September 12, 2008

Lead Don't Boss

I have spent my career trying to do two things at once – perhaps you can relate. I've tried to show my competence while constantly learning and attempted to avoid giving tasks to others simply because I didn't want to bother them. I can assure you that once you fill a wall with “the longest hours worked” awards and miss a few vacations, you begin to grasp the term: delegation.

Years ago, an assistant chastised me for not utilizing him better. He lamented that there was no way he was going to steal my job, if I didn’t teach him how to do it. That was hilarious and he was right.

We often forget the mentors who let us make a million mistakes while they gave us a shot. Then we get the chance to pay it forward and muck it all up with pride.

A few simple tips, in no particular order...

1 - Unless you paint landscapes for a living, memorize the definition of the word team.

2 - If you ever have to remind your direct reports that you are their boss, you have lost the room. At that point, worrying about who is in charge is rendered irrelevant.

3 - If you want someone to do something for you, explain exactly what do to and how you want it done. Leave nothing out and ask with respect.

4 - Rule by fear while you bark orders is a tack that only works never.

5 - If they do a task unsupervised to your complete satisfaction five times, they have grasped the concept and you can move to the next challenge.

6 - Yes, they do want to learn from you so allow them that opportunity.

7 - Lower the bar to reach down to the poor performers and everyone will become poor performers.

8 - Do not be afraid to point out better ways to do things. If you fail to do so, you will be doing someone's career a disservice.

9 - Laugh at work often.

10 - Raise the bar, expect excellence, understand human mistakes, coach well, keep an honest real perspective on your abilities, and celebrate victories.

Not mine, but I love this phrase: Bosses say “Go!” while Leaders say “Let’s Go!”


© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
leadership development business culture talent development human capital