Now that you’ve absorbed the 8 basic principles of More Human Leadership, learned the 10 immutable laws that go with them, and truly know the difference between a boss and a leader, it’s now time to dig a little deeper.
Let’s get beyond those basics and into a little leadership fine-tuning – those refinements and adjustments that keep that wheel of success turning without too much friction. I’ve summarized 10 of my favorite “fine-tuners” here – dig in deeper via the links to get the full lesson.
Keep away from the Accountability Trap – Where teammates are so focused on what happens if they run afoul of their responsibilities that they go into a kind of paralysis, unwilling to take any risks to drive the company forward. It’s process ahead of progress.
Use The Process of Elimination in Decision-Making -Effective business decision-making ideally should follow the same process that an interior designer uses to pick paint colors– laying out all the alternatives, and systematically eliminating the unacceptable ones.
Avoid the “Tarmac Syndrome” – Just like when you’re on a commercial airplane stuck on the tarmac, when the information flow stops, people get edgy, anxious and unsure. Fortunately, there’s an antidote. It’s called “telling them what you know as often as possible, even if you do not know anything new”.
Use your Professional Skepticism – Despite our desire to trust, sometimes there are situations where there is too much at stake – where money, livelihoods, and reputations are involved. So you just have to be skeptical, and ask those questions, and dig a little deeper. Even with people you’ve known professionally for many years. Even with friends.
Hire on personality, not core competencies -Leaders are not genetic engineers, nor should they be. We can’t change personalities that were locked in long before they arrived at the interview. Spend a lot more time on those “intangible” aspects of leadership – the soft skills that are not apparent by simply reading a resume.
Hone your diplomacy for better peer-to-peer communication – Since leaders are used to being in positions of authority, it’s a bit unnatural and uncomfortable to affect progress and change with peers without that authority, with only your own guile and power of persuasion to see you through. But it’s essential for long-term success to develop those skills, and quickly.
Train, train & train your front line supervisors -Yes, it costs money. And yes, it takes time away from the regular course of business. But it must be done. We must devote more time to our front-line supervisors. It is the missing link to building the perfect team, and thus, a great company.
It’s OK to yell occasionally, but use it wisely – Like any other messaging delivery system, what we really need to look at is the content of the message you are trying to deliver. A rule of thumb here: if the message is inappropriate, belittling, confusing, or outright silly at a whisper, increasing the volume doesn’t make it any less so.
Control your opportunity cost by putting on 3-D Glasses – Leaders who fully understand opportunity cost can see, in their mind’s eye, the “layers” of revenues and costs that exist on their to-do lists, project status reports, and business plans. It’s like putting on a pair of 3-D glasses, and they encourage a constant state of urgency that serves as a wonderful inducement to what I call “deliberate speed”.
Work with, not against, the 2 contradictions of leadership – It’s a big balancing act that pays big dividends; there must be clarity in roles and responsibilities to allow for the right kind of productive dissent, and a team needs to be centralized with respect to direction, but decentralized with respect to execution.
Study up, and lead well!