A Week to REELAX – Part III

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“We must not only give what we have; we must also give who we are.”

–     Desire-Joseph Mercier (1851 – 1926),  Belgian Cardinal and noted Thomist scholar

The “L” is for lead.

Recruit / Retain the best talent you can possibly afford, create an Environment where success is the most likely outcome and set Expectations that are so clear they can not be misunderstood.  Then, lead.  Don’t manage.  Great people don’t want or need to be managed.  Great people expect to be led.

In fact, management is a greatly over-rated skill set in the modern, knowledge-based economy.

Leadership is not only under-rated, it’s too often AWOL.

If we’re spending time reviewing every receipt on the expense report, second-guessing our teams or weighing in on every decision — we’re not leaders.  We’re the problem.  Leaders hire people they can trust and they trust the people they hire.  Leaders know that it’s ok to measure yourself on how often you decide, and they also know they should take the “under” on that bet.  In other words, the higher up the ladder we get in our careers, the less frequently we should be deciding.  Leaders recruit, develop and retain talented teams and then they pay them to decide.

“But, Steve!” you might be asking, “what if they screw up?”

They will.    Part of it is environment and expectations.  Even strong talent needs to know the ground rules, or at least the landscape that determines when they can and should decide, and they have to be able to function in the gray space around the edges of those limits.  And make no mistake, they will, from time-to-time, screw up.  Just as we do.  And when they do, leaders use mistakes as teachable moments.  In fact, great leaders celebrate mistakes and use them as fertile grounds for learning.

Leaders function in this realm:   “That was an awesome decision, great job, Pat!  Tell us how you made it, please!”  Or, “Wow, Greg, that sure didn’t turn out like we expected, did it?  Let’s look at where the train jumped the tracks so that we don’t find ourselves in this position again, ok?  Let’s walk through it together…”  Leaders ask, “What would we do differently if we could, and what would we never do differently, even if we could.”  In asking and leading with questions like these, leaders set context, contributing to the “E’s” in the formula and leveraging the heck out of the “R.”

Which tees up the “A” for tomorrow…

REELAX — Recruit / Retain the best talent you can possibly afford, create an Environment where success is the most likely outcome, set Expectations that are so clear they can not be misunderstood, and then Lead.

Any guesses on the “A?”

 

 


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