Thursday, November 20, 2008

24 Lessons in High Performance Management

Lesson Eight
Take Steps to Grow as a Leader

You shouldn’t wait to start learning how successful leaders think and act until your boss starts looking for your replacement. If I had known then what I know now, my boss would have never come in and set my pants on fire. I would have paid $10,000 for a single copy of this book back then.

The way others successfully handle pressure can educate you so that you’ll never have to experience similar situations. Do you know someone who never seems to be on the hot seat? It might well be that while you had your nose to the grindstone that person had his or her head up and looking and learning from other people’s experiences.

That means:

• Attending seminars, live or online.
• Reading books, magazines, and newspapers.
• Taking to lunch people from whom you can learn.
• Monitoring your own people for things you can learn.
• Gobbling up audio/video multimedia training programs.

It’s not enough to merely study. True learning is the application of knowledge. Things get exciting for everybody when successful techniques are put into practice. Keeping all of your great new knowledge in your head won’t do a thing to increase productivity.

I speak three to five times every week there’s never been an audience that didn’t have at least a few educated failures. Some of them possess enormous amounts of information about the latest leadership methods, yet they’re stagnated or failing. When I ask them how many of the new techniques and strategies they have incorporated into their organization’s daily routines, they hesitate to answer. The truth hurts. The fact is that for most of us there’s a gap between how we do our jobs and the way we know how to do our jobs.

How did you score yourself on the ten leadership characteristics outlined earlier? Now, do it again––as your people would probably rate you as a leader. If you’re gutsy, you might want one or more of your people who have read that lesson to do the rating.

The score your people give you is the real one. You're only as effective as your people’s perception of you. The rating the employees give their boss is always the most accurate measure of effectiveness.

Here are three tough points to consider. You might even want to jot down your reactions:

Imagine your improvement over the past year charted on a graph: If you asked your team members to graph out the improvement they've seen in you as a leader in the past year, what would their graph look like?
• Plan your growth: What do you need to start planning in order to grow as a leader in the next twelve months?
• Think about how you’ve improved as a leader by handling problems: Pick a problem that your leadership has solved. What did you learn from it?

"Take a mentor to lunch before somebody else eats yours."

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