Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Take Steps to Grow as a Leader

Lesson 8

You shouldn’t wait to start learning how successful leaders think and act until your boss tells you he or she is 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.  Maybe even twice that.

The way others successfully handle pressure can be an education and ensure that you’ll never have to experience similar situations.  When we observe someone who never seems to be on the hot seat, it might well be that, while we were scrambling around with our nose to the grindstone, that person’s head was up where he or she could look around and learn a thing or two from other people’s experiences.  A head that’s up and looking around means:

  • Attending seminars, live or on-line
  • 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
  • Regularly analyze what’s working and what isn’t
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, all over North America plus a few other countries, and I've never been in front of 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 most of us leave 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 earlier leadership characteristics?  Using a scale 1-10 with 10 being highest, go back and score yourself again the way your people would probably rate you as a leader.  See yourself through their eyes.  If you’re gutsy, you might want one or more of your people who have read that chapter 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 staff gives their leader is always the most accurate measure of effectiveness. 

Here are three tough questions to ask yourself.  Journal your answers:

  • If I were to ask my team members to graph out the improvement they've seen from me as a leader of people in the past year, what would the graph look like?
  • What do I need to start planning in order to grow as a leader in the next twelve months?
  • Where has my leadership solved a problem and what did I learn from it?

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