A series on leadership — insight one
Recently I thought I had reached a level of wisdom that I could offer thoughts on a number of things in a blog; one of which was Leadership. In my brief overview on the topic I said this:
Leadership is defined when times are difficult: with vision, decision making, and ownership. This applies to character for that matter.
It struck me that maybe it was impossible to define leadership in a single sentence, and even if I did accurately hit on the three key elements, it’s obviously a very deep subject which warrants more than a sentence. With this in mind, and the need to explore a very important topic further, I thought I’d share some insights from those leaders I have known over the years. I suspect most will fall into what I’ve pointed out as decision making, with vision and ownership being figurative bookends. As I make my way, hopefully I will find something I didn’t pay enough attention to — a reminder that reflection is a powerful tool.
One leader I know has a simple hiring criteria — hire smart people. The thinking is simple; if you surround yourself with smart people, you will build smart teams, and the result is smart things being done. It should be pointed out that “smart people” doesn’t necessarily mean overly educated but rather curious, critical thinkers with the desire to make things happen. He also takes on the responsibility to ensure that the development of people is either up or out of the organization — the growth of an employee is imperative and sometimes means self-selecting out of the organization.
Another leader (and he was old school), once took exception to how another leader was treating some of his people. When the opportunity to catch ride together presented itself he, in no uncertain terms, made it clear that his employees needed to be respected and any issues were to be brought to him. I was not there but I knew the leader personally and can just imagine the choice words that found their way into the conversation.
Hiring good people definitely falls under decision making and is crucial to successfully executing on any vision. Although an employee owns his or her destiny, the leader owns ensuring the employee develops up in the organization or is respectfully exited. Ownership of an employee’s success lies at the very top of the leadership structure and cascades down for continuity; it can take time to build out a team of great employees so when you have it, protect it with everything you have.
The decision to hire and retain good people may be the only real measure of good leadership.
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1 year ago #2
The scary part is that we have so few choices in standout candidates in our perceptions. That emotional evaluation is important but the ability to learn a person's why and how that compares with the team being formed is a truly positive advantage. (Look into the WHY.os assessment at the Why Institute.)
1 year ago #1
The creative person has given us more of his blood, sweat and tears here. That needs to be respected.