Leadership is a very important aspect in everything I do. My belief is that great managers are able to get things done with their team…not all great managers are actually great leaders. Managers are responsible for execution on the minutest levels. Leaders are the ones responsible for motivating the team, having a clear vision of the desired future state (goals, objectives, outcomes) and have the innate ability to plan and devise the processes for the team to begin to achieve the business outcomes.
Leaders also have to be able to express the future state to the managers and team members and build their buy-in and commitment to achieving the future state. This collaborative style is core to my beliefs. Dictatorships do not work in building trust, respect and a common vision to executing towards the outcomes. Of course, at times leaders need to dictate directions or edicts about the business, however if you have built a trusting and collaborative relationship it is much easier for the team to respond and move towards the directives.
In terms of operating style, I believe in three core approaches:
- Lead By Doing: In any type of business situation, a true leader has to be able to roll up their sleeves and get involved to initiate a task or process or redirect the team to help them think about how they are going to achieve the outcomes, goals and objectives.
- Collaboration: The last 10 years of my career have been spent working with teams and organizations to build environments of teamwork and creative collaboration. Every day we will be faced with new opportunities and tasks for the business. We are more apt to be successful not working in a vacuum, but by engaging each other to solve the problems or meet the opportunities that will help grow the business. Collaboration can only truly exist if there is an environment or climate that builds a culture for collaboration. This includes trust, openness and creativity.
- Continuous Reinvention: To meet the needs of clients and customers, both internally and externally, I believe that you must be in the constant process of reinventing oneself to meet the needs that where not previously understood. I think this goes for both clients and employees. We can maintain certain beliefs as not all changes can be made on a whim; however, if a gap has been identified we must be prepared to close it so that the business can thrive. You can’t win tomorrow’s game with yesterday’s playbook…
Principles and Values:
I strongly believe that Operating Style, Principles and Values must be aligned. Not that one serves the other, but rather in concert with one another to both serve the mission and vision of the organization and by all accounts its people.
My personal feeling on the topic of principles and values is that, for me, it is represented as Values and Principles. I find that values truly influence any operating principles that are established. What one values has a deep impact on the ability to impact the fundamental norms and rules that create the desirable outcomes within any organization.
I believe that everyone has the right intention in built in to their words and actions, and at the same time, it is how that intention is perceived by others at any moment is what determines the impact on the organization as a whole.
My work with teams has been to help them (large and small) determine what the values and principles are by incorporating a piece of everyone into the doctrine. Not an easy task and an every changing mindset in order to matriculate new members into the team or organization. We never asked new team members to change who they are, they were hired or were asked join for a reason—they were wanted—so why would you ask someone to change who they are when starting? The key is that whatever the values and principles are that each individual can articulate them, as they seem appropriate and at the same time directly representing the overall corporate mission, vision and strategy.
With all that being said, the values and principles that guide me personally are as follows:
- Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (Daniel Pink): A few years ago I read the book Drive by Daniel Pink. I really connected with his philosophy about what motivates people to perform.
- Autonomy: Provide employees the space that they need to make their own decisions to get the work done that is important to them and the firm. Give them creative freedom to solve problems in new ways (whether alone or in a workgroup).
- Mastery: Realize that each individual has to figure out what they are really good at and they will never be satisfied; and, what they believe shapes what they achieve. The need to provide the ability for performance goals and learning goals: perform their job at the highest levels and learning new skills that contribute to their personal growth.
- Purpose: Providing employees with a possible purpose-centered policy. The creation of a sense of belonging on each level in the organization to make it greater and more permanent. If they begin to value something, they will attain and it is not always money and wealth that gets them to that attainment.
- Creativity, Collaboration and Innovation: As I mentioned in my operating style, these three notions are key to any organizations success in the marketplace and I believe that it goes hand-in-hand with Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
- Honesty, Trust and Respect: I do not take these very lightly. I think everyone in their personal and professional lives has been thrown off their kilter because someone has betrayed them with words or actions. And still, I provide everyone the benefit of the doubt when I work with him or her because usually my perception of a situation is filtered through my thinking, my reality at the moment. I am doing a disservice if I don’t address my thoughts and feelings with the other person to truly understand what has transpired. I hold on tightly to the notion that Trust and Respect are given first and colleagues (and friends) receive my trust and respect as long as they continue to remain Honest with me. Once that Honesty is broken, the Trust and Respect begin the wane, however they continually have the opportunity to repair what is lapsed until it becomes an issue that is pervasive and inhibits the ability to achieve the goals and outcomes that are desired by the organization.