Thursday, February 25, 2016
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Thursday, February 11, 2016
There are a lot of great leadership lessons to be drawn from the military, and from athletics. Here’s one that’s true in both of those arenas that I have to remind myself of daily: I become a leader when nothing’s going on; I prove I’m a leader when the crisis hits.
The ordinary days are when we develop our habits and train our skills. In his seminars and books John Maxwell often says, “The secret of success is in your daily schedule.” By that he means that what you habitually do, every day, determines what you become as a leader.
Here’s how your calendar can help you: it can reinforce daily habits. It can provide the framework to develop discipline. It can ensure you don’t forget things. And it can prompt you to take time for your own development. So if you don’t already use one, you should start. I’ll write later about how I use mine.
Here’s the bottom line: train as you’ll fight; train the way you’ll actually play the game. Use those ordinary days to develop and reinforce the habits of coaching, communication, planning and vision-setting that you’ll need on the bad days.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
You can’t be something different than what you do. You can say you love the environment but if you don’t recycle and monitor your carbon footprint you’re still an exploiter. You can say you’re healthy but if you smoke and eat too much, you’re not.
And you can say you’re a leader, you can want to be a leader, but what are you really doing? How do you choose to spend your day?
If you don’t spend time with your team, you’re not leading. If you don’t show them a vision of a better way, you’re not leading. If you don’t coach and model, you’re not leading. Bottom line, if they aren’t becoming something different and better because you’re there, you probably just supervising or administrating.
John Maxwell says, “The choice you make, makes you.” If you want to be a leader, or you have that responsibility, then choose leadership actions. Choose people over paper. View people as the priority, not the interruption. Be out among your team, not in your office.
A lot of people who claim to be leaders aren’t, because they don’t. The only way to be one is to get out there and lead.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Our Safety Administrator at the plant just reminded me of a critical leadership truth. In challenging me on our safety record, he said, “You can’t say you have a safety culture if you’re not doing things safely.”
There’s a lot of chatter about culture, but what it comes down to is what are people doing? You can say you have a customer-first culture, or a family-oriented culture, but if people ignore a phone call because it’s break time or are afraid to ask for time off for Grandparents Day at school, you don’t.
Culture is defined by both saying and doing. It’s important as a leader to clearly state what the desired culture is. But then you have to coach it, you have to model it, you have to hold people accountable for it. You can’t ever allow a breach of culture to go unchallenged.
That’s the hard thing about culture: molding culture requires you to spend a lot of time with your people. But that’s what you should be doing anyway, if you’re really leading them.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Young leaders have an advantage over me. They are fluent in social.
What I mean by that is they can communicate as easily on Twitter, Snapchat, or whatever the new thing is that I haven’t even heard of yet. That’s an advantage, because every year a larger slice of the workforce communicates that way. Already nearly a third of our team members are Millenials or Gen Z. They may not use social media for everything, but they use it for enough things that you’re going to miss something if you don’t.
More critical, though, is the mindset behind it. They use social media because they want to always stay in touch. They fear missing something, and four hours is too long to go without an update.
Being fluent in social doesn’t just mean understanding social media. It means feeding that desire to always be connected. You have to start being just as chatty about your expectations and their workload as they are on Hangouts.
You can choose not to, but you’re going to lose the people who are your future.