There are plenty of similes out there that talk about characteristics of good leadership, or the unique aspects, which are conducive to being a good leader. I, on the other hand, have often wondered about characteristics, which describe the opposite kind. There is a certain type of dialogue that is a give away. And I like to hone in on it. Assessing leadership this way, I think is a more results oriented approach, because 1) in truth, there is certainly a shortage of influential leaders vs. non-influential ones in comparison and 2) often times, what we don’t do is just as important as what we do, do and 3) only a few people are invested in our development enough to tell us the truth. When it comes to training, our thoughts and perceptions guide our actions and in order to achieve a goal, the start point should be a clean slate, not a muddled one. To this end, here are a few caveats, from communication I have picked up from leaders, which have served as great clues for development:
“That’s just the way it is”.
Many times leaders become stagnant at what they do. They loose that Je ne Se Qua factor, because they simply forget to challenge themselves. This creates a tunnel vision and it’s the enemy of innovation and growth. It’s the single most detrimental factor, which robs one of having a competitive advantage. The only thing constant is change itself.
“That’s the way its always been done”.
In any and all businesses whether Technology, sports, or any other, what lies below is more destructive than what is on top.
The greatest dangers lie unseen below the surface. Often times, those who know what’s wrong or what’s coming, are those working below. If a leaders in not able to get excited about analysis anymore and engage everyone, and I mean everyone to invite ideas and suggestions, catastrophe is definitely on the horizon. Apple saw the need for the iPod while others were still happy with CD players.
“I have been doing this for … years”.
Feedback by nature is hard to take. After all, one of the major principle’s of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends is to not criticize. However what is the cost for a leader who functions in an environment void of feedback? Many leaders simply don’t want to hear it. However if provided by the right dealer, the feedback one doesn’t want to hear, could lead to accountability and shift the issue over to the right side of the table. Hear it, even if you don’t want to hear it.
“The Way I see it…”
Perception is reality. How I perceive something is my version of reality, no matter how wrong my perception may be. But by learning a trusted perception beyond one’s own, one has the opportunity to work to change the wrong perception and make reality the reality. Things are not always as they seem.
We all have an “ugly” side to us. The side that guides what we say that could wrongly guide our behavior.
What else have you heard or said?