A leader's behavior

There is absolutely nothing that will impact the direction of a company more than the behaviors of its leaders. If you are a leader in your organization then focus almost exclusively on your own behavior if you wish to see change in those around you. This goes to the very root of strategy and execution (for those who were about to argue with me) because those activities will be heavily impacted by how a leader behaves during the meetings to develop and implement a company's strategy. There is no escaping the fact that as the leadership goes, so goes the organization.

If you are frustrated or disappointed with the performance of your team, dig deep and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What example have I set? Are you accountable? Have you taken your share of deliverables and nailed them? Are you being the lead dog and showing people how to get shit done?

  • How am I showing up? Are you positive and energized? If things are not going well is your head down or are you even more determined? Those around you will take little inspiration from your words because they are scrutinizing your every move. They know when you are frustrated, upset, and worried...maybe even before you do.

  • What am I pretending I don't know? Are there folks on the team who are under-performing yet nothing is done about it? Is the current strategy not working but no one wants to admit it? Have you lost your way and/or not sure what to do next? Remember the real danger here is...the company's "leadership culture" is whatever the you accept and/or exemplify.

  • What am I hoping they don't ask me about? This is the uncomfortable step that follows the previous bullet point. You often know things before others because you have better vantage point so there is time for you to act in advance. This is what happens when you don't. There is possibly nothing more demoralizing for those in your care than when they have to ask you about things that obviously wrong.

There is a simple (but not easy) 2 part solution...

  • Be yourself...always. Great leaders know who they are and embrace it aggressively. The allow their teams to see both their strengths and weaknesses and hold themselves accountable for the results of both

  • Be radically candid (credit to Kim Scott who wrote the book). A leader must genuinely care about others. When you care about others, sometimes you have to share things with them that may be hard to both say and hear. This part is all about trust. If they trust you, they will know that what you are saying is meant to build them up and not tear them down.

Leading sucks! There is just not way around it. For me it is just like being a parent and the 80/20 rule looms large. Ask any leader you know and, if they are radically candid, they will say the same. Leading sucks because it is fucking hard work BUT work that is so worth doing. The 80/20 rule applies because it is 20% percent of the work that provides you with 80% of the pure, unadulterated joy you feel from seeing others succeed. The challenge is managing your behavior the other 80% of the time!

E is the only Q that matters

Bring Light