stop pretending about head count reduction. The work of three people will not going be done by
one. The math doesn’t work; one person still does the work of one. There may be fractions of three but remember giving 110% is hyperbole and getting 300% from one person is more than fantasy. Survival mode requires the leader caught in the middle to quickly get exceptional at prioritizing, eliminating, saying no and being able to take a punch or more.
3. Fireman is not the leaders highest value. Putting out the fire may seem expedient and be so in the short run. Leaders do it because it’s exciting where the action is and it’s rewarding to jump in, get a quick tangible result and move on. Gratifying to the leader at the time, this approach is costly to the team. Jump in and make a decision when subordinates disagree and you take over their accountability. Others miss the opportunity to learn to make collaborative decisions. Facilitate them through log jams and they learn to do it themselves next time.
Effective leaders are good at anticipating change, adapting and positioning themselves to succeed quickly and lead their teams to do the same. No matter how good you get at this, leading through changes that are good for the business yet bad for people you care about never gets easier.
4. Work for mutual advantage. The work relationship only works when it works to the mutual advantage of both parties. Not every change you must implement does so. Leadership presumes there are people to lead. It is essential to get clear on the life you want and how your company and your role within it is helping you get what you want. Is it helping move you towards your personal objectives and live the life that is best for you and your family?
Ignore fear mongering and unemployment stats. There are more opportunities out there than you can imagine. You are a professional leader. Remember, leadership is the solution to what ails us and plenty ails us. There is no job security. There is career security in leaders who can guide solutions to what ails. It is built on reputation and connection. Build them as well outside of the business as you do within. I’m the Outsider and that’s what I think.