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.

And leadership is free.

Here are some things to consider as you go about your day…

  1. If one employee has an attitude or morale problem, it’s COULD be an exception. If more than the exception, it IS a leadership issue.
  2. If you say you’ll do something, do it. If it gets you in trouble with your boss, live with it and accept that responsibility. Integrity is not situational.
  3. Quit nickel-and-diming line employees. They are the only ones making us money.
  4. When asked to decide, decide. We’re paid to make decisions, not stall with unnecessary questions and analysis.
  5. Turnover is a symptom, not a root cause. Reducing turnover without addressing the root cause (usually Leadership) is simply smoke and mirrors.
  6. EmailEnough with the barrage of emails. If you cc: others just to make sure your addressee pays attention, you are part of the problem.
  7. After the first email reply, communication is an issue; pick up the phone or walk across the room, floor or building. I don’t know your intent, only your actions or words.
  8. Quit assuming. Ask.
  9. Take care of employees, they’ll take care of you. That’s a promise.
  10. Hold each other accountable. If your peer does something wrong and you say nothing—you’re now part of that problem.
  11. You lead by example the instant you arrive; make it a positive
  12. Assume positive motivation. Most decisions are made with good intent, even if wrong.
  13. You manage with metrics, you lead with relationships. Know the difference, don’t confuse the two.
  14. Incentives, no matter how rich or attractive, cannot take the place of successful leadership.
  15. Think of what you want from your boss. Your subordinate wants the same. The Golden Rule is a foundation of successful leadership.
  16. If we don’t hold leaders accountable, don’t expect accountability and ownership from non-management. It won’t happen.
  17. Empowerment without accountability is chaos. Accountability without performance management is a waste of time.
  18. We sink or swim together. Teamwork isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
  19. Look around you—we can go no faster than the slowest among us. Pull your weight, all the time.
  20. There are small bits of really confidential information. Share everything else, even if you think “they don’t need it.” Employees want information they want.
  21. Two groups: (1) those who gossip, whine and complain, and (2) leaders. There is no overlap between those groups.
  22. If you don’t manage performance, don’t expect results.
  23. Performance management and discipline are not the same thing. Use each when appropriate.
  24. If you aren’t doing everything you can do, don’t blame others for a problem. Any problem.
  25. Employees know our values by our behaviors, not our words.

Just a few tips to think about. Feel free to add your own, and if you have any questions about these or other leadership challenges—or I can help in any way—don’t hesitate to reach out.

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