PART ONE – Last Month’s Key Points
1. Extraordinary Leaders Have “Learning Agility”. Spend more time reflecting on your successes and failures AND what you learned from them. Life is a great teacher, but most of us daydream during important lessons. As you train your mind to reflect and discover insights, you will improve your learning process. Block out some quiet time to reflect on what life is teaching you about how to be a great leader. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Gandhi
2. Develop Your Leadership Strengths into Superpowers. Most of us want to improve by eliminating weaknesses. Unless your weakness is significant and critical to your role, you should ignore it and put your attention and focus on further developing your strengths. Research about extraordinary leaders shows they have flaws and weaknesses but what makes them extraordinary are their big strengths. Don’t fret over not being perfect!
3. Outstanding Leaders Connect the Dots. They are intentional about observing and practicing. They observe what they and others do that works. They see good leadership and they emulate it. They are good at intentional practice and learning from their practice. Practice at least one important leadership action every week and at the end of the year you will be a much better leader.
“Thank you for your guidance, coaching, sharing of ideas and experiences. It was great working with you”
PART TWO – 3 Leadership Ideas
# 1 – Good is ___ _____ ______!
Finish the phrase with the first thing that comes to your mind. You are the leader of your team – leaders go first. In my mind, given my personal standards, good is “not good enough.” What I mean is if you can be 10% better as a leader, if your team can be 10% better, you should go for it this year. How can you personally show up differently as a leader? What does 10% better look like for you?
Most leaders have some things they let slide, hurting their effectiveness. Answer these questions: Do you cancel your one-on-one meetings because of big fires that have to be put out? Do you organize your team meetings in a way that creates inspiration and motivation? Are you delegating as much as you can to help your team learn by doing? Are you ensuring the most important priorities are personally getting your best, and do you eliminate distractions and obstacles for your team to stay focused? Do you have a better plan this year to develop your team more rapidly? Are you prepared to hold your team more accountable to treat each other with total trust and respect? Do you have a formal coaching process to pour yourself into your people?
“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution…”Aristotle
# 2 – Great Leaders Develop Leaders
Outstanding leaders know when to get out of the way of their team. There is a delicate balance between leading and following – great leaders are also great followers. Sometimes your best leadership action is to follow. What I mean is that if you are the one that makes all the hard decisions, solves all the complex problems, puts together the meeting agendas, runs the meetings, makes the presentations, creates the budgets, and establishes the vision & strategy, you may be hurting your team.
“If you delegate tasks, you create followers. If you delegate authority, you create leaders.” Craig Groeschel
Most of what you do could be shared with a member of your team. For their development, it is important that you think about who can do what for their benefit. Who can make the big presentation for you? Who could learn your budget and make recommendations on how to achieve it this year? Which small group could own the analysis and recommendation of the problem no one has been able to figure out?
Leaders are made; they are not born. Leadership development doesn’t happen on its own. To develop your best people into great leaders – create a formal plan (Not sure how? Read BESS BOST EVER!).
“Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.” — Tom Peters”
# 3 – Leadership Is Leading Change
The very essence of leadership is to lead people to do something different, perhaps something they have never done before. Great leaders focus on the change process. They own the effectiveness of the change plan, its implementation, the consequences, and the final output. Successful change always requires getting managerial support, getting buy-in from other departments, overcoming resistance to change, and helping employees through the emotions of endings, transitions, and new beginnings.
I personally think, managing, mobilizing, and leading change successfully might be the hardest part of a leader’s job. John Kotter, the preeminent change author (Leading Change) suggests leaders need to set the vision, align people to it, and inspire them to make it happen. The number one obstacle to driving change is allowing too much complacency or not using enough urgency to change. Very little these days stays the same. If we are in a constant state of change, it means we need to lead others to change something every week.
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter
PART THREE – Application
- What is my plan to lead my team to create a culture of excellence this year?
- What is my plan to develop my leaders in ’23?
- How can I get better at leading change?
1. Leading Change by John Kotter – regarded by many as the authority on leadership and change
2. BEST BOSS EVER! – The 5 steps to rapidly develop yourself into the leader everyone wants to follow by Don Frericks
3. Feedback Isn’t Enough to Help Your Employees Grow by Peter Bregman and Howard Jacobson in Harvard Business Review
a. Create a plan for yourself to lead a culture of excellence and do one thing every week. Assess your progress and effort weekly.
b. Start formal leadership development coaching sessions with your key leaders. Hold them accountable to plan, execute and develop leadership.
c. Assess the last large-scale change you lead. What didn’t you do or do enough? Build an improvement plan for you to lead the next change more effectively.
PS. Would you do me a favor? Please forward this newsletter to a friend or colleague you respect and could benefit from.