Over the years, I have tried to live up to my end of the bargain when it comes to leadership! For the most part, the folks that I have had the pleasure of leading, have commented that they enjoyed my style, my approach and my cander. Since I have been leading teams for quite a few years, you grow accustom to how you operate and for the most part, don’t even think about what you are doing. I just do it (not trying to take a page from Nike). For years, I have argued with folks, that a leader is very transparent. What you see and hear is what you get! The good and bad is out there to for continuous observation.
As a person that loves to people watch, observe situations and just plain listen to their surroundings. I feel confident that I can nail down the strengths and weaknesses of every leader that I have worked with over the years. Why you may ask? Simple, their words and actions are the window to the good, bad and the ugly. There is no hiding stuff. We all work with people, some of them are leaders (others are aspiring to become leaders). A control freak is pretty easy to spot… Spend a small amount of time with people and you can spot someone that is very controlling. Hey, that one is easy. How about when new ideas or alternative solutions are offered – ever just watch and listen? Come across a leader that becomes defensive to any of those ideas? This one takes some time and effort to really spot. Words and actions are everywhere.
No one is perfect. We each have the items that we excel at and of course the opposite end. Going back to myself and my teams and their observations. The strengths that I was told that I exhibit well are:
- Being real – We know exactly what you are thinking and doing – there is never any guess work involved.
- Stand up for your folks – No matter what the situation, no matter who is upset – we know you have our backs. Of course, if we “all” are wrong – we will deal with it together. Never has anyone ever been thrown under the bus.
- Fair – you treat each as they need to be treated. Give each of us the ability to do our work with only coaching and mentoring – when needed. One person, came out and said – why do you never disagree with my recommendations? I had spent years, trying to tell this person – you do not need to bounce everything off of me. Trust yourself. So, I would just agree with whatever they recommended. Finally they saw the light!
- Set Expectations and Follow-up – Getting to the promise land of success – takes time in the planning and plotting the course. You do that well – and with our help. Then you step out of the way and let us get it done.
For me, that was good to hear! Since I am not perfect, I wanted to get the feedback on those items that are weak. Here is some of that feedback:
- Openly praise – I have struggled with this one for quite awhile. Which is no excuse. Giving praise for a job well done is a simple and effective necessity. I have gotten better! I used to say, we get a great paycheck at the end of the pay period. When we go above and beyond that – then you will get your praise. No more! I have made time to make sure that we discuss jobs well done – in public and private sessions.
- Career guidance – During my early days as a manager I used to spend plenty of time working with my team to insure that they are fulfilling their dreams toward their goals. We used to plot a path that worked with the employee and the company. Over time, our company moved to the employee owned their own employ-ability. Lost sight with keeping career guidance as a priority.
If any leader thinks that their strengths and weaknesses are NOT known – think again. Each and every person that you come in contact with – gets a dose of your strengths (and weaknesses). Better make sure that you know what they are.