My Way or the Highway!

We started down this path by looking at some Essential Qualities of Leadership, then we looked at just how critical Leadership in Management really is, and we’ve worked through several Qualities of a Bad Leader - which I believe provide us with great insight on what NOT to do! Let’s look at one final example to close the loop and tie this all together...

While each of the qualities of a bad leader that we’ve looked at to this point can certainly drive a wedge between someone with positional authority and the team they’re responsible for, there’s one thing that I’ve seen serve as that final proverbial nail in the coffin: the my way or the highway approach to basically anything and everything that needs to be done…

One of the tasks I was involved with frequently while I still worked in manufacturing was developing something called “Standardized Work Sheets” for various processes in the facility. Regardless of the name, it’s...

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How High Are You Setting the Bar?

Any time Cindy and I provide teams with tools to build more effective communication into their organizational culture, I emphasize how the most Outgoing and Task-Oriented folks often come across as being very DEMANDING but they almost always expect far more from themselves than they expect of anyone on their team. As we build on the qualities of a bad leader that we looked at in Do as I Say, Not as I Do and It’s Not My Problem, let’s up the ante a little bit…

Skirting a few of the rules is bad enough, especially when we hold the people around us accountable to comply with the letter of the law. And failing to accept responsibility for the things that absolutely depend on whether or not we perform effectively is a quick way of forfeiting any positional influence we may have based on our title. But if we demand an extreme level of performance from our team on a daily basis and we’re not delivering anything even close to that, we may soon be facing a mutiny!

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It’s Not MY Problem!

I’m probably having more fun than I should be as I pick the images I use when posting these. Still thinking of Shrek and the Lord Farquaad character, I used a donkey for the last one; partly because I liked the movie that much and partly because someone acting like that in a leadership role is typically thought of as a real, well, donkey… But enough of my nonsense, let’s move on.

That last quality of a bad leader we looked at, the idea of Do as I Say, Not as I Do, is really tough to swallow when it’s someone we report to. They may have some level of authority but they’re certainly not leading. And that ties right in with the next quality of a bad leader: not accepting responsibility…

I still do a fair amount of interviews and one of the most frequent things I hear when asking candidates why they’re considering a change is that the person they report to routinely takes credit for their successes but is quick to place all them when something...

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Do as I Say, Not as I Do...

As I uploaded the last post, I had to force myself not to use a fairly recent mugshot of one of the folks I referenced. I opted for an image that reminded me a bit of the Lord Farquaad character in Shrek… With the picture of that vertically challenged villain now in your head, let’s move on to another example of qualities of a bad leader…

I remember sitting in a business unit action planning session while I still worked in manufacturing. Most of us had been responsible enough to show up on time and get the meeting started. We had just discussed the staffing needs of that department and started on the next agenda item when the engineering manager, who was actually supposed to be running the meeting, decided to grace us with his presence. His stature resembled the little fellow from the 1980’s show Fantasy Island and his demeanor was 100% Lord Farquaad, which was actually a really interesting blend! A few minutes after he made his entrance, the topic being...

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Qualities of a Bad Leader

We started down this path by looking at some of the Essential Qualities of Leadership then we took a hard look at the importance of Leadership in Management. Since we have the foundation in mind, let’s dig into a few of the qualities of a bad leader so we have just as clear a picture of what we don’t want…

Let’s be honest, we can learn from every single person we interact with! Sometimes we’re provided with amazing lessons of how we can develop ourselves in order to make a lasting positive impact on everyone around. But we have just as many, if not more, examples we should avoid duplicating at all cost…

Just about a decade ago, a few situations were brought to my attention where someone in a role with a moderate amount of position had used their title to put a few folks in a very inappropriate spot. Because I believed it completely unacceptable, I took the details I had about these scenarios to the closest point of contact I had access to who...

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The New Sheriff in Town?

Last time we looked at some of the challenges we may face when we move into a new position of authority, and leadership responsibility, for a team of folks who had previously been our peers. But what if that’s not the situation we’re in? What if our first day with the organization is also the day we have to start managing processes and leading our new team?

If you’ve more than a few of these posts, you’ve likely seen me quote John Maxwell as saying that “Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership!” Since leadership is so critical to achieving results through a team of people, someone new to an organization really needs to be prepared to flex their leadership muscles from day one, right?

Before we jump right into showing everyone that there’s a new sheriff in town, we should probably consider what I’ve heard John share just as frequently, “Leadership is Influence. Nothing more, nothing less!” And it’s highly unlikely...

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Leadership In Management

As we looked at some of the most Essential Qualities of Leadership recently, I made a few references to things we’ve likely all seen folks with authority do that pushes a team away from them rather than earning the kind of influence necessary to truly lead. While I believe possessing leadership qualities, and being very intentional about actually using them, can help anyone in a position of authority be more effective, holding a title alone does not equate to being a leader!

I can’t count the number of times over the last twenty years where I’ve heard an organization’s senior managers referred to as the leadership team. There are certainly plenty of examples where the folks in management roles have also earned the kind of influence necessary to truly lead the people reporting to them but I’ve seen just as many scenarios where someone supervising or managing a department has struggled leading silent prayer. In many of those situations, it only takes a...

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The Buck Stops Here!

I ended the last post by emphasizing how ineffective barking orders and cracking the whip is for a leader who needs to get long term engagement (and results) from their team, and I also referenced how that can often look like an easy approach to someone who hasn’t held leadership responsibility or someone who isn’t considering the impact it will have moving forward. As leaders, we need to consider the future as much as we need to take care of what’s in front of us right now. If we choose to bark orders, crack the whip, blame our team when things go poorly, and take all the credit when things are great, leader isn’t likely a word that will be used to describe us and we probably won’t have any of those strong alliances I’ve referenced previously.

One of my good friends owns a growing company locally and has a sign on his desk that reads “The Buck Stops Here!” In many cases, that could be interpreted as him saying he’s in charge and...

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Effective Communication Won’t Happen Without This

In order to become really effective with that idea of Alliance Feedback that I referenced as I closed the last post, and form authentic alliances (relationships) with the team members we’re responsible for leading, we need to develop another essential quality of leadership; we need to become intentional about how we listen.

As he describes more around the idea of Alliance Feedback, Jeff Henderson suggests that “we take the time to get to know the person and their aspirations, hopes, and personal standards.” If someone in a leadership role isn’t willing to invest time and energy into doing this, which can often only be done by really listening to what their team members have to say in various situations, it’s unlikely that the relationship will ever be strong enough to form alliances.

Additionally, leaders are nearly always responsible for moving the organization forward. If we’re leading but not willing to listen enough to develop alliances, not...

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The Single Most Important Ingredient

I truly believe that one of the most essential qualities of leadership is serving the team we’re leading. Unfortunately, the idea of serving those team members is often mistaken for catering to those team members, which doesn’t serve anyone!

As we worked through that quality of service in the last post, I closed by sharing that some of the most effective servant leaders I’ve ever known weren’t willing to accept mediocre performance; they certainly certainly weren’t ones who catered to each passing whim any of the team members came up with. In fact, the leaders I’m picturing as I share this had some of the highest expectations for their team of anyone I’ve ever been around. And because they led by providing a consistent example, their teams delivered on those expectations!

Here’s where I need to stress a critical point… Those expectations weren’t met simply because the leader demanded that level of performance. Those...

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