Leadership Confusion

DSC07412Leadership… no one seems to be able to agree on a common definition.

A great example of this is in recent posting by Brittney Helmrich from the Business News Daily.  In the article, “30 Ways to Define Leadership”, Helmrich quotes the definitions of leadership by 30 business executives.  Each definition is sensible and stands well on its own.  The comments are intelligent and well informed.  In a professional or classroom situation everyone would agree all of the quotes are good, if not enlightened.

But in the context of all the quotes, each definition is different.  In some cases, the difference is subtle… a simple difference in word selection.  In other cases, the quotes address completely different aspects of leadership: vision, empowerment, motivation, emotional intelligence, taking responsibility, empathy, influence, inspiration, to name a few.  All are great concepts.

Who really knows?

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Reading Recommendation “The One Minute Manager”

If you are just on the path to leadership and you have no idea what you should do, “The One Minute Manager” is a great start to untangle the big string ball that is leading people.

I have probably bought close to 100 copies over the years since I first read the book (you’re welcome Messrs. Blanchard and Johnson).  They have been gifts to friends, students, and mentees with whom I have shared any meaningful conversation on leadership.

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The Absence of Leadership

Absent leader (1)There is no guarantee that leadership will make a company successful,  but I can almost guarantee a company will fail without it.

I had a surprising conversation with an HR director in a European branch office of a US company about leadership and its role in the company.

This person was a very experience executive, I’d estimate 10-15 years of work experience and responsible for HR policy and recruiting.  After the usual background exchange I asked about the biggest leadership challenges the company faced.  Were there issues of recruitment or development or mentoring?

The HR director looked at me and said that there were no problems, we don’t use leadership in this company.

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On Being a Good Leader (Recognize Performance, additional thoughts)

I discussed performance recognition in earlier posts and have a few additional comments.

Genuine, honest praise pays dividends in morale, performance, and retention.

Reinforce the recognition.

Take the opportunity to recognize achievement at each lower level.

I mentioned several ways of recognizing performance: individual recognition, peer recognition, formal group recognition, industry awards, industry travel and conferences. Continue reading

On Being a Good Leader (Recogize Performance) Part 2 of 2

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(Continued from “Recognize Performance, Part 1 of 2“.)

It is a real challenge to be a good boss.

There are a number of actions you can take that can make you the “best boss” someone ever had.

One of the most important, and perhaps one of the simplest, means of connecting with subordinates is the simple process of performance recognition.  In a previous post, I outlined reasons why a recognition program is important.

So the question now is: how do you set up recognition program and what are the mechanisms? Continue reading

On Being a Good Leader (Recognize Performance) Part 1 of 2

DSC07285bIt is a real challenge to be a good boss.

There are a number of actions you can take that can make you the “best boss” someone ever had.

I believe one of the most important aspects of leadership is expressing emotion to subordinates.  It is through emotion that meaningful reinforcement (both positive and negative) is conveyed.

The key emotion is trust.

One of the most important, and perhaps one of the simplest, means of connecting with subordinates is the simple process of performance recognition.  The foundation of recognition is that underlying authenticity of the recognition.  Continue reading