Lots is on my mind about leaders and leadership. I love the work I’m doing. Most of it focuses on building leadership skills and attitudes. Here’s the guts of an email I recently sent out:
“We get better fastest when we fail forward. I learned how to ski by skiing with the best skiers I could find. I grew up in Kamloops after a few years in Edmonton and was years behind my peers when it came to skiing well. I have bumps and bruises and injuries and broken glasses and scrapes to prove it… but, let’s go skiing now… you know what I mean. There’s better skiers out there… my buddy Dennis OB as an example – the dude is a Ninja on the mountain. And I ski with him when I can – always learning.
Leadership is a discipline and requires active participation. It’s not a destination that you get to with old habits of mind or past practices and suddenly you’re a master. This team – the one I’m addressing in this email – must be the most forgiving of each others’ mistakes while ensuring accountability regarding high performance. If you fail in the same spot over and over again, even after someone else has provided input on how to improve, that’s laziness. Don’t be lazy. It’s important to act like a leader.
- Leaders listen more than they speak
- Leaders take their struggles up the hierarchy – they don’t cross talk or take it into parking lot conversations
- Leaders have strong, structured, redundant processes – like purpose driven, agenda moderated meetings that have SHARED action items… EVERY TIME. Get to boring with your process and the work is fun.
- Leaders model preferred behaviour
- Leaders dress professionally
- Leaders embrace challenges
- Meetings have a chair and a recorder (see how that’s a weird one in this list?? It’s that important. Meetings without action items are a birthday party.)
- Leaders are dramatic in the positive and anticlimactic under stress. Live in the now.
I know plates are full. I will still be bold and ask you what you are doing to improve as a leader. Lift your head from the work and remember that your teams need your leadership first and your sweat equity second. Be a master of leadership”
I wonder what you’re doing as a leader to improve your leadership?
Here’s my current reading list:
- You are a bad ass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life. (Jen Sincero)
- The Confidence Code: The science and art of Self Assurance: What Women Should Know ( and men too in my opinion – Katty Kay & Claire Shipman)
- 48 Laws of Power (Robert Green) – I’m not that kind of a leader, but, oh the lessons learned!
Dig in people – this crazy world needs powerful leaders. Kids out there, look past the millennial funk you’ve been placed in, because we’re going to need you.