Okay we’ve all heard the little idioms, like “perception is reality to those who perceive,” or even just “perception is reality.” My personal favorite is “my perception is my reality.”
What the hell does all that mean? Well for you, leaders, it means that how people perceive your leadership is infinitely more important than what you intend for your leadership to be. It means that what you say means little, compared to the actions that you take (or words that you write).
This isn’t rocket science, right? Goodness knows we’ve heard all this before, that our actions are more important that our words. But do we really get it? In my experiences, the answer is no. And here are some examples:
— Don’t get them confused
It just seems to permeate everything we do today. And not, necessarily, in a good way. “We the people” have seemingly become unable to have common conversations about so many issues.
Leaders… Don’t fall for it. This communication impasse, this idiotic inability to have constructive dialogue, this desire to be “right” about all things partisan that will forever be based in opinion (no matter how strongly you believe), cannot become part of who you are. Not in your professional leadership role. (more…)
–Coaching the know-it-all
You read know-it-all in the subtitle like it’s a bad thing. That’s not how I meant it at all.
No, I’m not referring to the seventh-grade insult where we looked at the smartest kid in the room and said, “Well, Mr. Smarty-pants, you think you’re just a know-it-all.” No, that’s not what I’m talking about at all.
I’m referring to those people who hold positions that — quite literally — require that they know it all. And yes, there are several of those floating around in various organizations today. For example, you certainly wouldn’t trust a surgeon who frequently said, “You know, I’m not quite sure about this, but let’s just give it a try anyway.” Nor would you be thrilled if you discovered that a PhD physicist working in some hush-hush, ultra secret laboratory somewhere, said, “Man, I don’t know if this hydrogen bomb will be safe to transport, but hey, I’m giving it my best guess.”
— Faster isn’t always better…
Analog… “Analog…” Analog… it sounds so, well, old.
Leadership, in its most successful, meaningful form, is not about size, scope, or reach. It’s about relationships. Trusting relationships. Our followers trust those they hold out as leaders when:
- That leader demonstrates appropriate competency for their position,
- The leader demonstrates integrity (does what she says she’ll do), and
- The leader convinces them they have some level of empathy; that they care as much about the subordinate as they do themselves.
Leadership is entirely personal. It’s about people. It’s all about trust!
I was just doing some thinking on a plane ride recently (not much else to do). Often, we are our own worst enemy, sabotaging our efforts with our own behavior. Though added resources (people, money, etc.) seem to be an answer to many of our challenges, the reality is that Leadership, first and foremost, is what will cause us to succeed or fail.
— If you ain’t failin’, you ain’t tryin’
Mistakes. Nobody likes ‘em, everybody makes ‘em. Yet it still sends a quiver up the spines of leaders everywhere, hearing “you made a mistake.” Our minds start racing, searching for pieces of memory that could reveal where we may have stretched a bit, or perhaps were a bit unsure in the decision we made.
“Crap! Now what…?”
We investigate our mistake, searching minute details in hopes of ensuring we never make that mistake again. Or any mistake, frankly. Many of us spend numerous waking hours fretting over the possibility (and reality) of making one mistake or another, incorrectly believing that error-free efforts are the minimum threshold of success for leadership.
How’s that working for you? I’ve got some suggestions that may help you be more successful — and less frustrated — in your leadership decision-making. First, a newsflash: you will make mistakes. Get over it. Mistakes are not inherently bad; our reactions to mistakes are much more telling than the mistake itself.
So, here we go… The 3 Principles for Avoiding Death through Mistakes: (more…)