Yesterday started out like any other day. Alarm clock lets you know to get up. Prepping and going to work. Reflecting on yesterday offered for me, an opportunity to really witness others demonstrating or attempting to demonstrate leadership. The day was a mix of awesome and then the not so awesome. Basically centered on an old quote, “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions” by Harold S. Geneen.
During one of my many meetings, I was an active listener on a call that pretty much was made up of the larger departments leadership team. Being that I was only there representing my manager – I was looking forward to listening and learning. The very first item was really around leadership and an upcoming activity that will have the middle level of the larger department in attendance face to face in about a month. Staff was going over – assignments, expectations and what to look for while the activity is happening. Stage is now set, he comes my observation. Awesome stuff – reminding the leadership team on leading, facilitation and observing the mid level folks (looking for those that standout!). What happened next really peaked my interest. There was one person (at first I was going to use leader but decided not to) that really was looking for prescriptive and expected outcome from the activity (table discussion on a topic that is important to the organization). Discussions that are prescript and already have expected outcomes – for me as a participant – I would rather just skip it. If you already know what you want and have it already planned, great – don’t waste my time. If you having the discussion anyways – to look for by in – well, I can read through that (and so can just about everyone). Quickly some of the leaders step in and course corrected the discussion. Leaders are always learners and teachers – I think if everyone was paying attention, they got to see both in action today.
Next up, as I said it was an awesome day. I have volunteered to rotate into a different position filling in for our internal Social Computing program manager – while she is out enjoying her sabbatical. I have very mixed feelings about doing this. First, I am looking forward to the opportunity – I really want to do it. I am apprehensive about it – as it is internal social computing and right now our company is talking the talk but walking it is not quite there (reread this post). The other reason is, what happens to my role. A person on my staff, stepped up and discussed the opportunity with me and my boss. After those discussions, he decided that this was an opportunity that could help him grow. He has been looked as an informal leader on the team anyways – so, this will help him with developing some skills with leading a very diverse and strong team. He will have to step out of his comfort zone and push himself to the uncomfortable. I am going to enjoy his journey – as I will still be very close by (same organization). The attitude is there – I will be watching the actions.
Lastly, this next example is the classic what not to do. Leadership turned to management or bossism. Drive, micro-manage, talk down to the team, everything is about me or I and lack of listening to the words and feelings. I know I have pretty much posted on the right way to do it! Not good. I know in my heart that I have to do something. So, I am going to use my own advice and share my observations with this person. I am going to reach out and offer some coaching. Of course, the tactics to do this – are not quite formed in my head yet…
I have to do something. Any thoughts on how to approach – please share.
Leadership is not so much the words – but the actions. I am surrounded by many good and some great examples. The converse is true as well. I just want to make the converse a smaller number.