- Pushing decision making down to the absolute lowest level; Decentralized decision making is imperative.
- Reward your folks for asking for “forgiveness” instead of “permission”.
- Rejecting “Zero Defects” mentality.
- Promoting the 75% solution.
- Introduces speed / adaptability within the chaos.
- Focus on the “Intent”
- Tell them “what” you want
- Leave the “how” up to them
When I look back and replay the tape on some of my leadership failures, the failures often stemmed from me taking my eye off of the simple and obvious. The times I have failed as a leader were those times I was focused on myself.
As leaders we have to realize the basic essential hunger that rests in all of us; the desire to be appreciated, approved, valued, and accepted.
It’s so basic and ripe with “common sense”, but if we as leaders could learn to focus all of our energy on serving others, we could overcome many of the problems that are plaguing our businesses, schools, homes, and personal lives.
If you want to be appreciated, then you must show & give appreciation. You want to be approved and valued, then you must generously dish out approval and value. You want to be accepted, then you must learn to accept others and love them where they’re at.
As the famous saying goes about recognition: grown men die for it and babies cry for it.
Some of the best leaders I have worked for were those that were generous in their appreciation and validation. Receiving a simple thank you note, e-mail, or verbal praise at a meeting meant more to me than any fancy award or formal recognition. The key was that their appreciation was genuine and sincere.
The beautiful thing about appreciation is that it’s one of those gifts that the more you give away, the more you’ll get in return. Don’t be stingy with this valuable gift.
Remember, at the root of all successful leadership is a servant heart. Despite what you are feeling inside, be deliberate in choosing to focus your energy on others.
It’s never about you; it’s always about them.
In this podcast I discuss how being intentional is the first step in your personal & leadership growth; and I highlight John Maxwell’s “Growth Gap Traps”:
- The Assumption Gap – “I assume that I will automatically grow.”
- The Knowledge Gap – “I don’t know how to grow”
- The Timing Gap – “It’s not the right time to begin.”
- The Mistake Gap – “I am afraid of making mistakes”
- The Perfection Gap – “I have to find the best way before I start”
- The inspiration Gap – “I don’t feel like doing it.”
- The Comparison Gap – “Others are better than I am”
- The Expectation Gap – “I thought it would be easier than this.”
Intuitively we all know that we need to be confident to be leaders; we naturally follow and are drawn to confident leaders.
So the question becomes how do we gain confidence?
It certainly comes with knowledge and experience. But the unfortunate reality is that we are often thrust into positions and situations which we have little knowledge or experience in; yet the requirement for confidence is still there.
In this podcast episode I discuss how great leaders are confident in themselves, their vision, & their people.
I also go into detail in what I think are the great “Confidence Killers”:
- Low Self Image: “I don’t think I can” rises from a deeper “I don’t think I AM.”
- Fear: True confidence doesn’t come from always being RIGHT; rather it comes from not fearing to be WRONG.
- Other People’s Opinion of You: If you worry about what people think about you, it’s because you have more confidence in their opinion of you that you have of your own.
Some things to consider/some brutal facts to face when we deal with self-leadership:
- Activity does not necessarily equal accomplishment.
- Leaders who aren’t focused aren’t as effective as they could be.
- Human nature seems to endow us with the ability to size up everybody in the world except ourselves.
In this podcast episode I discuss the Keys to Leading Yourself
- Learn follower-ship. What does it truly mean to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?
- Develop Self-Discipline. Especially in the areas of:
- Time usage
- Money management
- Thinking positive and character building thoughts
- Developing your own purpose
- Leading your life or being lead through life
- Practice Patience. The point of leading is not to cross the finish line first. It’s to take people across the finish line with you.
- Seek Accountability. Personal and professional accountability are imperative because we all have a human nature that will lead us astray.
We must earn the right to lead anyone beyond ourselves.
For example, Medal of Honor recipient Sgt John Basilone on Guadalcanal repelling 3,000 Japanese for three days and nights without sleep, rest, or food; or Neil Armstrong taking control away from the computer and manually flying the Lunar Module to a safer landing spot on the moon with only 40 seconds of fuel to spare.
It’s easy to understand courage in this context; these “life and death” type scenarios. But what about courage in the “everyday” that we are required to exhibit?
I think most of us equate courage as fearless acts of valor that are reserved for larger-than-life scenarios. It’s easy to look at these type of fearless acts and wonder if we have what it takes to exhibit courage; and therefore be a leader.
It’s important to note, however, that exhibiting courage does not mean that one acts without fear. In fact fear is actually a requirement of courage. Courage is the act of being scared to death and doing what’s required anyway. One of my favorite quotes comes from World War I Ace Eddie Rickenbacker where he said, “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”
In this context, every day we are faced with courageous choices and acts. Every time you act upon your gut instincts; every time you listen and follow your heart; every time you choose to do the right thing; you’re exhibiting courage.
It takes everyday acts of courage to deal with your life situations, love, family and work.
Your child is choking, a customer is irate and irrational, a team member is not pulling his weight, you come upon a car accident, you fly your aircraft through a flock of birds on take-off and lose all of your engines…
How you respond to stressful situations will make or break you as a leader.
As leaders you have no choice but to remain calm, regardless of the situation. Therefore it’s required leaders learn how to compartmentalize their emotions and fear.
A compartmentalization technique I learned in aviation is what’s called “Hack the Clock”.
In this podcast I discuss compartmentalization techniques that I learned in flight school that can help you remain calm in stressful situations.
In the aviation community, pilots literally live and die by them. It’s been said that a pilot’s Flight Manual (rule book) is written in blood; you don’t follow what’s in the rule book, bad things can and will happen.
In Navy/Marine Corps aviation, the rule book for all aircraft is the NATOPS flight manual. In the opening paragraph of this manual is this blunt statement: “This manual contains vital and required information on all aircraft systems, performance data, and operating procedures required for safe and effective operations…..Read this manual from cover to cover; it’s your responsibility to have a complete knowledge of its entire contents.”
Pretty clear-cut and straight forward; you don’t follow the rules you’ve got a good chance of losing your wings, your aircraft, and your life.
There’s another statement in this opening paragraph that is equally powerful and important. It states: “This manual, however, is not a substitute for common sense and sound judgement.”
In this Podcast episode I highlight:
- That rules are necessary, and can be a good thing.
- However, there may be times that doing the right thing is in direct violation to the rule, regulation, process or law.
- As leaders we need to be prepared to have the courage to always do the right thing.
- No rule, regulation, or rule can cover every possible contingency.
The reality is that all of us are dealing with ever increasing levels of chaos in all aspects of our lives. The question becomes how do we effectively deal with the chaos and uncertainty that surrounds us.
Though I’m not an advocate of bringing gasoline to a fire and adding to the chaos, I’ve resigned my thinking and mindset that uncertainty and chaos are inevitable. Therefore I focus on how to become comfortable operating and excelling within an unpredictable chaotic environment.
In this episode of the Courageous Leadership Podcast I discuss:
- How chaos & uncertainty are unavoidable; therefore we need to learn how to become effective in a world of uncertainty.
- Planning is important, but we don’t plan for perfection. Rather, we plan to become more effective for the guaranteed unforeseen.
- Plans become useless once they are put into affect; flexibility is a requirement once your plan is underway.
- Instead of detailed granular plans, as a leader put your energy towards the overall “intent” or the what & why.
- Leave the “how” up to your functional leaders.
- A culture of decentralized decision making is imperative for success within chaos.
Instead it has everything to do with fully understanding what you can affect in your current situation as a leader; and consequently putting all of your energy and focus on where you can be the most effective.
In this episode I highlight:
- That as a leaders we like to focus on big solutions and the big ideas.
- But we can’t lose sight of what we truly can affect.
- Even in the most difficult of circumstances we can’t lose sight on the affect we have on those closest to us.
- Focusing too much on the large victory, the overwhelming situations, and the frustrating circumstances takes precious time and energy on what we can truly affect.