Leadership 101

simple insights for those in leadership

Quote of the Day | 10.31.11

Don’t let your circumstances or habits rule your choices today.

– Seth Godin

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Five Leadership Things I’ve Read This Week



Counting the Cost – The High Price of Moral Failure
Doug Fields posts an article by Marv Penner on his blog about moral failure, the boundaries we need to have in place as leaders, and remembering the high cost involved.

The Difference Between Management and Leadership
Seth Godin writes brieflyon the key difference between being a management and leadership.

Tony Morgan writes on Senior Leadership Teams and who should be on them.

A great quote by @RonEdmondson:  “A mature leader says what needs saying & doesn’t say what needs kept silent. And knows the difference.”  How do I keep that one right there and ready to use in my own life more often?  More of this in his blog post about the same.

And one more great quote – this one by Rick Warren: “New growth happens on your newest branches, not the trunk.”

October 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day | 10.28.11

The linchpin (leader) is able to invent a future, fall in love with it, live in it – and then abandon it on a moment’s notice.

-Seth Godin

October 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day | 10.26.11

People follow because they want to, not because you can order them to.

– Seth Godin

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Thots | Leadership Lessons From Game Five of the 2011 World Series, Part 1

It was the bottom of the eighth inning and the game was tied, 2-2.  The Rangers were threatening with men on base. Manager Tony LaRussa made the call to the bullpen to get left-hander Marc Rzepczyski and right-hander Jason Motte up and loose.  The bullpen coach never heard Motte’s name mentioned and only had Rzepczyski up.  When LaRussa noticed that Motte wasn’t up and getting loose, he called the bullpen again. This time the bullpen coach misheard the name and got Lance Lynn up.  Lynn had just pitched the night before and LaRussa had only wanted to use him in an emergency. What happened after this series of miscommunications and not having the right guys up and ready to pitch in relief proved fatal for the St. Louis Cardinals as the Rangers went ahead on a Mike Napoli two-run double and eventually won the game 4-2.

Communication failure.  That’s what the Cardinals had Monday night in Game Five of the World Series.  It led to a loss and dropping 3 games to 2 in the series.  It would be easy to pass blame in all sorts of directions.  LaRussa could blame the bullpen coach for not listening.  The bullpen coach could blame LaRussa for not speaking up and speaking clearly.  The Cardinals could be blaming the Rangers organization for having a sub-par phone system.  The Cardinals could blame the fans for being too noisy.  The list of blame could go on and on.  But, at the end of the day, there was still a communications breakdown that resulted in a big loss.
Communication is an art.  In many ways it is a dance.  It is a two-way street.  It involves numerous senses.  And it is one of the areas where leaders often fail.  And when communication fails, the results can be damaging.  Feelings can be hurt.  Relationships damaged.  Profits lost.  Organizations destroyed.  Chaos created.  Leaders do well to make learning the art of good communication a high priority.  Below are some simple thoughts on the art of good communication.
  • Communication always involves more than the dispensing of information.  The receipt of that information is also vital.
  • Communication goes far beyond mere words.  Tones in voice often communicate more than the words themselves do.  Body language can trump both the words and the tone.
  • Communication is affected by the environment in which it takes place.  The same conversation takes on a very different feel if it is held over a meal instead of across a desk.
  • Communication is always colored by the recipient’s unique pair of glasses.  The way Sam receives a piece of information may be completely different than the way Mike receives it due to past experiences, current life circumstances, etc.
  • A good leader finds a way to communicate loudly so she can be heard over all of the other “noise” that so easily drowns out what is being said.

What other communication tips do good leaders need to master to be successful?

October 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day | 10.24.11

Real change happens when someone who cares steps up and takes what feels like a risk.

– Seth Godin

October 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day | 10.21.11

Successful people are able to see the threads of the past and the threads of the future and untangle them into something manageable.

– Seth Godin

October 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day | 10.19.11

You have to know where you are and know where you’re going before you can figure out how to go about getting there.

– Seth Godin

October 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Thots | The Five Huge Little Things Good Leaders Do

The Five Huge Little Things Good Leaders Do

We all read a lot about the “big” stuff that makes a good leader.  We need to cast vision.  We need to be people of integrity.  We need to build productive teams.  And all good leaders do these things.  But there are at least five things good leaders do that others don’t always see.  Things that are “little” things in comparison to casting vision for the organization.

Good leaders learn to master communication. 
I’m not talking about making good presentations, as important as that is.  Communication is a process involving two or more people where is information is exchanged, processed and understood properly.  Good leaders get this.  They don’t have the “hard” conversations via email.  They have them face-to-face.  They listen more than they speak.  They repeat what they believe they hear so as to make sure that they and everyone else has processed everything correctly.  They’ve learned how to use email, texting, phone calls, Twitter, etc. all well.  They make sure that people who need information have it and aren’t left in the dark.  They solicit information and opinions so as to make informed decisions that affect everyone.  They have learned that their ability to master the art of communication and all of its facets reflects heavily the on success of the organization and the overall morale of the people.

Good leaders learn to walk slowly through the crowd.
Leaders lead people, not organizations.  All leaders are in the people business.  I remember John Maxwell telling a story about when he first hired a new Executive Pastor at his church.  On the first day the new guy walked right past John and all the people John was talking with and headed straight to his office.  When John finished the conversation, he walked to the new guy’s office and asked him what he was doing.  The response was, “I’m getting to work.”  John responded with, “You just passed your work!”  Good leaders learnt he art of emotional labor.  Seth Godin does an outstanding job speaking to this issue in his book, Linchpin.  The leader walks slowly through the crowd, knows his people, builds into their lives with words of encouragement, time invested, appropriate touches of affirmation (nothing like a good pat on the back), and big smiles.

Good leaders are learners and readers.
The moment you stop learning, you stop leading.  Good leaders know that and are constantly reading, allowing themselves to be stretched with new and fresh ideas, and allow other voices into their lives to challenge them and their thoughts so that they night learn.  It really is a simply formula.  The world is changing around us very rapidly.  To not be learning quickly finds us left behind.  And one can’t lead from the behind. The good leader, although there’s really never enough time, finds the time to be reading and learning so they can continue leading.

Good leaders are on-time and prepared.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but it drives me insane when someone can’t wait in line with everyone else.  We have one stretch of road near where I live that backs up every day (OK, technically, most of the roads around here back up every day).  People wait in the line as two lanes merge into one and ultimately open up onto another road.  But for some people, its OK to bypass everyone else just sitting their in line waiting by driving up the shoulder or whatever to the front.  Somehow their time is more valuable than everyone else’s who is sitting their  in the traffic and moving slowly.  I think leaders some times fall into this trap, too.  We want people to be at our meetings on time.  But its okay if we’re running a little late because, after all, we’re the leader and we have important stuff going on.  Every time the leader is late, she says to her people, “My time is more valuable than yours.”  The good leader shows up to meetings early and well prepared.  Agendas go out ahead of time so those attending can come prepared, knowing what to expect and ready to enter the discussions intelligently.  John Maxwell once said that for the leader to be on time, he must be there fifteen minutes early. Any later than that is late.  What do you do with that fifteen minutes? Make sure you’re prepared and invest it in “walking slowly through the crowd” as everyone comes in.  You can’t do that when you’re rushing in late.

Good leaders master their schedules.
Good leaders have learned discipline and have learned how to gain control over their schedules instead of allowing their schedules to control them.  They learn to say “no.”  They learn to prioritize. They learn to stay organized, to plan out their days, to plan time into their schedules for the unexpected.  Good leaders don’t miss appointments and meetings. They don’t miss assignments and tasks.  And they don’t forfeit their families on the alter of work. They do figure out how to master all of it.

Those are five “little” things that are huge for the leader to master.  I’m still working on some of them.  How are you doing with these five things?  What are some other “little” things the leader needs to master that I missed?

October 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day | 10.17.11

Unchecked, anxiety is the single biggest barrier between you and your goals.

– Seth Godin

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment