Leaders Build Loyalty

What is often obvious to the leader may not be quite so obvious to others.  Ever find yourself wondering why your colleagues or team can’t grasp the simple task required of them even though you’ve explained what they need to do?  Were you tempted to find a way to motivate, manipulate or, for a fleeting moment, malign them into the producing the results you wanted?  These tactics may get reaction, but they are shortsighted and can be costly.

Patiently building loyalty may be a more effective strategy.  Consider this…

Paul David Walker, in an interview with CIO.com , observed that one characteristic of Steve Jobs success was his ability “to gain the loyalty of brilliant engineers.”  According to Walker, Jobs primarily did that by turning the engineers ideas into a product that would sell and, therefore, becoming the engineers best ally.

Leadership engenders loyalty when the leader is selfless enough to help others benefit from their knowledge, talent, ideas and effort.

Next time you need an individual or a group to perform or produce a specific task, ask how you might become their ally and cooperate in a manner that helps them succeed.

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08-19-11

Diligence

Diligence is important in unfavorable times.

Diligent leaders have the ability to bring consistent energy and effort to their work.  They bridle the urgent demands with a single-mindedness on strategic movement while carefully and persistently increasing their work.

A leader recently learned through 360˚ feedback that his peers perceived him as having slacked off in his commitment.  They noted that he wasn’t demonstrating hard work or putting himself out to address the economic challenges of his office.  He explained his behavior as a result of the economic downturn saying, business just wasn’t there.

During unfavorable conditions diligent leaders show up with greater persistence and determination.  In the words of Jim Collins, they “display a workmanlike diligence – more plow horse than show horse.” They refuse to use these harsh economic realities as reason to coast.

The characteristics of diligence are:

1. Demonstration of energy and physical stamina required to get things done in the midst of long and extreme conditions.

2. Insistence on making every hour of every day productive.  It’s more than good time management, it’s expanding capacity for leveraging resources and activity.

3. Follow-through on commitments made.  Leaders who fail to deliver on commitments forfeit the right to be followed.

Research indicates that 95% of leaders and managers are not living up to their potential. Extreme times call for extreme leadership.  How will you show up?

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07-09-11

Realistic or just stuck?

Pragmatism is basically considered a virtue in the world of accounting, finance and consulting. But there is a risk of being too realistic and over-relying on how you’ve always done things.

My son, who works for a financial firm, shared his recent experience.  A group of mid-level managers in that firm, leading a new initiative to expand the client-base, is displaying close-mindedness to new ideas from the staff.  He mused, “I think you can become so realistic that you can’t see new possibilities.”

When staff observe managers and leaders squelching creative solutions they shut down.  They  think, “If the manager doesn’t want to hear my ideas, I won’t share them.” That manager just unknowingly cost the firm possibilities that can only be realized from having all brains in the game.

Are you a realist?  Don’t get stuck in the predictable behaviors and solutions of the past. Listen to the dreamers around you.

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07-08-11