Archive for the 'management' Category

Thursday Quick Hits

• I received an interesting question yesterday from a new reader of the blog. Apparently, they disagree with my (and leading experts) opinions that leaders are made not born. Folks, I am personal proof that you are not born with leadership abilities. If I had been born with the leadership gene I don’t think I would have made and continue make mistakes in leadership. I am a firm believer that leadership is a journey, a process.

• While conversing with a friend I felt the need to encourage him to get out of his comfort zone and realize he was a leader at his place of employment. He had the typical response, “I’m not in management, I can’t lead.” Unfortunately that’s exactly what we’ve been brainwashed into believing…if you’re not at the top of the chain then you’re not a leader. Mark Sanborn in his book “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader,” discusses this topic in detail and explains that leadership is influence and not merely your position. If you positively influence others, if you inspire others, if you work to achieve goals by working with or coordinating the efforts of others, then you’re a leader. Don’t know about you but I think that pretty much takes care of everyone, from the middle school drama student all the way to Grandma’s bridge club. If you haven’t read Sanborn’s book PLEASE do so immediately…it should be required reading for anyone with a pulse.

• It always amazes me how seasons come and go in our lives. For the past few years I have poured my heart and soul into the leadership development of others. I found out long ago that the best way for me to learn is to teach. But for whatever reason, over the past few months more people who are going through some pretty tough situations have crossed my path. It’s becoming more apparent to me that I’m entering a season that will have me assist them in restoring their dreams, their finances, and their life. I’m pretty juiced about it too!

• College football season is upon us. Living in the south I can’t help but be biased toward the SEC and its 12 teams. So, I’m definitely pumped that tonight’s LSU/Mississippi State game marks the commencement of another season. Let’s just hope the bullies have some bite for the Bengal Tigers.

• I’m currently involved in a pretty radical project to assist in energizing and equipping members of a church to become small group leaders. Over the past few weeks we’ve tweaked the game plan and have what I believe will be the tools for a successful project. However, in order for us to win this game we actually need to kick it off. Good ideas are just that as long as we wait and twiddle our thumbs waiting for the right time to kick this thing off. Success requires action and I’ve about had it with the inaction of not getting this party started. The inaction of the churches leader’s is so loud I can’t hear a darn word their saying!

• May all of you have a tremendous and safe Labor Day Weekend.

Leadership v. Management

Here’s another example of how important it is for us to realize the difference between leadership and management. As evidenced below, a person can choose two ways to manage, correctly or incorrectly, management or mismanagement. True leadership is black and white, it either is or it isn’t. You’re either a leader or not. There’s no such thing as a misleader. This story exemplifies management with the absence of leadership.

While working out at the gym yesterday I couldn’t help but overhear an employee’s phone conversation. Apparently, he had heard through another employee that management would come later in the day for a termination meeting. As expected the soon to be fired employee was fuming and the fire could be heard throughout the gym. Paying closer attention to the one sided conversation I couldn’t help but be amazed at what I was hearing. Management had thought it would be a great idea to let another employee tip the soon-to-be-terminated employee of his impending doom. Management believed by doing this the terminated employee would resign his position before being terminated.

I’m amazed! Never in my life, especially in these days of increased work violence, have I heard of a more illogical approach to termination. By their mismanagement and illogical approach to termination they have thrown gas onto what was already a volatile situation. Hopefully, they have not put the safety of employees, customers and themselves in jeopardy.

Later in the day I’m gonna share with you some hip ways we can lead. Check it out.

Making a deposit into another’s account

I’ve blogged about this in the past and I think it’s a topic that needs to be revisited from time to time, and that’s the topic of making a deposit in the life of another.

I’ve read several articles recently discussing this topic and am amazed at the wide ranging opinions of leadership and management experts. Some say that the simple task of asking someone about their day is making a deposit into their life. Another group of experts say sending an encouraging e-mail is making a deposit.

These actions are certainly positive and well meaning however it’s my belief that they fall short of making a deposit into the life of another. To deposit something you must first sacrifice something. When you deposit a check, you have sacrificed it to the bank for later use. When you deposit those overdue DVD’s in the drop-off bin, you’ve sacrificed your viewing of that movie.
When I sit out on the daily mission of making a deposit into the life another a few important factors come to mind.

1. What am I sacrificing on their behalf? Is it time, money or self-satisfaction? If I’m not sacrificing something then is it truly a deposit?
2. Will the person who receives the deposit be able to make a withdrawal in the future? What good would a deposit in the life of another be without continual compounding interest?

When you ask someone how their day is going are you truly sacrificing and more importantly, can they continue to withdraw from this type of deposit? When you send an encouraging e-mail is the sacrifice of bandwidth and e-mail storage a true sacrifice?

Taking time to think

One of the toughest things for me to accomplish is taking the time to think. We max out our schedules with meetings and tasks and fail to give ourselves time to think. Personally, I had to schedule my thinking time and treat it like a meeting by putting it in my PDA. Like leadership expert Mark Sanborn, I spend most of my thinking or pondering time at a Starbuck’s. My daily agenda, setting short and long term goals all get their genesis at the coffee shop. I not only set personal goals, but family, career, community service, faith and impact goals.

Whether it’s at a Starbuck’s, in your study, office or some other quite place; take the time each day to get alone with yourself and think about what you want to accomplish during the day. Make sure that your daily agenda brings you a step closer to fulfilling your short and long term goals. Don’t do like some folks I’ve met who have some pretty good goals for their life, career and family, yet construct a daily agenda that has them going in a different direction.

As John Maxwell puts it, “a minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk.” When you really think about it, not planning your day, your goals and your life is pretty scary. When we plan our day and have a list of set goals we take the power of outside interference away. When we don’t take the time to set our agenda any little obstacle can take us off course. We can’t let the expectations of others determine the course of your life.

When we die it will be our name that is engraved on the tombstone above our resting place. Not our friends, not our co-workers, not even our mom or dad’s, but ours. To author a life that is rewarding we must take the time to think.

Who let the dogs out?

On today’s front page of Inc.com there is an article delving into the “exotic animal” industry that has ballooned into a $15 million empire. According to the article, kinkajous, hedgehogs, sugar gliders and other exotic animals are becoming such household pets that they may overtake the dog as man’s best friend.

So why is everyone letting their dogs out and welcoming exotic pets as their new best friends? As one person who was asked this question stated, “Everyone wants to be different, they want to stand out in the crowd.”

This got me thinking how relevant this statement is to our lives as leaders. In our society today we spend millions of dollars on pets and other material possessions in the hopes of being different and standing out in the crowd. Once the newness of the pet wears off and more of our friends get exotic pets themselves, the more we cease to stand out in the crowd and we recycle our pursuit of being different. It’s a never ending cycle.

Imagine if we used this same cycle to improve ourselves as human beings, improved our attitudes, leadership and management. What happens when the shine wears off our new found attitude, our friends contract the disease of encouragement and our employees duplicate our leadership? Our pursuit of being different and standing out in the crowd will propel us to higher altitude of attitude, stronger leadership and better management. It’s as natural as our heart beat. It’s a never ending cycle that will reproduce never ending positive results.

Don’t e-mail a problem

Ok, I’m speaking to myself as much as I am to anyone on the issue of e-mail. If you’re like me e-mail and text messaging has become your top form of communication. I send and answer about 100 per day. While it makes me more efficient and saves lots of time, it does keep me from connecting personally with the person I’m e-mailing. I’ve noticed over the past few months that communications with several of my business associates and clients have been primarily through e-mail and text messaging.
Apparently I’m not alone. I just spent the better part of the morning arbitrating a serious conflict in an organization that was started by e-mail. After finally getting the sender and receiver to agree to meet with me we solved the situation rather quickly, but not before it had affected each employee within the organization.

Long story short, the e-mail addressed an important situation within the organization and was sent to the person whom the sender felt was most able to resolve the situation. Because the receiver seldom comes in contact with the sender she felt she was being blamed for the situation. Once they met face-to-face and explained their feelings it was a big case of misunderstandings.
An important thing to remember when using e-mail as your main source of communication is to never address personal or negative situations. E-mail and text messaging is just the words, which leaves it more misunderstood than the spoken words. E-mail is also more admissible in litigation than the spoken word.

It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and address conflict and negative situations. Remember we all rely on tone of voice, facial expressions and eye gaze to figure out what someone really means. These are all factors that are lost when transmitting an e-mail.
Check your list of those whom you e-mail frequently, if you don’t know what sex they are, where they live or what race they are, it’s probably time you met them face-to-face or gave them a phone call.

Simplifying team building

In this week’s Inc.com Leadership Newsletter Chris Musselwhite tackles a topic that has been the impetus of several business management books published over the last few years, building and leading high performance teams. As one who has read many of these books, I often find myself being overwhelmed with page after page of tasks a leader should perform to get positive results from those they lead. This is the very reason Musselwhite’s article is a breath of fresh air.

It’s said that the best leaders take the complicated and make them simple. This is certainly the case with Musselwhite as he simplifies what a leader should exemplify when building an effective team into three categories.

• Promoting understanding of why a group of people need to be a team. The team needs to understand its shared goals and what each team member brings to the team that is relevant and crucial to its overall successes.
• Ensuring the team has adequate knowledge to accomplish its task. This includes information relevant to the team’s goals and individual job competencies.
• Facilitating effective interaction in such as way as to ensure good problem solving, decision making and coordination of effort.

The articles goes on to include characteristics of highly effective teams, which is a great way to see if you and your team has what it takes to be effective. Read the entire article by clicking HERE.