Investing in Clarity Prevents Conflict

I love road trips. On our honeymoon, my wife and I embarked on a ‘round the island’ tour of Maui. She designated me the driver. That decision won her the role of navigator. Clarity accomplished, roles established, we drove off into an 8-hour argument.

Why?

Because we both had different interpretations of what we thought those roles meant. We both expected a different ‘experience’ from the other. I turned out to not be as consistently levelheaded as advertised. She, in turn, would ‘turtle’ if things felt tense. I wanted to accomplish goals! See things! Make schedules! Check-off the places on my list! She wanted to…enjoy the scenic route…stop and smell the flowers…look for serendipity…enjoy nuptial bliss. Aaagh! ... READ MORE »

Creating a Leadership Philosophy

In my role as a consultant, I’m often called upon to help leadership teams relate well and make decisions effectively; and, my first order of business is to interview all the team members. During my interviews, team members most often complain about the leader’s ineffective style or poor approach.

I hear comments like:

  • “He’s too laid back. I can’t tell what he wants.”
  • “She’s micro-managing me.”
  • “I have no idea how they make their decisions – they never ask for our feedback.”
  • “They never make decisions…they seem to be afraid of rocking the boat.”
  • “He only notices me when I make a mistake.”
  • “She won’t coach me or give me real job support. It’s like she wants to be everyone’s friend.”

There is not ‘one way’ to lead. Different people offer different kinds of leadership. Different situations require different approaches. ... READ MORE »

What Servant Leaders Do

“To be a servant leader, you can’t be afraid to help clean the toilets.” I heard this statement from a speaker presenting on leadership some years ago. At the time, it strongly appealed to me – the implied humility, the ‘elbow-greasy-get-down-in-the-trenches’ feel of it.

Reflecting on that presentation, I now realize that the speaker was missing it. In his mind – Servant Leadership was about being willing to do small, dirty or menial tasks. The ideal Servant Leader would never ask someone to do something he or she wouldn’t do herself. And that was all there was to know about servant leadership.

I’ve experienced that kind of leader. The leader that was so willing to ‘get down in the trenches’ that they lost sight of the big picture. They were unable to move the organization, as a whole, forward; and, because of the belief that “I must be willing to do it myself”, they were overwhelmed in their actual responsibility to lead. ... READ MORE »