Articles tagged "Leadership Power"
- Are you taking over for a leader who has left the organization?
- Are you inheriting someone else’s team?
- Or, are you stepping into a newly created leadership role?
How well do you know your team members? Besides knowing their names and generally what their jobs are, do you have a realistic understanding of their workplace challenges, the projects they’re involved with, their professional goals, and their unique skills weaknesses or areas of expertise? No? I understand. It’s tough enough having time to get your own work done much less worry about your team members’ challenges. However, the sooner you understand your team members better, the sooner you’ll relieve some of your workplace stress, you’ll strengthen your workplace relationships, and you’ll see your performance – and your entire team’s performance – improve.
My mom shared an impactful saying with me when I was in my teens. She said,
“You are the average of the five people with whom you most often associate.”
I don’t remember the specifics of the conversation, but I do know she was subtly telling me to continue to be smart in whom I chose to befriend. I’ve heeded her advice and it’s never let me down. This advice applies to us in the workplace and as leaders too. In the workplace and as leaders, you are the average of the five people with whom you most often spend time, listen to, give your time and energy to, and become associated with. Who are you allowing to influence you, access your time, tap into your energy and wisdom, and impact your reputation and brand?
As we draw close to Christmas, I thought I’d share this article from my archives as it reminds me of a special person. It also causes me to focus on how important each person we come in contact with is…
I received an email from Jackie, a former client, the day after Christmas. Her e-mail informed me a gentleman, who had attended one of the training programs I presented to her organization, over two years ago, had died of lung cancer. She wanted to tell me about Al’s passing, because my program had made an impact on him. Jackie also knew my memories of him would make me smile; they did.
I only worked with Al and about 40 of his co-workers for two days, but I remember him clearly. He was a portly man, with a great smile, and a wonderful attitude about life. When he participated in my training program, he was one year away from retirement. However, unlike many other employees at that stage of employment, he still participated willingly in the training program. He wanted to learn whatever he could to become a better person, a better employee, and a better support to his customers. Al was THE person in this particular training group who was the target of many jokes – and he loved every moment of it. Of course, because he was kind and supportive of what I was sharing with his group, there were good-natured cat-calls thrown his way including “Teacher’s Pet”. With each one, he’d just smile and laugh along. Whenever he could make someone else smile or laugh – a colleague or customer – to Al, that was an opportunity not to be missed.
I thought I’d share Al’s story with you in the hopes that you take a moment to ask yourself, “How will my colleagues, employees, customers, vendors, and others remember me when I no longer work here? Will they remember me and smile? Will they consider the time they knew me to be of value to them? Will they remember something I taught them? Will they be inspired to do something I used to do? Will they help someone else because they remember how I helped them? OR, will they remember me, shake their heads, and forget me?”
As leaders, if we run through these self-reflection questions, we may be become even better leaders. If my employees remember me and smile, they must have liked me as a person because they could tell I liked THEM as people too. If they consider the time they worked with me as VALUABLE, I must have helped them to achieve something good or to improve in some way. If they remember something I TAUGHT them, I must have helped them grow as professionals and people. If they aspire to emulate me, I must have been a solid ROLE MODEL for them. If they help someone else because I HELPED them, I must have ‘been there for them’ when they needed me. However, if they simply shake their heads and easily forget me, I didn’t fulfill the true responsibilities of my job: I failed to lead people, I only managed resources.
Thanks Al. You can still make me smile.
What’s your legacy?
Copyright MMIII – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Find out more from Liz on LinkedIn!
It’s a really neat experience to watch management and team-building theories prove themselves true. It’s incredible to see the power a leader has just in his or her subtle behaviors to either develop a team or to crush one. It’s amazing the power a leader’s respect has on team performance.
Recently, I had the chance to guide one of my client’s through their Strategic Plan update. Now the cool thing isn’t that they even cared enough to update the plan; the cool thing is what the leader did and didn’t do during this process. Two years ago, when I worked with this client to initially develop their plan, they had a different “leader”. That leader had been in power for over 20 years. He’d run an organization that fulfilled its mission, yet its management team always seemed a bit on-edge. When I worked with them on their original plan, I found out why.
During those early work sessions, I saw the former leader demean select senior staff members in front of their peers. I saw him allow some to come to the sessions unprepared – or not at all, yet he’d chastise others if they weren’t prepared ahead of time for the next several sessions. I also saw him agree with the group while we worked as a team, but then unilaterally change the plan after the sessions. The team’s input meant nothing in the long run. The leader didn’t respect their input enough to agree to it for the long-term or to implement many of their ideas. He didn’t respect their ideas. He didn’t respect them as team members. He didn’t respect them as individuals. Needless to say, the planning process soon became an unwelcomed exercise for the team. The plan was never completed correctly and most of the senior team never saw the end product. The final plan wasn’t the plan the team had developed in the work sessions. It wasn’t a plan that anyone used or cared about. It wasn’t a plan. It was just a document.
Two years after that experience, the new leader asked me to help update the plan. The new leader had been a former senior staff member. However, this time around, he mandated full participation by senior staff. During our initial work session, he challenged his senior staff to be honest, share their ideas, and help him develop their plan. He told them, “This is your plan. I’m just responsible for ensuring it gets completed. But you have to believe in what we develop here.” Subsequent sessions included input and challenges by all team members – including the leader. Senior staff members were comfortable challenging his ideas and he challenged theirs. There was a lot of joking, idea generation, planning, energy, and – respect.
The true extent of his respect for the team came to light when the leader had to miss one of the work sessions due to a family emergency. He didn’t cancel the session or reschedule it. He told the team to handle it. Upon his return and review of that session’s accomplishments, he approved everything the team had done. He liked what had been produced and he told the team why.
In just four solid work sessions, the shambles of the prior plan were re-evaluated, brought up-to-date where necessary, and trashed where needed. New ideas flew around the room and became a solid, clear, focused plan.
Their plan is terribly aggressive. Their plan is going to challenge the team and the leader to make some incredible initiatives into functioning realities. Their plan is going to propel that organization forward and position it to deal effectively with an aging workforce and an ever-changing future. However, their plan is their plan.
The leader showed the team respect before, during, and after the process – and the team produced. The power of this leader’s respect built a team and changed an organization.
Do you respect your team enough to change your organization too?
Copyright MMIV – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!