Great leaders don't need whistleblowers
I saw a headline recently about some new laws or regulations regarding whistleblowers. Wow. Why do need whistleblowers? We need them when management is either corrupt or won’t listen.
Ask yourself if you ever do anything that would influence anyone on your team to blow the whistle on you. If you are doing things that are unethical or just plain dishonest I can’t help - you made your mess. However for all other issues your best offense is called listening. My listening suggestions:
- Be accessible – make people feel comfortable with you
- Be conversational
- Wander around – get out from behind your desk
- You will hear best on their turf, not your turf
- Ask good questions
- Never argue or defend your position – that will be the end of feedback
- Have an occasional “get it off your chest session” with your team
- Be sure to always say “Thank you” when people give you feedback
Effective listening is one key way to learn about your team members and about your business operations. It also gives you the opportunity to follow up on issues so you never have to worry about a whistle being blown on you.
Posted on 01/29/2013 9:40 AM by Joe Scarlett
Be realistic, regardless
I once worked with someone who saw everything through rose colored glasses. Everything was positive which makes everyone feel good. I heard comments like these:
- Don’t worry, we are a little behind but………
- You all are doing a great job – I know we will catch up
- Just a few more and we will be right on target
We all tend to feel better when we are surrounded by positive people. Beware of too much positivity - it can be harmful to your career. Force yourself to be realistic regardless of what you are hearing. Don’t allow yourself to be lulled to sleep by too much good news.
Always ask yourself “Does this really make sense?” And if you have any doubts go back to square one and recheck your facts.
Posted on 01/24/2013 1:39 PM by Joe Scarlett
Counsel with Friends and Associates
Several years ago we made a recommendation to a large institution on a very important issue. Our recommendation was ignored and we were disappointed. Then recently that organization received the report from an expensive consulting firm that drew the exact same conclusion which is now being adopted. My first reaction was to remind them that we said the same thing three years ago. In other words – rub their nose in it.
But before I sent my polite but nasty note I asked for comments from two of my close associates. They made the point that although I was dead right there is nothing to be gained by pointing that out. In fact, in the long run, it could likely harm other relationships. I stopped, reflected and basked in the thought that we got it right three years ago and never sent the note.
The lesson is to ask for counsel on critical issues. Most of your friends and associates are happy to help and take pride in contributing. Don’t ever hesitate to seek the guidance of those around you.
Posted on 01/07/2013 3:14 PM by Joe Scarlett
Leading Early in Life
I have found that most successful leaders began their role in leadership at an early age – sometimes a very early age. Often the first leadership roles are in high school, college or the community. I have also found that pushing an older individual contributor into a leadership role is most often a failure.
The lesson is to get into leadership roles as early as you can so you can continually develop those skills. I have been in leadership roles all my life and am still learning and refining my skills. For the parents in the audience, it is never too early to start talking about leadership with your children.
Leaders are made, not born. Learning to be a leader is not complicated but it is hard. Get started as early in life as possible and recognize that becoming a great leader is a lifelong journey.
Posted on 01/02/2013 10:32 AM by Joe Scarlett